Version 1 Coming Soon Blog Comments

This topic is for comments on the original blog entry at

Tell us what you think!

It would be interesting to know what additions and modifications you already have in the pipeline, and what kind of paying users you are aiming for in the end.

It will be hard for any beta tester, new or old, (or for a paying user for that matter,) to give the right advice to you if we do not know what you are aiming for. Typically users/testers ask for things that they personally have liked in other apps, which, since every such person is different and they have tried different apps, leaves the developer with a resultant bagful of requests that is 1) way too big, 2) not correlated toward any particular goal or purpose, and 3) not in any way unique. There is any number of “bagful-of-trinkets” type apps, jacks-of-all-trades with big holes in them. There are very few indeed that seem to serve some very distinct purpose in a solid and thought-through way.

It seems to me that GTDNext has moved fast, from a pure experimental app to something that will become almost usable reasonably soon - but far from superior overall to apps already on the market.

The way it is advertized (on the blog etc) it comes across as an app that is geared toward systematic long-term planning of large projects etc - action hierarchies and project flow. That is the impression I initially got, anyway, and this would indeed have been a distinct niche market to satisfy, even though my own requirements in that regard are quite modest. But judging from the forum discussions there is no real wish or vision to live up to that kind of impression at all, or to go for that market. GTDNext is just meant to be a regular app with an outliner-style task entry mode, with the regular sequential approach and with an utterly primitive hot wire for parallel next actions. You cannot even block subsequent Waiting for actions, let alone entire projects, or pre-plan their parallelism. This is a big waste of an effort already started, that could have placed you in a category almost of your own, or at least best in class in that category. It really beats me why you didn’t go all in for it.

As far as all the rest goes, the app seems to be going to be doing what most other apps also do (although it is hard to know how you will improve it). No significant perfection or innovation seems certain; nothing that is sure to attract customers away from other apps; but hopefully that will come. Plenty of “weird” and confusing stuff remains; but hopefully that will go away.

I realize this probably sounds like harsh words, but please accept my assurance that it is in fact intended to be helpful.

Great questions! Our plan is to be attractive to knowledge workers, and to service them both in office and on the go. Letting them handle their entire life plans, not just work tasks. We want to appeal to users who either embrace the GTD methodology or are interested in learning it. We are not a date based app, where every task has a due date that you continually push forward as you miss it. We will let others service that niche and related methodologies. Our approach is to be easy for new users to start using the product right away, handling much of the details for these users as they focus on being more productive. At the same time, we allow power users to really dig into the product and plan their days and projects in a detailed and productive manner using advanced features not seen in other GTD task management apps. It’s hard to balance these two goals at times; we will do our best. You will see features released that support both these goals.

We don’t plan to take on MS Project or Ominplan anytime soon. But we will be the most advanced GTD app on the market for planning projects with lots of sub-projects and tasks. We are pretty far down that path already with sequential vs parallel projects, future start dates, repeating tasks, waiting states, etc. Are we all the way there yet? Heavens no. Certainly not after 3 months of development and just embarking on a 1.0 version. Will we get there? Yes, I think we will.

Quite the contrary actually. We think it is a splendid first effort. We already have more features in this area than most services on the market, and we haven’t even launched yet! We could easily spend ,many more months on our first release sorting out all those details and really not have time for anything else and never get a release finished. Start-us that never deliver fail. Please don’t confuse our lack of engagement on some of those more tricky issues to mean that we won’t continue to improve that feature set. We will, and users like you and others will hopefully provide us with the input we need to make the best choices when we are ready to add more enhancements to the long range planning features. We need more opinions on this subject and getting to a release will help us do that.

There is certainly a core set of features that is expected in a GTD app. That’s been a portion of our agenda for this first release. It’s always hard to judge exactly what users think as “fundamental” so we probably will miss a few items that some users consider fundamental in this first release. However, as we have said, this is just a starting point. We are far from done!

