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managing projects with sequential tasks



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jeff.covey

Posted: Aug 11, 2008
Score: 0



how do people use toodledo to handle projects that have a number of
sequential tasks?

for example:

you need to wait for a reply to an email from someone, and then, based
on that, call another person, then, based on that conversation, decide
whether to do this or that.

if you make tasks like this subtasks in a multi-step project, you can't
put the subtasks in their proper order, and the main task is either done
or not done; you can't have *this* waiting on *this*, waiting on *this*.

in the example above, the first item would need to be put into status
"waiting", and everything else would be waiting on that, so none of the
tasks would be visible. i would just see the first one when i go into
things with status "waiting". when it was marked as completed, the next
item would need to become visible.

my workaround for doing this has been to put the first step in a project
as a task and put the subsequent steps in the note for that task. as i do
one step, i change the name of the task by cutting and pasting the next
line from the note. this is tedious, and doesn't let me set a different
context, priority, note, etc. for each step of the way.

does anyone have a better way of doing this?

thanks,
jeff
peaston

Posted: Aug 12, 2008
Score: 0



Jeff,

I just posted a similar topic in the GTD forum here. I'm testing the Pro version, which offers sub-tasks, but no sequencing. Toodledo claims to be built to support GTD methodology, but if it doesn't support the "Next Action" concept (sequencing), then I don't see how they can make this claim. This isn't even addressed in the help article on GTD.

It seems that you have to use complex Project Management applications like MS Project, OpenProj, Open WorkBench, etc. to get sequencing. Those, however, are not practical for daily use. It is too bad that more general use task management SaaS apps like Toodledo and Remember the Milk doen't allow you to specify next actions.

What I would like to see in Toodledo is a next action/task field or two fields: precedent and subsequent (prior task, next task...whatever). Then you can either select from existing tasks or create a new task from the field.

An undated task would not show up until the precedent has been marked complete.

But putting such sequenced tasks as sub-tasks to a parent "project" task, I could fully implement GTD in Toodledo.
kenbeyond

Posted: Aug 12, 2008
Score: 0



Yes,this is the only thing that really needed in the process of implementing the GTD method.
Jon

Posted: Aug 12, 2008
Score: 0



My work-around is to put numbers for the context (1, 2, 3, 4, etc) and then assign context 1 for the first step, context 2 for the second step, etc.. I then sort by context and it puts them in the proper order. It works pretty well for me.

Jon


This message was edited Aug 12, 2008.
Darius_1296933579

Posted: Aug 12, 2008
Score: 0



Putting in a Due Time for subtask sequencing works great for me, ie. 1:01am, 1:02am, 1:03am, etc. You can do this with or without dates attached.

I can't wait until subtask dependencies are implemented within toodledo. At this point, I think it is the biggest thing missing from the app. I don't think a good workaround exists, I am going to start toying around with stars for awhile and see how that goes.


This message was edited Aug 12, 2008.
registermefor

Posted: Aug 15, 2008
Score: 0



Wouldn't it be easier to add the sequencing in tags and allow your views to sort by tags? like seq1, seq2 etc ..
InfoJeff

Posted: Aug 15, 2008
Score: 1



These workarounds are all very innovative (and I actually really do love innovating), but the core issue is that ToodleDo does not have a straightforward way to do this. We need ToodleDo to be able to put tasks in a sequence and/or implement task dependency. As I read through the forum, it seems this has been a very common feature request from many users for awhile.

I would also like to not see tasks displayed or printed that are not "next actions", but that may come later.

Now I need to add that ToodleDo is the best task manager I have tried and has great features already. I just would like to see it soar even higher as the best tool out there.


This message was edited Aug 15, 2008.
Ann

Posted: Aug 16, 2008
Score: 0



InfoJeff:
Now I need to add that ToodleDo is the best task manager I have tried and has great features already. I just would like to see it soar even higher as the best tool out there.


I definitely agree...
Toodledo is the first online task manager I was ready to pay for...
I must admit, I haven't found many webbased solutions that do have task dependency. (AFAIK only Hive Minder has?) But if one feature would make it even better, it is just this.
kenbeyond

Posted: Aug 19, 2008
Score: 0



I totally agree.
This would be a milestone in the functionality.
Task dependency or sequential tasks would be the killer app.
peaston

Posted: Aug 20, 2008
Score: 0



I just purchased the Pro subscription and will likely purchase it for a small team I am working with. I'm not sure if it will make sense to get for larger groups of employees, but the reason I've made this purchasing decision is:

1. I'm working in a start-up and have more important things to focus on then training people how to use a task manager. Toodledo is feature rich, but pretty easy to get started using right away.

