Is there a feature wish list?

Is there somewhere to request features?  I'm using Trogbar to replace the GTD plugin and Taskline, mainly because of the interface and the simplicity of the TaskSense view, so I think it's been a good move.  But there are a couple of things I miss... ;)

Comments

  • You can make requests in the forum.
  • Ok - thanks, here goes:

    1) GTD plugin things I miss:

    a) delegation (from within email)
    I've found the blog post on delegation in Trog but it looks fairly clunky
    if you don't have two trog users sharing folders on exchange.  1 click to delegate from within an email and conversation tracking would be really nice.    I've got round it for now with a trial of Email Follow-up from Mapilab
    (which is actually quite nice) but I don't know whether it can connect
    all the items in a conversation - I'll have a better idea in a few days.

    b) next action
    Looks like steps will help with this but if you're in the first step and you want to complete and go to the next one, is there a way to specify that without forcing the first task you're in to become a project?  Eg I do Task A, complete it, and decide the next thing is Task B (which may be dependent on the outcome of A so can't necessarily be pre-created).  What happens currently is that if I am in Task A's dialogue and go to steps to create Task B, it becomes a subtask of Task A which gets classified as a project.  Looks very nice in terms of building up a task hierarchy dynamically, but what happens if you just want to create Task B on the same level as Task A (and perhaps assign them to the same/a new project)?

    c) related task
    I'm not sure what functionality there is, if any, to collect the mail items, appts etc related to a specific task.  I'm running several very technical projects - I do BI - and my data migrations in particular have long email threads resolving various issues, getting forwarded around for decisions etc.  Being able to collect things into some sort of logical conversation is very useful.  (Yes, I know I can still do this by attaching items in Outlook, but what I'm finding really valuable about Trog Bar is the clean interface - almost a Now Do This - and going back into Outlook, you get deluged with information again.)

    2)  I was going to ask about an effort feature like Taskline as follows below (it is incredibly useful), but am wondering if I could get the two products to work together - has anybody tried this? I suppose if I set the Working Hours in Taskline up to mimic the strategic calendar exactly and then let Taskline schedule the tasks as appointments (with the categories etc set from Trog Bar during processing), then Task Sense should pick up the right task because the appointment name and categories should be the same. 

    [Taskline-like effort feature
    Taskline has nothing to do with any methodology that I'm aware of but comes up with really realistic scheduling because it changes the default task form and allows you to estimate effort (time to do) - one of the most useful time management features I've seen as you can tell whether things really are achievable or not.  It has configurable sets of working times (a bit like custom calendars in MS Project) but the net effect is much the same as the strategic calendar - categorised blocks of time.  It would be great to get an effort feature in Trog Bar which gets taken into account by Task Sense (so if you've said Task A is going to take 2 hours but the appropriate time slot is 1.5 hours today, then it will be the only thing in the list for today and will show up for the first half hour of the timeslot on the next available day as well - unless you complete it).  I could try running the products together but with a different scheduling algorithm I think it would be messy, and Taskline schedules in batch and creates appointments in the calendar (per task) so I think Trog Bar would pick them up twice - you have to rerun it if you want to change the schedule.]

  • a) Delegation
    High quality delegation in a tasklist requires a central server because everyone needs the ability to see/modify/comment on the same record. We looked at a lot of different angles for this in Trog Bar but the bottom line is without a central server it's never really very clean. Because of this, we've built a new online task manager (donedesk.com) entirely designed around the concept of effective delegation. Trog Bar is still available for now but as Donedesk becomes better integrated we'll eventually stop offering Trog Bar and encourage existing users to migrate to Donedesk. If delegation is a major use case for you, you might consider moving to Donedesk now (the two systems are very different though, don't expect Donedesk to do everything Trog can; both have specific strengths and advantages over the other right now).

    b) Next Action
    In the TRO Training there's a lot of information about a very loose project/next step system. Basically you modify the task title to keep track of the current step and keep a loose list of next steps in the notes. If Trog's project/next step functionality is too structured for you, this is probably your best bet.

    Incidentally, Trog allows you to mark which steps are "live", so that might cover your needs too. Just click the icon on the left of the step to toggle between live, waiting, and completed. This would allow you to collect a number of steps at once without deciding which ones you can do yet.

    c) Related Tasks
    Trog Bar doesn't support related tasks outside of Project/Next Step
    functionality. Donedesk doesn't support Trog Bar's style of Project/Next
    Step yet (planned, but not started yet), but DOES support related tasks
    via hyperlinks in the task body.


