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  • Is there a tool with a full project and action outline?

    I've gone through a lot of tools, and it seems that the feature set that I want isn't out there. Can anyone suggest a tool that fits this description?

    For planning, I want to see an outline of projects, subprojects, and NA's. I should be able to add NA's while still in the project outline mode, and then have them appear on the appropriate context list. In other words, I need a view like this:
    Code:
    Project 1
          Subproject 1
                Action 1 (@context)
    For example:
    Code:
    Develop version 2 of software
         Set up test machine
              Request machine from IT dept (@office)
         Investigate technology options 
              Decide on database
                   Read document about MySQL (@online)
              Decide on application language
                   Go thorough tutorial on Ruby (@online)
    Has anyone seen this feature? I'm open to web-based, windows, or mac software.

  • #2
    You could use Outlook along with the Netcentrics addon to to do this.

    The actions by project view, set to collapse all groups upon opening, will enable you to only expand only the project your interested in and see the next actions. From this view you can add actions by simply clicking on an existing action and using the Add action to project button (running through this off the top of my head at the moment as I'm not in Windows).

    Through the addon you can setup subprojects but after Meg recommended it to me in a telecoaching session I'm finding setting up subprojects at the top level to be better with all related projects starting with the same name e.g. Project name - Subproject name.

    Comment


    • #3
      kGTD on the Mac allows for nested subprojects.

      You could also use VimOutliner to plan projects--and then grep the outline for contexts.

      E.g.

      Project
      --------[_] Action 1 @errands
      --------Subproject 1
      -------------[_] Action 1 @home
      -------------[_] Action 2 @phone

      If you grep "@home," then only the @home line will appear.

      Comment


      • #4
        Unless I have missed something, this can be done for example by MyLifeOrganized or UltraRecall.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Timothy Mark View Post
          I've gone through a lot of tools, and it seems that the feature set that I want isn't out there. Can anyone suggest a tool that fits this description?
          Probably the most established tool that does exactly this is Life Balance (www.llamagraphics.com), which runs on Macs, Windows, and Palms. My Life Organized is a well-executed knock-off of Life Balance, for the Windows platform. Kinkless GTD does something similar on the Mac, but it will presumably be made obsolete by the upcoming OmniFocus.

          I have to ask "are you sure you want this?" I have been down the outline road myself more than a few times, and I can tell you some of the pitfalls. First, it is slow. One spends too much time hunting through the outline and thinking about structure. Second, the temptation to put non-actionable stuff into the outline as "sub-projects" is hard to resist. When I put these two factors together, I get something which impedes progress rather than advancing it. If you are not already really, really good at GTD, you may have similar difficulties.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mori

            I use Mori from Hog Bay software on my Mac, together with its mGTD plugin. Extremely flexible for personal needs.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post

              I have to ask "are you sure you want this?" I have been down the outline road myself more than a few times, and I can tell you some of the pitfalls. First, it is slow. One spends too much time hunting through the outline and thinking about structure. Second, the temptation to put non-actionable stuff into the outline as "sub-projects" is hard to resist. When I put these two factors together, I get something which impedes progress rather than advancing it. If you are not already really, really good at GTD, you may have similar difficulties.
              Just to back mcogilvie up here - I've had exactly the same experience.

              In GTD, less is definitely more. A simple action list (divided into Context) and a project list (divided into broad areas of focus) is the most efficient, even though at the beginning it may seem unsophisticated and difficult to get your head round.

              The key to GTD is practice rather than a complex system. Good luck.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the feedback, everyone. kGTD looks especially promising, and i'll check out Mori/mGTD soon.

                I have to ask "are you sure you want this?" I have been down the outline road myself more than a few times, and I can tell you some of the pitfalls. First, it is slow. One spends too much time hunting through the outline and thinking about structure. Second, the temptation to put non-actionable stuff into the outline as "sub-projects" is hard to resist.
                I can see how the system could become overcomplicated, but I do plan on limiting it to two levels of subprojects. It just seems like a tree structure is more useful during reviews.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Keep your system simple and your process clear

                  Originally posted by tominperu View Post
                  Just to back mcogilvie up here - I've had exactly the same experience.

                  In GTD, less is definitely more. A simple action list (divided into Context) and a project list (divided into broad areas of focus) is the most efficient, even though at the beginning it may seem unsophisticated and difficult to get your head round.

                  The key to GTD is practice rather than a complex system. Good luck.
                  Well stated Tim! I have gone "over the edge" more than one with complexifying my system to the point of complete breakdown.

                  I'm currently using iGTD on my Mac for action and project list management (small resource footprint, works great, integrates with Mail and syncs with iCal).

                  On the PC, I use plain vanilla Outlook, OneNote, and MindManager. Outlook syncs nicely with MindManager which provides a better visualization of projects and actions than Outlook does, even with add-ins. OneNote provides a great linkage for resource information information, meeting notes, etc. that can be associated with a hard landscape calendar event or task on the To-Do List.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mochant View Post
                    OneNote provides a great linkage for resource information information, meeting notes, etc. that can be associated with a hard landscape calendar event or task on the To-Do List.
                    Hi Marc

                    Do you find OneNote particularly useful because you use a tablet PC, or would it provide the same benefits on the standard keyboard type?

                    Please could you also expand a little on how you use OneNote?

                    Thanks
                    Last edited by Howard; 04-30-2007, 01:05 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Timothy,

                      I used the Outlook Add-In for 2 years but never liked the way it dealt with projects. Too many steps and it slowed me down.

                      I have been very happy with Achieve Planner from Effexis (Windows-based). I use the keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl+Insert allows me to create a new project or task very quickly.

                      I generally do not go very deep into the hierarchy of subprojects, subsubprojects, etc. But there are some occasions that require this: starting a new business, buying a home, etc. And (this point is not original with me) David Allen's mind-map in his GTD book is nothing but a multilevel hierarchical representation of a complex project. You are correct, Timothy, you do want to view your items hierarchically when your are doing your review and when you are engaged in project planning. You don't want to stress yourself by scanning a list looking for all the NAs that are tied to some project.

                      Here's what I want, the ability to view rapidly:

                      1. NAs filtered or grouped by context
                      2. NAs organized hierarchically under projects, subprojects, etc.
                      3. NAs filtered by person assigned

                      Perhaps I am idiosyncratic with regard to 3. (But anyone with significant managerial responsibilities would be wise to demand it.)

                      Clearly 1 and 2 are key. I don't want to have one tool for project lists and another tool for NA lists. I want a tool that allows me to enter items in quickly and allows me to view items flexibly.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OmniFocus

                        Based on the video demo, I think OmniFocus will do this... You can see a demo of an "alpha" version at:

                        http://blog.omnigroup.com/2007/04/30...verview-video/

                        Randy

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