2. We are using Google Hosted Apps. We wanted something that would integrate with Google Calendar. I looked at Toodledo and Remember the Milk. Toodledo's Google Calendar interface blows RTM out of the water. The Firefox sidebar is also very well designed. The GHA integration is so much better that it makes it worth paying for even though RTM offers free task list sharing.

3. Everyone on the team is trained in David Allen's GTD and they know my preference for discussing and presenting tasks this way. Toodledo is more GTD friendly, requiring less set-up, then RTM. The "contexts" field is but one example.

The two major areas where Toodledo could improve are:

1. Basic sequencing. We don't need it to be a full project management app to rival MS Project, just support of next action triggers.

2. Palm Synchronization. The WAP interface is nice, but having a Palm App or at least some way to sync with the Palm tasklist would be nice when I'm on the high-speed rail, on a plane, and other places where I have not data connection.

(Multi-user discounts would also be nice.)
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Aug 20, 2008
Score: 0



Thanks for the suggestion.
Jim

Posted: Sep 17, 2008
Score: 0



Posted by InfoJeff:
These workarounds are all very innovative (and I actually really do love innovating), but the core issue is that ToodleDo does not have a straightforward way to do this. We need ToodleDo to be able to put tasks in a sequence and/or implement task dependency.

Hi Jeff, since this is in Tips and Tricks and not feedback it seems you want innovation. Yes it would be nice to have it built in, but until then what I do is name the sub tasks 1.Call Joe, 2.Send letter, etc and then set them all to hold or waiting except the active and next-action tasks. This lets me set tags, priority, etc for each individual subtask and still have a sorted list of tasks in sequence.
Hope it helps
kunicki

Posted: Feb 13, 2009
Score: 1



I realize this post is a little older, but sequential tasks would be great.
alexborne

Posted: Feb 15, 2009
Score: 0



very interesting discussions here...
Anybody has a progress to share on this subject?

My thought is :
what about putting the sequence number in the task name, then the alphabetic order will show the tasks automatically in sequence ?
MikeKDidIt

Posted: Feb 17, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by alexborne:
very interesting discussions here...
Anybody has a progress to share on this subject?

My thought is :
what about putting the sequence number in the task name, then the alphabetic order will show the tasks automatically in sequence ?


I do that a lot. I tend to only number the first 3 so I don't end up with a maintenance issue if I insert a task or shuffle priorities.
alexborne

Posted: Feb 25, 2009
Score: 0



I found that inserting 2.5 between 2 and 3 does actually sort the task between task number 2 and task number 3. Therefore, no maintenance needed, just insert intermediate numbers.
Otherwise you can still use the old programming habit in Basic : line 10, line 20, line 30, leaving plenty of spacee to insert lines.
Carlos

Posted: Mar 05, 2009
Score: 0



I have to be on the run most of the day. I am using the Iphone to have the tasks handy. The subtasks are a great option. You could see them organize in the browser but on the Iphone is much different. I haven't been able to find a way to keep them groupped together Task-Subtask. Also there are some missing fields on the Iphone such us the lenght that are not shown

Am I missing something or is probably the team will add in a future release?
Claudio

Posted: Mar 05, 2009
Score: 0



Length is available on the iPhone. Go to Settings, Fields & Defaults, and drag Length to the "Used" section.
Jake

Toodledo Admin
Posted: Mar 05, 2009
Score: 0



Also, to keep subtasks grouped inside the parent task, click on "Filters" and select to nest subtasks.
john

Posted: Mar 20, 2009
Score: 0



I tried using sub tasks, but it doesn't work for sequential tasks for me. I was used to MLO which created to do lists based up task completion. If you told it you had to do the task in order, the first would show up on your list, but the second would not until the first was completed.

What I am doing with TD is to put simultaneous tasks as sub tasks under a project, however sequential task I am putting in a single task. The task will read something like "task a - task b - task c - task d". When I finish task a, I delete that portion of the task name and modify the due date if needed.

This works for me, but I don't care if my completed task list is correct.
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