Not at all. Thank you for your feedback! I hope more users and beta testers will take time to let us know how their experience is going and what we can do to make GTDNext the best GTD task management service in the market.

You can start by filling out the survey for Beta 2. Thanks!

Sounds excellent. I don’t think there needs to be a conflict between those two goals. Easy to start using AND easy to continue using (without getting stuck in any unnecessary limitations). That is a perfect combination.

Nor should you ever, probably. The typical project management app is for schedule-based team management, far from the individual-centered and dynamic approach of GTD. I think the more relevant comparison is with Omnifocus and MyLifeOrganized (and to some extent Todoist as regards outlining).

That is definitely the first impression one gets from your blog, and when starting to use the app for the first time. And this is what I believe attracts people to GDTNext, because those features are not nearly as common as one might have thought given the interest often expressed for such features, and when they are present they are often clunky. And I of all people am definitely not surprised that development takes time. What has baffled me is the seemingly resolute unwillingness to even recognize the small but crucial shortcomings and inconsistencies - as if it were all a matter of statistics rather than of streamlining the design consistently for a clear purpose. Especially sad since the solution seems so near. I hope you get it right in the end. No hurry, though. We won’t start actually using the app yet.

Yes, I totally agree.

This is a great ambition. And it also opens up doors for creative thinking. Assuming that a user should be able to run his life without having a single date recorded in the app (unless those dates are in the “hard landscape”) then this leaves the developers with the challenge of providing users with some really effective means to manage tons of tasks without ever assigning a “phony” start date or due date to anything (which would have been the mainstream non-GTD approach). The resulting “overwhelm” problem - long lists without structure etc - is often mentioned on other GTD app forums. How can a perceived sense of control, and real actual control, be attained without stringing it all up on dates?

I believe there is a solution, and that it consists of a number of different parts all working together as a whole:

  • sequentializing (causally, objectively) and thereby inactivating stuff that simply should not be on the lists right now, and be able to prepare in advance in what order things should appear on the lists. (This is something you have already started, and it only needs to be rounded off.)
  • realizing that a Waiting For action is someone else’s Next action, and can be just as imminent and crucial to your success as your own Next actions, and need to have exactly the same control features as Next actions, e.g. as regards sequencing, alerts and everything. (You still have some work to do here.) Many of us have plenty of Waiting Fors, sometimes even more than Nexts, and you can drown just as easily in either.
  • an easy-to-see attention system (aka “priority”) which lets you find what you need to look at. Such attention level indicators (High, Medium, Low) could also be called Critical, Normal, Uncritical or whatever other terms people prefer. This helps people avoid drowning in their Next and Waiting For lists (and are also very useful for Someday/Maybe, to track the “hottest” and most tempting Maybes). (Priority is quite a common feature, but sometimes shunned by GTD app developers, presumably because of DA’s strong criticism of using it under the wrong circumstances and especially of rigidly sequentializing tasks by some fixed priority assessment. But DA/GTD does recognize priority in most other senses - in all “sensible senses”; he even emphasizes it.)
  • tagging and filtering: This is an area of great potential. And so very “GTD”. GTD is based, among other things, on making a situational selection of what to do now. Tags are a way to represent the situational elements a task can require AND which of these elements are satisfied in a given situation. But to avoid drowning in tagging work, and to really make sure you can produce a list of now viable actions to consider, some slick features are required. And this is almost virgin territory for a developer, a chance to be the first. I’d say one of the very first (and actually unique, as far as I know) such features would be a NOT filtering feature (to exclude tasks). This would enable people to cut down tagging work by maybe 50% to 70% and would allow people to see ALL the viable tasks on one single screen rather than make several successive filterings and have to remember the results and/or have to resort to “ocular filtering” (reading and ignoring). Other powerful tag/filtering related features, to avoid double tagging, are hierarchical tags or implied tags (if tag A is applied then automatically also apply tag B). General default tags can also be useful.