When OmniFocus isn't complicated enough...

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss Tools & Software for GTD' started by Gardener, May 18, 2017.

  1. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    ...there's Jira.

    Yes, I know that Jira is absolutely not written for GTD. It's "aware" of Scrum and of Kanban, and other things, but as far as I can tell, not GTD.

    The main reason I'm looking at Jira is for work--for a Kanban-style workflow in Jira Software for a very small but growing team that has to support a number of projects. But as I play with it, I find myself thinking of what I could do with it to support a sort of Personal GTDBan or Personal KanGTD or whatever you'd call it--a GTD implementation that ties firmly to a Kanban-style workflow and WIP limits.

    Poking around, it appears that

    - Jira issue types could be used for contexts.
    - Jira stories could be used for projects.
    - Jira projects could be used for areas of focus, or for "folders" in OmniFocus, or any other above-project organization that's wanted.
    - Backlog, and the way that backlog can be pulled off the Kanban board to get out it of your face, could be Someday/Maybe. I think that I could add another status, and have both Someday/Maybe and Backlog. Or I could have a Jira "project" just for Someday/Maybe.
    - The ability to make custom boards would support a lot of different cuts on the data.
    - The ability to link to Confluence could be used for project support material.
    - The Kanban board could be used for, well, kanban.
    - The Epics and Versions capabilities are very interesting. Probably no real GTD-like purpose, but, interesting.

    One possible down side is that Jira is obviously intended for programmers. I've discussed the research that says that programmers have one way of making mental models and the rest of the world has another, and this is very obviously intended for the programmer view.

    One up side is that you can use a demo of Jira Cloud for a month for free.

    One down side is that after that, it's ten dollars a month--a lot more than you'll spend on OmniFocus. I may decide that it's worth it anyway.

    Another up side is that Jira Cloud does appear to support local backups, so if you decide to flee, I think you can get your data out.
     
  2. chirmer

    chirmer Registered

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    I love using Trello (another Kanban-style app) for GTD. It's my favorite implementation. Add in Butler for Trello, a bot that makes Trello 1000x more powerful, and some of Trello's new Power-Ups, and it's the most powerful platform I've found yet.

    I haven't tried JIRA, but from what I hear, Trello is like JIRA lite. So I figure we're on the same page :) I honestly love having my lists displayed in Kanban style. I don't need to flip views to see the top priority tasks for each context, and once I click a card, everything else fades away in the background and the card comes into focus, allowing me to hone in on getting that one task done. I can't go back to a traditional list-style application - I feel blind.
     
  3. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    I've found, sadly, that Jira does not work at all well in mobile modes. I seem to recall that Trello does. So I'm going to try Trello again to see if it has enough of what i like in Jira.
     
  4. chirmer

    chirmer Registered

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    Trello recently got their Calendar Power-Up working on mobile and it's great. I love the Trello mobile app - it's professional and powerful with a bit of whimsy, making it fun. Make sure to look into Butler https://butlerfortrello.com - it makes Trello incredibly powerful. I use it to set start dates, automatically move and format cards, etc.
     
  5. sesteph6

    sesteph6 Registered

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    Chirmer Have you abandoned Evernote totally? Or still using for reference.

    Also, using Trello for waiting for email?
     
  6. chirmer

    chirmer Registered

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    Apologies, @sesteph6 - I didn’t see this message! I still live and die by Evernote as file reference, but I do not use it for task management. That is 100% Trello at this point.

    I actually use both Trello and Gmail for my Waiting For emails, if I’m just waiting for a reply. I’ll use the Trello Chrome extension to add a placeholder card to my Waiting For list, and I use a label in Gmail titled Awaiting Reply that then sorts the email to its own section of my inbox, like so:

    [​IMG]

    By sorting them into this specific section of my inbox, I’m able to see immediately when I get a reply (because it will update the “Awaiting Reply” section to signify there’s a new email in there) as opposed to only checking once per week or trying to remember that, when I receive the email, it was one I was waiting for.
     
