I have OmniFocus 2 and OmniOutliner since a while now, and I’m wondering: What exactly is OmniPlan good for? I mean in most people’s practical day to day concerns of organizing things in their lives/projects/to do lists/etc…
I tried searching online and I couldn’t find much about it. So far, I’m really loving OF (still). I’m just wondering how it differs in a practical way from OmniPlan. Most just out of curiosity.
Omniplan is good for organising complex projects - many people working on related tasks, with dependencies between the tasks. It’s good where you need to estimate time, effort and cost and track all three over the liv of a project. In other words, it’s a professional project management tool. You won’t get much from it unless you have an understanding of the processes and thinking evolved in project management. It’s massive overkill if what you want to do is manage your day to day work.
If you can’t see much about it online, look for info on Microsoft Project, which is for a similar purpose and about which there’s tons of info.
FWIW, I use both OF and OP - I’m a professional project manager, and I use OP to manage my projects, and OF to manage my own work.
Thanks. I just was wondering about it because I may be planning yet another international move soon, and the gant timeline thing (which I’ve never used and don’t know much about) looked interesting to me. But it sounds like it would probably still be overkill for me.
I just love Omni products so much that when it came to breaking down a cost of moving and what I have to do, I figured I’d look here first. :)
i’m thinking for an expense thing, I may go with OmniOutliner, as it has a built in basic spreadsheet capability. And since I don’t need graphs or the like, that’s probably the best way to go instead of Excel or something - unless you can recommend something else?
I’m not a professional project planner, but OP can still come in handy.
It’s great for backing into a deadline. If you know you have to get on a plane by a certain date, you can set that up, and work backwards to determine how much time you’re going to spend on each step of preperation. Then, you can use the chart to keep yourself on time.
OP can also show you where you need help. You might find there’s not enough time to do everything you wanted by the deadline. If you get someone to help you, you can add the resource to the project, and assign some parts to them and change your finish date.
Often I find that just setting up the timeline gives me a better understanding of the project.
Thanks for sharing your experience Anamorph. Now that some time has passed, I’m wondering if you would be willing to add any further thoughts on how you use OmniPlan now? Do you still use it? Has your usage changed?
I use OmniPlan more than ever. I wish the interface were more fluid and intuitive, but compared to other project managers, it’s much easier.
I got a major project dropped on me a few months back, and I don’t know how I’d get it done without OmniPlan. I take phases of the project about 60 days at a time, and break down all the steps I’ll need to get to the next big decision point.
I like being able to view the time line like a map or musical score, and see where I’ve been and where I’m going. I also like being able to look up a resource and see what they haven’t done yet.
Dependencies rock. It’s very to easy to see what tasks are held up by some other uncompleted task. It’s also easy to change dependencies.
As I said before, the process of specifying the project often clarifies it and brings new critical thinking to bear about how to manage the solution.