    If you want related tasks in Trog Bar, there are two approaches you could consider:
    1. Use categories to define the relationship. (This isn't really what you are asking for, but you may find that you can satisfy the need this way.)
    2. Tasks can belong to multiple projects, so you could add another parent project to define the relationship between various tasks.

    d) Effort
    Trog Bar used to give access to the Outlook fields for estimated/actual time, and even considered these estimates when deciding which things to show in a given time slot based on whether it was possible to complete them. We actually removed this because it doesn't really get much use and turns out to not be as useful as it sounds like it should be (the fields were just wasting space and having an extra 30 pixels for notes was far more useful for the general user base). The meaningful impact that this could have on task prioritization is basically drowned out by other factors. For prioritization there IS a case to be made for tagging "easy" tasks (this allows you to go hit your list of easy tasks and knock out a large number of things at once if you need a morale boost, or need to look really productive all of the sudden.) I have an "easy" category that I use for this. When I'm adding a task that can be done pretty quickly I tag it. When I'm in the mood, I bring up my easy list and knock out 10-15 of the top items as fast as I can.

    Time estimates DO have a place in teams and project planning, but that's beyond the scope of Trog Bar, which is good for personal tasks, but not so much for teams and shared projects. As a result, we're unlikely to incorporate time estimates back into Trog Bar, but we might choose to include them in Donedesk as we develop the project functionality there.
  • Hi Bug_Slayer, many thanks for the detailed response.

    I think I want quick and easy delegation rather than high-quality - I lean towards the simplest definition of the word, so it could be anything from asking a question on a web form to managing a team delivering a complex project. 

    I can see approaches which lean towards the ticket system/issue management style working very well in terms of precision, but I can't see SaaS working for me mainly because of the variety of work contexts I have - I'm a data specialist and usually work for vendors, so have multiple client projects, a friend and I are trying to start an online business, and I have a charity project going.  It's not feasible to get them all on the same system - but Outlook is usually a common factor, and even if it isn't, email is.  But so far so good with the email follow-up tool - might be all I need.  (Now if it was me I'd be looking at some fuzzy matching and a similarity score to link conversations! ;) )

    Next actions - I usually do loose lists in the notes anyway so I'll give something like that a whirl.  Yes, I have discovered the step statuses and they look very useful.  I'll have a think about related tasks.

    Effort - I find this extremely useful, again because I'm doing lots of different things at the moment and it helps slot them all in / see where the bottlenecks are.  I think I might try running Taskline with Trog - I suppose the worst that can happen is that Trog will ignore the Taskline appointments.

    Thanks again! 

     
  • Yeah, the multiple work environments issue is on our radar with Donedesk. This is actually really common, especially for business owners (both large and small.) We've got some excellent ideas for how to deal with this, but we haven't done anything in terms of implementation yet. You are right that you can usually make Outlook handle this nicely (using multiple Windows accounts can work very well.) The only viable way to handle this in Donedesk at the moment would be to have 2 user accounts (not a horrible problem, since you probably have separate emails for most of the contexts, but still quite a nuisance.)

    I know that some users have run Trog and Taskline in tandem before. I don't remember hearing any reports of problems. Trog will ignore any proprietary data added by Taskline, but I think it should see and understand the appointments Taskline adds, so long as you have Trog configured to look at that calendar.
  • Thanks - I will give Taskline a whirl again and see how it goes.  (I actually saw the estimated effort pop up on the Trog task pop-out, I think because I had forced the use of a Taskline form in the Tasks folder).

    I personally hate multiple user accounts - for me the whole point of PIM is to get a view of everything I have to do regardless of where and for whom, and to make sure that my personal projects don't get pushed aside - but I know some people love having the clear separation.  I suppose it boils down to whether you prefer to compartmentalise or always have a big picture view.  Being a data person, what interests me is the move towards standard, open formats for exchanging data, usually as xml, which should eventually mean that you don't have to build interfaces to specific products (we're not there yet! ;) )
  • Caroza,

    Having looked at a lot of different task managers, the easiest delegation you're going to get will be with Donedesk. Almost nobody will allow you to delegate inside the program. Most that allow it don't notify the person that they have a new task (IE: they don't know you've delegated it, and it won't get done). The few that allow you to easily drag/drop tasks and also notify people tend to cost money (IE: the people you delegate to have to pay as well, which they won't) or they let you give away tasks, but the other people lose them easily. 

    Donedesk will let you send an email and also delegate at the same time (or delegate and let Donedesk send the email). It sends a formal request, so the person knows they're getting a task. It's free, and the person you delegate to doesn't even need to sign up for an account. And they won't lose the tasks you send them.

    Overall, if you want your task list to work with a team, Donedesk is the way to go.
  • Nate, thanks very much - that clarified something for me.  I'm not looking for better delegation in the sense of team task management (that's what whips are for, isn't it? ;)  ).  I'm looking for a better way of tracking requests that I have made and ensuring that they are followed up, i.e. I only want the most basic kind of Waiting For task but I want good tracking for me attached to it (because I typically run projects which consist of lots and lots of very small pieces of work - data quality and data migrations). 

    So I don't actually want any collaborative functionality.

    The MapiLab addin was almost perfect but made Outlook unstable so I've got a bit more research to do.
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