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long-term projects



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eykanal

Posted: Mar 16, 2011
Score: 0



I have a problem with my current style of task management, and I haven't found a good way to solve it using toodledo (or any other task manager, to be fair) yet. The problem is that any "list-style" task manager is excellent for remembering to do small things, but it's pretty poor for large *project* management. If I have a project with different steps, each one possibly requiring several days to complete, I have not found a way to use toodledo to manage that project.

I realize that this is not really the primary goal of toodledo (in fact, I think I recall a developer explicitly stating that they are not in the project management business in some earlier post). However, I was still curious whether anyone else has figured out how to do full project management using these tools. If not, does anyone know of other websites that do this? I would definitely still use toodledo for most of my tasks, but if it comes down to it I could use another program for task management. Thanks!
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Mar 16, 2011
Score: 0



What we do here at Toodledo is make a folder for a long term project. We then list out all the known steps for the project as tasks. We then break down tasks into subtasks where necessary. We use status and priorities to keep track of what we need to do next. This has worked well for us, but we acknowledge that there are improvements to be made to this workflow, in particular with task dependencies.
eykanal

Posted: Mar 16, 2011
Score: 0



Thanks for the reply. I was hoping to hear from you, as I know you use your own software heavily. Your answer works, if you're willing to abandon a GTD approach. However, that aside, I still have a problem in a similar vein to this one I asked a while ago: how do you deal with tasks that take more than a day to complete? The system just isn't set up to handle that. As it is now, even if a task is set with a duration > 1, it will still only show up on the "today" list on the day it's due.

In my perfect world, the duration field would enable a task to be shown as "due today" both on it's due date as well as on every day until the duration is over. So, a task due today (3/16) with a duration of 3 would show up as "due today" for 3/16, 3/17, and 3/18. As it is now, the "duration" field is really just another "note" field; it doesn't affect application behavior in any way.
PeterW 

Posted: Mar 16, 2011
Score: 0



Maybe you need to look at a different solution such as My Life Organized or TaskMerlin. These programs seem more suited to project management where you can see hierarchy and progress.
simon

Posted: Mar 17, 2011
Score: 0



I use Start Date/Due Date synched to my calendar to accomplish that. The task appears every day from well....... the Start Date to the Due Date

Simon
splante1

Posted: Mar 17, 2011
Score: 0



Being able to do a hierarchical outline(like in Word for example) in the notes field would be nice. That would a quick way to put a project plan into the notes of the project.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Mar 17, 2011
Score: 0



Personally, if I have a task that takes more than 1 day to complete, I break it down into smaller tasks, so I never have a multi-day task. This is my recommendation, but I know that people work in different ways, so I'll try to figure out how to handle this one.
Salgud

Posted: Mar 18, 2011
Score: 0



I have many tasks that stretch over several days. I just set the start date and due date, and have my "Today" list show any task that's start date is today or earlier and any task whose due date is today or later, along with various other criteria on status and such. Works well for me, YMMV.

As far as Project Management goes, I wouldn't undertake a serious project using only a task management tool. I used, taught and consulted on MS Project for years and would use that.

That said, there's a steep learning curve to properly use MS Project and you have to know at least the basics of Critical Path Method Scheduling. Of course, if you know it well, the pay-off is huge. Unfortunately, the vast majority of MS Project users have no clue as to how to apply it or what exactly it tells them.

In any case, task management software begins where scheduling software stops. Any given task in MS project usually is broken down into more detail in a resource's task list. A very good heuristic for using scheduling software is that tasks should have durations between 1 and 10 days (for reasons I wont' go into here). Sometimes maybe a 0.5 day task, like a meeting. Which would imply that the resources assigned to that task would have task lists for each of the Project tasks broken down further. One way to look at this would be to make each Project task a parent task in TD, with the break-down being the subtasks. At least in theory.

Of course, your workflow may not align well with such an approach. Since you're not using scheduling software, it probably won't. If you want to confine your scheduling to only TD, you've limited yourself quite a bit. Not knocking TD, I love it, but I wouldn't depend on it alone if I was doing something that involved more than a few resources and more than 30 or 40 scheduling software level tasks. Yours, and TD's mileage may vary here too! :)
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