Calendar Talk:Lightning:Task management
(Captured raw from the original, community-created Task management page:)
I would like to suggest that the Calendar:Lightning:Task management project enable users to not only create stand-alone tasks, but also allow users to create projects. As a result tasks could be assigned to specific projects. This would allow users to easily group and organize tasks.
I've spent the last nine months developing a web-based Project/Task tracking system. Based on my experiences and results I think you may be able to entice corporate users if you offer both Project and Task Tracking instead of just stand-alone tasks with the very-limited grouping functionality of Outlook.
I look forward to seeing the fruits of your labor!
Addition from Roel Meeuws:
I think it would also be a good idea to be able to track your tasks and project progress in your calendarviews. So, if you look at the current week you also see when your tasks are due, running, or about to start. Maybe it would also be a great idea to be able to add project overviews where you see a timeline with all the tasks.
Expanding on Roel's suggestion of projects. That could possibly be done with an expanded mail label system and message grouping or by using calendar categories. Though for proper project management integration a more robust system might be better.
Addition from Ed O'Loughlin:
It would also be good to allow tasks/appointments to reference emails, allow creating a task/appointment from an email. See http://gtdsupport.netcentrics.com/tour/ for a good, low ceremony implementation of this.
Expanding on the above from Ed it only requires adding "Defer" and "New Task" actions after the "Reply" "Reply all" "Forward" buttons to get task/appointment integration, which is already available. However it would be usefull to either move such mails to a "Deferred" folder or puting the email contents into the task as a note or appropiate. Task management will need to have allocation/delegation added at some point... The existing Forward window requires a "Add Reminder" (new task) checkbox for delegations.
Addition by m_sb: (supporting Ed's ideas want to underline) It would be very useful for daily work to be able to drag-and-drop an email to Event and Tasks area and just add a date for reminding (re-submission), isn't it? So Lightning should just save link to the email to open it when reminder pops up. If the email was moved meanwhile, subject and date should be saved in Event and Tasks anyway, to be able to find easily the mail at least manually.
My experience from working with Outlook is that the grouping of tasks generally does not support my two main activities when scheduling work. 1. Planning ; 2. Execution. With this background I would like to suggest that the task "GUI" will offer the end user the possibility of creting tasks that are "dependent on" or "part of" some other task. This simple relation between tasks make viewing (planning or executing) of them more efficient. Also these two basic relations turn the "task" manager into a quite advanced project management tool, as external plugnins can be made to "display" critical path and other "project" management related information derivates - without demanding it from the basic task manager.
(From the main Lightning Q&A page:)
Q. Will Lightning support Notes as known from Outlook - and will it be possible to keep them in a hierarchy by folders?
Simon Massey: From a team collaboration perspective I feel that notes organised into a hierarchy would be a very powerful tool.
Justin Hyde: Suggest that Tasks organized into projects is excellent idea. Projects should of course be planned hierarchically. Tasks in a project have other dimensions though, which are also hierarchical, this may be satisfied by multiple categories. I'd suggest that categories should also be hierarchical (more below). Ideally I'd like to take a project, plan it and drop the necessary work and meetings straight into my calendar (and other peoples projects and calendars) and have mechanisms to bring information from those calendar events back into the body of the project. Calendar events need to be attributed (either loosely - just allowing access to the information that came out of a meeting say, or tightly - attributing your time) as tasks into a project, including both meetings, and 'work time'. This can be used either as a way of planning time and/or logging time.
Michael Mealling: One requirement of task dependencies would be the ability for a task to be a subtask (or have some other kinds of relationships) with tasks on another calendar. I really like the capabilities of CalDAV and would like to be able to delegate tasks hierarchies to other users calendars and then view the complete calendar by simply showing all of the project's member's calendars.
(Addition from Billy Charlton) While many of these grouping features sound really enticing, it's important to keep the task functionality SIMPLE enough that it can be eventually shoehorned into Palm PDA's. Countless people use PDA's to organize tasks into categories (@Home, @Office, @Computer, @Errands, BigProject) and these groupings transfer effortlessly between Outlook, a PDA, and Palm Desktop etc. More features may be nice from a project management perspective, but the basic task list just needs decent grouping in order to be very effective. This is the core idea behind 'The Zen of Palm' organizing. Keep it simple!!
