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  • GTD Outlook Add-In v2.1 from Netcentrics to be released on August 25, 2005

    I just noticed that NetCentrics has updated their Outlook Add-in support page with a firm release date for v2.1 of the Outlook Add-in. This is a free upgrade for existing Add-in users.

    I'm sure that many of us are looking forward to this upgrade.

    Perhaps we can use this thread to share our experiences/problems (hopefully more of the former and none of the latter) with this new version when it is released on Thursday.

    Of course, there's also the NetCentrics user forums - not intended to overlap.

    Regards,
    Peter

  • #2
    GTD outlook add-in upgrade - Why the lack of interest???

    I'm really surprised at how little chatter there is about the fact that Netcentrics released the latest (long awaited) version upgrade to the GTD outlook Add-in toolbar.
    I'm sure there are lots of us users out there... how come I feel like the only one who cares
    John

    Comment


    • #3
      Ok, here's one question I have. I have not used the Add-in to date. I've made use of the PDF paper showing how to set up a GTD style environment simply using Outlook's own options.

      If I now buy the Add-in and install it, what will happen to everything that I have set up already? Would I need to manually go in and make any changes to my existing data?

      Thanks.
      Chris

      Comment


      • #4
        Installing the Add-In...

        Chris:

        Though I *strongly* recommend doing a backup of your Outlook PST file before installing the Add-In, I don't think you'll need to make any changes to your data, with one possible exception.

        The Add-In uses some additional categories, such as Someday and @Waiting for, as well as Projects - which if you are a Palm user and sync to Outlook and have all 15 Palm categories already defined, you may need to shrink the number of these categories to get the sync to work afterward.

        Nothing else comes immediately to mind.

        The Add-In is outstanding, though I'm about to download the new version (2.1) - I bought and installed the previous version (2.064 I believe), and it's been excellent in terms of usability.

        I use the Action button religiously - with one click, you can define a to-do list entry from an email message, and have the message (and any attachments) be automatically linked to the to-do item as a note. Very very handy.

        What's still lacking in the current version, and probably in the next (2.1) version, is a simple mechanism for managing projects (10,000 foot level) and ensuring that there are next actions defined. For this, I use the GTD Police Outlook extension, plus Bollinger's excellent project form. There's also a method proposed by Bill Kratz to define projects as Outlook Contacts to enable some of outlooks features to manage them.

        All the best,
        Peter

        Comment


        • #5
          New views any different from the ones in the previous version?

          All,

          yesterday I have upgraded to the new version and so far everything works great. One question, though: Since I chose not to overwrite the old views during the upgrade procedure I am now asking myself if the new ones are any different/better. Could you please shed some light on this? I tried to run the upgrade again in order to get the new views, but that did not work. Before I start digging into this I'd like to know if it's worth the effort.

          Thanks,
          Thorsten

          Comment


          • #6
            Here's my main question...

            The add-in updates are great... although it is still not as clean a project management tool as I would like.

            My biggest complaint (and maybe someone out there can tell me if I'm missing something here) is a simple way to jump from a current task to the associated project/sub-project. Or a way to create a *sibling* action without using the 'new next action' button which will mark the current action as complete.

            The new next action button and new project buttons are fine for what they do but what I really need is a way to create another next action for the same project/sub-project *fast*.

            When I have an active action open there is no button or mechanism (that I can find) to link quickly or 'jump' to the associated project/sub-project which is the only way I've found to create another active task.

            So, you have to close the action window, and move from where ever you are (typically the calendar taskpad for me) or change views to projects view, hunt down the project, then find the sub-project and then, and *only* then, add an associated task.

            Too cumbersome by far. Unless I'm missing something... anyone care to point out some simple procedure that has thus far eluded me?

            Other than that... the add-in just gets better and better. I tried for a while to just use the manual method via the pdf file and while that does have some good best practice tips and can substitute in a pinch there is no comparison.

            I hope Netcentrics continues to develop and enhance this product.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thoughts on the 2.1 updates.

              First, I want to thank Netcentrics for a great free update to their product. They've included some great new features for a product moving from 2.0 to 2.1 I believe those features will greatly improve my productivity. The sub-project levels along with the view by sub-project is a key that has been missing for some time and this release is a great step in the right direction.

              I downloaded and installed the software yesterday and so far have had no problems with the software. I didn't get a chance to get in to empty yesterday, but should today. Hopefully this weekend I'll have a bit more experience with the tool and can post some good info.