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  7. dscolburn

    dscolburn Registered

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    @chirmer Recognized you from the Evernote Community forum! Fun seeing productivity geeks in all the places! Also, adding my support for Butler for Trello! Holy @$#&, the amount of work it do for you just so you can, you know, do work! I personally use Asana as my task manager, but I know it's a big [non-Evernote] elephant for some people who I want to collaborate with, so I often use Trello for sharing projects. There are two Trello boards I sync to the newer kanban-style projects in Asana using Unito.io. They're for paid clients, so the $10/mo fee to keep them in perfect, two-way sync is worth it. But even with Unito.io, I couldn't manage without Butler, which keeps me from having to administer a board with casual users who like to ignore due dates and adding themselves as members.
     
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  8. AFG

    AFG Registered

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    @Gardener: are you using Jira for GTD?

    I like the idea of using an issue tracker like Jira for GTD. I also like the idea of an issue/GTD trackler reasonably well integrated with a wiki, like Confluence (although I *hate* Confluence).

    But my experience with Jira is frustrating. Is it flexible enough?

    + Jira issue types could be used for contexts.
    + Jira stories could be used for projects.

    My first, main, question was whether Jira supports moving stuff around.

    But, (1.1) I guess it does - as lomg as there hasn't been incompatible customizations.
    And (1.2) I suppose that since contexts are mainly for next action lists, you probably don't move next actions between contexts too much. (Unless you are me, and make mistakes, like thinking I can do something on my phone, and then realizing I need to be on my PC.)

    Stories make sense as projects. Again, my first thought was moving the stories around between classifications.

    Q: can Jira-stories/GTD-projects be moved between Jira-projects/GTD-areas-of-focus

    but I guess that is me-specific, official GTD does not depend on it.

    Backlog as Someday/Maybe/Incubate also makes sense.



    Overall, the Jira systems that I have to work with are far too heavyweight. Far too many fields that have to be filled in. I think that if irt is not possible to make a simple sentence into a *-issue/GTD-next-action, if any other fields cannot be hidden, then I think it is too heavyweight for personal or small team use. But that may very well be local customizations by company QA.

    (I have used lots of bug trackers that were based on wikis, and a few wikis that evolved out of bug trackers.)



    Interesting. I look forward to hearing how it works.



    I can't imagine using Jira for personal use any time soon, since for me disconnected operation (with merge on reconnect) is a requirement.




    Also, I just remembered another of my Jira complaints: I really like cutting and pasted bitmaps, screen snips, when reporting GUI or document bugs. *NOT* attaching a file that contains the bitmap image, but dropping the image into the Jira text box. So much easier.

    In fact, more and more I have been making my actual bug reports using drag and drop in Confluence, and pasting a link in Jira to the Confluence page.

    Q: does Jira have inline images yet, and I just haven't noticed? (Or IT/QA has not installed .) If so, hurrah! If not, I'll wait.


    This bitmap image issue applies IMHO to GTD as well. First, I paste a lot of screen captures into my notebooks, project support stuff. Second, oftentimes my (next-)action items are a screen snip, circling the bug, and the words "FIX THIS" or the actual correction in red.
     
  9. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Sadly, the mobile stuff just didn't work for me--it was fine for reference, but too much functionality was missing. So I abandoned the idea of using Jira for personal GTD, though in a year or three I'll have another look.

    For work, I still like it, though I keep falling off the wagon, so that suggests that there's something wrong with my implementation.

    Our configuration is, sounds like, much lighter than yours--to create an issue is Create, I enter a few words in Summary, and assign the issue to me. I'm pretty sure there's a configuration setting somewhere that would eliminate the need to assign the issue to me. To make it filter nicely, I also set a Component value.

    I use filters to make tasks show and hide where I want them, and I have several boards that show different sets of tasks. So I don't so much move stuff around as relabel it.

    However--I am a ruthless minimalist in terms of how many actions I want "live". I suspect that someone who likes to have more actions would have trouble.

    I don't know if it has inline images, because I've never tried. :) Another area where I may vary from the average is that I absolutely do not like to have my support material too tightly tied to my lists. So "do blah" would be in Jira, but any screen shots or bug reports or requirement documents associated with blah would be elsewhere. Confluence would be a good elsewhere, but I can't seem to get access.
     

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