(Addition Justin Hyde) PDA syncing: Could this be done by simplifying for the PDA by picking the nodes that you want to represent as categories and then picking the level of tasks below that to pull in as tasks into the PDA. One would hope that PDA's will also move forward and be able to eventually display hierarchical tasks. Categories and projects: Assume by category we mean that a task can have many categories. These need to be hierarchical. Currently I have hundreds of categories all with contatenate names. From a project perspective the intersection of categorise in a type of project would form the basis of a project template - the intersections forming the 'pigeon-holes' for the tasks to slot into. Different types of Project have certain common tasks which you'd Categorise the same way each time. Example Development Project would have Analysis, Design and build phases which would be ideally represented as categorise.
(Addition Roel Meeuws) While Billy has a point there on syncing with PDA devices, I think the problem is not very big. On your PC you've got your elaborate project descriptions and planning. For syncing with (older) PDAs there should be a special category that contains the tasks to be synchronized. If PDAs continue to lag behind on these developments maybe it would be nice to have a lighting PDA version. This would not be easy though, given the many different platforms out there. Java could help here
(Addition Jan Eldenmalm) With the risk of repeating some of Justin Hyde's propositions I would like to suggest that a simple tick box "show task in calendar X from HH:mm for 3 h on XX date" would solve many "day scheduling" issues.
Minor practical suggestions
Can I offer for consideration the following deficiencies which have annoyed me over the years when working with other task management software? #1- a # days to deadline field (obviously easy for a PC to compute) should be rendered next to every task which has a deadline, and sorting on this field would be nice also, #2- instead of (or in addition to) task reminders, I think tasks with deadlines should become visible in a section of the calendar display reserved for tasks a user specified number of days in advance of the deadline, and continue until checked-off, #3- what makes #1 and #2 non-trivial is when tasks have a recurrence, but that's also what makes my life complex. I am having to keep track of what I need to work on a day or so before each Wednesday deadline, and a few days before some end of the month tasks, and a few days before certain upcoming events. I have never found it useful for PC apps to keep track of when my events and tasks are due, I could do that with a paper calendar purchased at any drug store. I want to have an intelligent view of where I stand each day as I near various deadlines, and I suspect others have the same challenges in their business and personal lives.
These are some good suggestions. I would like to add that in addition to an indication of how many days until the deadline of a task I would often like to be reminded of how many days since the assignment of a task. This is the one bit of information often ignored in a task list that I find I tend to want as a born procrastinator. The longer a task has been on my TODO list, often the more important it is I work on it (and the further away its deadline from assignment date, thus probably also a task that requires more total work to accomplish). WorldMaker 00:40, 3 Sep 2005 (PDT)
Adding to Justin Hyde's project-association suggestion above, the single feature I miss most in any calendaring app I've tried is the ability to assign work times to tasks. In the morning, I pick which tasks I'm going to work on that day. I estimate how much time they'll take, and I order them to make myself a sort of schedule for the day. (Ideally, the default behavior would be to preseve the length of time when the start time is changed--some tasks get moved to another day or time.) If this sort of timed task were listed in the calendar, right next to timed events, I could finally throw away those scraps of paper I keep stuffing in my shirt pocket. (This would also mesh nicely with the layered calendaring proposal.) --Joe Vornehm 20:04, 25 April 2006 (PDT)
It will be also helpful to have possibility to add tasks quicker. To do this I suggest to add a button next to "Save and Close" called "Save and New". By clicking on it current task should be saved and the new window for the new task should be opened. Additional my suggestion is to write procedure for printing and exporting to text file the task list. Currently tasks are not printed even if they are listed in calendar. Krzynio 15:00, 5 January 2008 (CET)
Would it be possible to sync tasks with the Google Calendar? I am using several Google calendars in the Lightning 1.0pre with 3.0 Beta 4 and can not use the task feature because the Google calendar does not support tasks. How can this be made to work?
Syncing Lightning with SyncML Server
Could I suggest that a desired feature would be the ability to sync the calendar with a SyncML server such as Fusemail? There are many others, but this would allow syncing with PDAs and other instances of the client by using the server.
Syncing Tasks with IMAP directory
SyncKolab currently use an IMAP directory as a repositary to sync between multiple computers by sending data through formatted messages. Would be nice to sync tasks in the same manner.
eMail Roll-up of Tasks
I suggest a feature to email a roll-up of tasks for reporting status to others. This would make the tasks a big time-saver over retyping or cut/pasting to inform others of task status.
8/17/2010: Or how about being able to merely copy-and-paste the task view into a plain-text, tab-delimited list of whatever rows and columns shown.