First, great spreadsheet; a great simple solution. I'm not sure my answer is an improvement, but as an alternative it might work for you.
As to question #3 (and #1), I couldn't find a way (with preliminary research) to have it sync or automagically create an event in Gcal from the deadline (although these would be good "asks" for Google Spreadsheets since they are trying to provide the all-in-one experience esp. since they have their own brand of tablets and computers now). If you are really handy with coding, see my *P.S. at the bottom).
PLEASE NOTE: This answer is based on the assumption that you and your colleagues would be willing to use Google Spreadsheet(s) in Google Drive (fka Google Docs), as you mentioned in #3, as well as a (shared) Google Calendar. I set up my iCal so it syncs with Gcal and vice versa (if they complain about using Gcal instead of iCal). Otherwise, don't read any further. I'm also assuming you don't have large numbers of colleagues but just a few as you represented on your spreadsheet.
I suggest this having used Gcal for a couple of years now at work and home; at work, I set a shared calendar up for small group use (with remote workers).
It is a little long because it is detailed as to how to tweak your system to a Gcal-based one.
So as to #2: What if you look at this a little differently and instead of a spreadsheet, use a shared Google Calendar. It could even be embedded on a webpage like this one.
This is a calendar for a mass online class--it has a button in the lower left that allows the person to add it to their own Google calendar "list" (of calendars they view)
This might mean a little more work on your end but it would go pretty quickly if you have the same tasks over and over (copy and paste).
Obviously you would have to populate the calendar with your Tasks. I'm only showing the fields that aren't obvious --these are the corresponding fields (from your spreadsheet to Gcal)
- a) (your) Task # and Name = Gcal Event Description**
- b) Participants= Gcal Where OR (Participants) = Gcal Add Guests (add their email address) This would give you the added benefit of receiving their acceptance of the task.
- c) (Main) Comments (from TASKLIST), T1 (or T2) details with a breakdown schedule = Gcal Description;*
In (c), if you use it to summarize your sub-goal deadlines, this would keep you from having to create events for each subgoal.
*P.S. I did find the Gcal? code for someone who was trying to create multiple calendars from a single spreadsheet. If you yourself are handy with code you could theoretically tweak the code to automagically create the Gcal from your spreadsheet.
** Please note: If you aren't familiar with Gcal a caveat when you set an event: the Reminders automatically default to Pop up 10 min before and Email 10 min before on the event creator's calendar, so delete those to prevent annoyances. On the other hand, you could re-set them to act as follow up reminders to check in with the participants on their progress if needed.
***Example: (Descr: read docs:
2/1 Read introduction: Jon (optional--put name only if you don't use
Add Guest option above)
2/8 select important chapters " ...