New Project Management: Subprojects and Much More!AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
We have just released the new Projects section. Besides integrating the new design that we had introduced with the Dashboard and that we will be incorporating gradually in the sections left, we have changed all internal programming to improve significantly performance and execution speed. We have also added tons of improvements. But let’s go step by step.
If you have a lot of projects in different stages, you’ll probably struggle when you need to find one particular project between all your lists and it will probably take you too much time. The new project-searching tool that you’ll find in the lower part of the project list will allow you to find any project in a matter of seconds. You just need to type in a few letters and all the projects that contain them will show up.
You can choose one project from the list using either the mouse, or the up, down and enter keys. Once you’ve selected a project, the Project List will open up automatically in the place the project is.
Likewise, when you create a new project, this will be added to the In progress list and it will be automatically selected.
Focus on goals and areas of responsibility
The Focus on tool found in the upper part will allow you to focus just in one goal and/or area of responsibility.
Once you’ve selected one goal and/or one area of responsibility, the project list will be reduced only to show those projects related to the selection.
Note: In the next few days we’ll add the same feature to the Dashboard.
General improvements and changes
- When you want to focus on one particular project, you’ll need to check the star-shaped icon that is placed on the left side of the projects in progress list. The project will be moved to the first places of the list, and its actions will also be shown on the top of the general Next Actions list.
- Before, you had to complete a project in order to delete it. Now you can delete a project in any moment, regardless of the state in which it finds itself. And warning: Now, when you delete a project, all its next actions and all the support material will be moved to the trash.
- Now you have a rough estimation of the project’s execution time, that is just a sum of the estimation time of all the next actions of the project.
- Before, all the actions of a project inherited the Goal and Area of Responsibility from the project they belonged to. Now, though they still do it, you can modify the Area of Responsibility of any action independently (you need to edit the task to do so).
- Before, when you had one project in the Waiting state, none of its actions appeared in the general lists to avoid unnecessary distractions. However, some of you have argued that, even if a project is "waiting”, the actions of its Calendar and Waiting For lists should be present in the general lists, to avoid missing an event or monitoring work that needs to be done by others. We believe that this makes a lot of sense, so now the items belonging to the Calendar and Waiting For lists will be shown in the general lists, even if the projects are on “waiting” state.
Sequential projects can have subprojects. Probably some of your projects will be made up of groups of tasks that, though related, could be managed as side projects. The new Subprojects feature will let you organise properly this type of components.
To create a subproject, you just need to give it a name, since the subproject inherits the rest of the main-project characteristics.
When you add a subproject to a project it is as if you had another list of Next Actions working at the same time. The first action from both the main project and the subproject will be shown in the general Next Actions list, therefore you can work on the different parts of the project simultaneously.
The Add Action button allows you to add a new action to the main project or to any of its subprojects. You’ll see a dropdown list with all the subprojects that exists (if they do). In addition, we’ve added the possibility to add notes and checklists at the same time you create a new action.
You can send one task directly to a subproject while you are processing it, since subprojects also appear in the project lists, with the format
project > subproject.
To delete a subproject there should be no actions related to the subproject in any of the lists (not even in the Trash).
Sorting the sequence of Next Actions
You can drag and drop actions to alter the sequence of the next actions in a project, and even move one action from one subproject to another one. In tablets the “drag and drop” option is not possible, so we’ve added some sort icons that will let you sort the actions if you are working with an iPad.
This icons will let you move each action upwards or downwards, and send them to the beginning or the end of the list. In addition to using them when using a tablet, it can be useful to use them when you simply have too many actions on the list. You can activate the icons when you need to move actions, and deactivate them to gain space and clarity when you don’t need them.
When using a tablet, you won’t be able to move graphically one action to another subproject. In this case, you’ll need to edit the action and change the subproject with the “Project” field of the Perspective section.
Note: Before, there was a button to save all changes once you had modified the order of the task. It doesn’t exist anymore, the changes are saved automatically with every movement.
Improvements in the Kanban-type planification
There are projects that don’t follow any sequential flow and the interdependence of the tasks is more complicated. In this cases, you can use the Kanban-type planification that, even if manual, is strong and flexible enough to manage any workflow.
With this kind of planification, just the actions that are on the Doing list of the Kanban will appear in the general lists of actions.
In addition to the new design, there are other changes and improvements to the Kanban-type projects:
- We’ve added the total number of actions in each column, in order for you to have a clearer idea of the amount of work you’ll need to do in each project.
- We’ve added the attach-files option in the Kanban tasks, something that was clearly missing in the previous version.
- In long projects, when the Done column is growing non-stop, it ends up been unuseful. Now you have the option to work with two to three columns, to taste. You can set each project to have the “done” list be shown within the Kanban or outside the Kanban as another list.