Empty Action groups don't show up in perspectives with "First Available" set

I’m curious if anyone has this problem on OF 2 for Mac

I had a parallel action group of children tasks. In a perspective, I had “First Available” set, and the children tasks appear. I completed those tasks, and I expected the now empty action group to show up in the perspective as the next task I should tackle, but it didn’t.

Changing the perspective to display “Available” tasks makes the empty action group show up, but I want to keep the perspective with “First Available” set.

Am I not understanding how action groups (or perspectives) work? What can I do to make this work as intended?

Side question that’s been bugging me for a long time: How come the empty action group doesn’t convert back to a regular task? It’s somewhat an eyesore to see an empty action group that is bolded and has an expand arrow that doesn’t do anything.

Side side question: Is there a way to manually convert the empty action group to a task?

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Is your action group the very first thing in the enclosing project? If no, then it’s not the first available thing in that project, and you wouldn’t expect it to show up in that perspective.

Because it’s an action group, not a regular task. Your confusion stems from thinking that your action group is a regular task with some dependent tasks which must be completed first, but it’s not - it’s a group of actions.

You should treat your action groups in a similar way to projects, i.e. as things which contain actions but which aren’t actions themselves. Once you’ve completed the last action in the action group, you should be able to mark the action group itself immediately complete, because all your actions are done.

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Thank you @PGR for your response.

In my regular project, the action group’s not the very first thing, but in my test project (screenshots to follow), it IS the very first thing and it still doesn’t show up. But I noticed that it only occurs if the project is Single Actions type and not Sequential or Parallel.

I can understand the logic that an empty action group wouldn’t/shouldn’t automatically convert to regular task, in case I want to add more tasks under that group, etc. But… (read on)

… I want the ability and option to convert that group action to a task, just like I can convert a regular task to a project and back to a regular task again (if that project is empty).

But in some cases I prefer to mark it complete manually, in case I forgot to add certain tasks in that group.

At this point, I’m not asking the app to make any changes (maybe in OF3), but I just want to see how other people would handle this issue (ex: To have an empty action group of a Single Actions project to appear in a perspective that shows only the First Available items, regardless of it being a task or action group).


(I’m making multiple posts because they don’t allow putting multiple images in one post)

Step 2: Tasks within action group are complete but action group does not appear in perspective.

2b: Action group appears in perspective when the project is Sequential (or Parallel) (But what if I want the project to be Single Actions?)

How will I know to mark Action Group as complete (or remind me to add missing tasks) using only the perspective and not always have to check the project?

It seems counter-intuitive to put an action group in a single actions project, because by definition it’s not a single action. It sounds like you should be making that action group an actual project.

Maybe someone from Omni can comment on the actual design intent, but I suspect the issue arises from the fact that while it’s physically possible to put an action group into a single actions project, it doesn’t make much sense to do so and it’s a bit self-contradictory, so you see some unusual behavior when you try it.

The distinguishing characteristic of a single actions project is precisely that you’re telling OF you don’t want it to remind you of such things, because you’re only going to put single actions in there, rather than a (potentially incomplete) collection of actions which contribute to a desired outcome. A single actions project is just a collection of single actions, it’s just an organizational tool for convenience - it doesn’t represent an outcome that you want to complete in the same way you complete a regular sequential or parallel project. A single actions project with no tasks will never appear in your regular lists in the way that a sequential or parallel project will, for example, precisely because of this difference.

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The thing is that I have a huge project that’s already broken up into separate projects, and in each project is a bunch of sequential action groups of 2-3 tasks that can be worked on independently from other action groups. And making these small action groups its own project is excessive and harder to manage.

I suppose in this case I should use “Available” instead of “First Available.” For some reason I thought I would be overwhelmed with more tasks, but with the way I carefully set up the parallel and sequential settings of each action group, using “Available” seems to do what I’m expecting (I think). (The empty action groups show up in “Available”, too!)

Looking further into “First Available” in the manual, I guess I didn’t fully understand what it can (and cannot) do and expected too much of it. As I understand it now, it shows ONLY the very first item in a sequential or parallel project. This sounds obvious now, but having it behave differently in a Single Actions project confused me. I suppose “First Available” is sort of like making a project (sequential or otherwise) behave like a sequential project in a perspective.

Thank you for helping me figure this out!