              I thought I'd post here a couple of things I've found so far...

              Originally posted by jhegener
              The add-in updates are great... although it is still not as clean a project management tool as I would like.

              My biggest complaint (and maybe someone out there can tell me if I'm missing something here) is a simple way to jump from a current task to the associated project/sub-project. Or a way to create a *sibling* action without using the 'new next action' button which will mark the current action as complete.
              Another hiccup as far as I'm concerned is that when you click on [New Next Action] from the project task form, it marks the project as completed. Counter-intuitive if you ask me. If I'm creating a new next action for a project, the project itself by definition can't be completed.

              The new next action button and new project buttons are fine for what they do but what I really need is a way to create another next action for the same project/sub-project *fast*.

              When I have an active action open there is no button or mechanism (that I can find) to link quickly or 'jump' to the associated project/sub-project which is the only way I've found to create another active task.
              You can create a sibling project/sub-project next action fast from the Active Tasks by Sub-project tasks folder view. Select (but do not open), any next action (task) which you want to create a sibling for and click on the New Project Task and it will open a new task item with the same project and sub-project labels.

              Unfortunately I've found no way to do this from an open task item (project or task). Frankly I'd rather the New Next Action button didn't mark the current task complete.

              So, you have to close the action window, and move from where ever you are (typically the calendar taskpad for me) or change views to projects view, hunt down the project, then find the sub-project and then, and *only* then, add an associated task.

              Too cumbersome by far. Unless I'm missing something... anyone care to point out some simple procedure that has thus far eluded me?

              Other than that... the add-in just gets better and better. I tried for a while to just use the manual method via the pdf file and while that does have some good best practice tips and can substitute in a pinch there is no comparison.

              I hope Netcentrics continues to develop and enhance this product.
              Another point about project management. It was interesting that super-projects or meta groups were to be included in this release but didn't make the cuts. Also, I was disappointed that the hack of using milage and billing info for super project and sub-project were not used. I'll need to go in and re-classify all of my sub-projects manually.

              All-in-all I'm satisfied with the improvements. I'll post more later...

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Peter. I appreciate the insight.
                Chris

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jpm
                  Unfortunately I've found no way to do this from an open task item (project or task). Frankly I'd rather the New Next Action button didn't mark the current task complete.
                  Yes, this simple modification would solve the entire problem. Or at least, a prompt for how you wanted to handle the original task... complete it or leave it alone.

                  Another point about project management. It was interesting that super-projects or meta groups were to be included in this release but didn't make the cuts.
                  Yes... right now I am trying to figure out the best way to handle this. Not sure whether or not to use the Project level as the meta-project or to just leave the projects alone and create a custom field/view.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm wondering if the Next Action auto complete and open a new task isn't predicated on the philosophy that there's just one active NA for each project/subproject.

                    In order for this to work for me, I'd have to have a list of NAs written down somewhere else to refer to and then either come up with a fresh one not currently written down or add a NA previously determined as I hit Next Action.

                    That offered, I'm completely confused about what the upgrade has done for sub-projects. I had some set by adding $DP for sorting purposes. But now using the Subprojects view each project, regardless of designation is listed as both a Masterproject and Subproject.

                    Once I enter Subprojects will this take care of itself?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you for the free updated

                      I don't know about you guys, I wish that we have a better way to view the progress of a project, we need a way to view task and appointments and a chronological order and relationship to the main project.
                      That is the only way to manage and change things around, is there something that I am missing here?

                      Later
                      Ideaguy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Project Management for the Add-In

                        Originally posted by ideaguy
                        I don't know about you guys, I wish that we have a better way to view the progress of a project, we need a way to view task and appointments and a chronological order and relationship to the main project.
                        That is the only way to manage and change things around, is there something that I am missing here?

                        Later
                        Ideaguy
                        Absolutely right Ideaguy! The lack of a project-management capability is the Achillies heel of the add-in. This is ostensibly what the long-awaited GTD Binocular was to address, at least in part, but this is not part of the add-in. Of course, the more specific and "coded" a specific project management system is, there is always the risk of losing the generic nature of the GTD methodology, which is one of its strengths - no two individuals have implemented GTD the exact same way!

                        Perhaps we should begin to build a list of requirements for some type of project management methodology for the add-in (either here on on the NetCentrics support site). I'll start here:

                        - provide simple project-management template (see Bollinger's excellent project form on this forum) to allow rapid definition of project, related sub-projects, and list of next actions (both dependent and independent next actions ie. actions that must/can occur in sequence or in parallel).

                        - provide the capability to automatically activate one or more next actions (based on project definition above) once a project-based next action is complete (ie. like the GTD-Police functionality, but automatic)

                        - allow a 1-button scan (like the Update Task Actions button) that would scan all projects and identify projects for which an enabled next action has not been defined (ie. the project is potentially "stuck" when it needs a defined next action to move it forward). This would simplify the weekly review for those of us with lots of small, granular projects or sub-projects.

                        - provide a field in the project definition to record whether a project is active, inactive, deferred, delegated, etc. so that next action reviews are skipped as appropriate.

                        - provide simple project reporting views (active projects, delegated, deferred, etc.)

                        - in the project definition screen, provide the capability to click-and-drag (or attach) related documents, messages, etc. as project-support resources.

                        - please feel free to add to this list...

                        Perhaps several of us could collaborate on a basic behavioural spec for submission to NetCentrics. I would volunteed to maintain the basic requirements document.

                        Surely their developers are working on some kind of project-oriented functionality for the add-in already...

                        Regards,
                        Peter

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Let's keep it simple!

                          Originally posted by peter_g
                          Absolutely right Ideaguy! The lack of a project-management capability is the Achillies heel of the add-in. This is ostensibly what the long-awaited GTD Binocular was to address, at least in part, but this is not part of the add-in. Of course, the more specific and "coded" a specific project management system is, there is always the risk of losing the generic nature of the GTD methodology, which is one of its strengths - no two individuals have implemented GTD the exact same way!

                          Perhaps we should begin to build a list of requirements for some type of project management methodology for the add-in (either here on on the NetCentrics support site). I'll start here:

                          - provide simple project-management template (see Bollinger's excellent project form on this forum) to allow rapid definition of project, related sub-projects, and list of next actions (both dependent and independent next actions ie. actions that must/can occur in sequence or in parallel).

                          - provide the capability to automatically activate one or more next actions (based on project definition above) once a project-based next action is complete (ie. like the GTD-Police functionality, but automatic)

                          - allow a 1-button scan (like the Update Task Actions button) that would scan all projects and identify projects for which an enabled next action has not been defined (ie. the project is potentially "stuck" when it needs a defined next action to move it forward). This would simplify the weekly review for those of us with lots of small, granular projects or sub-projects.

                          - provide a field in the project definition to record whether a project is active, inactive, deferred, delegated, etc. so that next action reviews are skipped as appropriate.

                          - provide simple project reporting views (active projects, delegated, deferred, etc.)

                          - in the project definition screen, provide the capability to click-and-drag (or attach) related documents, messages, etc. as project-support resources.

                          - please feel free to add to this list...

                          Perhaps several of us could collaborate on a basic behavioural spec for submission to NetCentrics. I would volunteed to maintain the basic requirements document.

                          Surely their developers are working on some kind of project-oriented functionality for the add-in already...

                          Regards,
                          Peter
                          Hi Peter,
                          I agree with you if you want to keep the list active that would be great, I'll send you some ideas and how I use the system, maybe we can come out with some useful concepts.
                          I also agree with you and the fact this simple GTD method can be corrupted by start adding too much stuff, however the simple stuff is missing, I read the books, and I have been applying the GTD for about 9 month now,( almost ready to give birth ) it really change the way I do things or think about thinks, is a great concept.
                          I really like this forum, great ideas here I hope the developer listen to us

                          Later
                          Ideaguy
                          Last edited by ideaguy; 08-28-2005, 07:51 AM. Reason: Editing

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Try your "Views" in the Tasks view

                            The upgrade to the add-in has a perfect way to number the tasks in any given project or sub-project. Go to your task view and look to the left where you can choose your "view". The last "GTD View" is called Ordered Tasks by Project (GTD)...click next to any task (which will be grouped under a project) (you can have multiple next actions for any project) All you have to do is number the task and then the program will order the steps for you. If you need better direction than I am giving you, go to your .pdf version of the manual in your GTD program file and go to page 48...this describes how to use the view "Ordered Tasks by Project"

                            The add-in is terrific.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Any insights on whether to overwrite views or not? Is it correct that the new views get included, even if you don't overwrite the ones you're currently using? What's added with the new views?

                              Randy Stokes

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