Allow Rules for Subtasks

I 100% understand that some rules shouldn’t/can’t be applied to to subtasks. But at the very least, the “Status Changed -->Complete Task” and “Completed task–>Status Changed” Rule should be made available to subtasks. Minimizing the steps my team has to take make sure “all the boxes are checked” would be incredibly helpful.

10 Likes

I agree with @Chris_Labatt-Simon and @Marko, this would be a very useful feature. Currently, the status of a each task within our projects is dependent on certain sub-tasks being completed. So having a rule that would update that status every time a sub-task is completed would be so helpful as we are doing that manually right now.

6 Likes

I don’t understand why subtasks would be designed NOT to inherit attributes of their parent task. What is the point of a sub task then?

In our case we are a design and fabrication firm that has to track a lot of projects utilizing a variety of in house resources and sub contractors. Our 100+ client(s) each have a “team” level where we create a folder; then the project level is exactly that, a client specific project; then sections break down the scope of work (milestones, assigned actionables, all the elements of the project that are in production, estimate and purchase order tracking, etc). Task levels are the bullet points so to speak of what is in production (“Faux finish display blocks” for example). Subtasks would track multiple purchase orders, vendor costs, due dates, etc necessary to create that one line item.

The only solution I’ve come up with is creating another board that is our “production schedule” where I can attach the sub task to a project. The problem is it takes to many clicks to get into the task, locate the add to a project tab (it is not offered in fields because sub tasks don’t inherit parent structure), then assign it to that tasks where I can then fill out the custom fields I need to track my project. It’s just too many clicks for a fast paced work flow like ours. What is interesting though is if you select multiple sub tasks you can batch move them to a project, so I wish Control + select on a single task or sub task would give you the same streamline option to move tasks between projects.

Our problem is that typically we are generating PO’s one at a time so need a better work flow in getting items onto the production schedule to make sure they are accounted for and billed at the end of a job. Was hoping rules would help solve that by automatically adding these sub tasks to the production schedule but alas…it will not.

Long story short I’ve been using Asana for about 3 years and have always found it to be very frustrating that sub tasks don’t inherit parent tasks attributes. Can someone please explain why? The work arounds never really seem to work…but if someone has had similar experience and an effective solution I’m all ears.

4 Likes

The basic design of Asana is that tasks assigned to a project appear in that project’s task list. Given this model, when a subtask is assigned to a project, it displays in the project’s task list. I don’t know this for a fact but I strongly suspect that the Asana folks concluded that automatically assigning all subtasks to their parent task’s project, thereby causing them all to appear in the project’s task list, would be too unwieldy and would be counterproductive.

I think the only solution would be for them to alter the basic design of Asana such that subtasks assigned to a project would not show in the project’s task list. Again I don’t know this but I suspect that given Asana’s architecture, it would be a heavy lift for them to make make that change. (Although interestingly it’s the design I’m implementing for my upcoming Desksana integration.)

You might be able to solve this using the "Add subtasks from a template" rule action in Flowsana. What I’m thinking is to assign the subtasks in the template to the “Production Schedule” project so that when they’re duplicated, they’ll be assigned to that project when they’re created. I don’t know if that matches your workflow without knowing more about it, but it might. The other issue is that the templated subtasks will show in that project, which you don’t really want, but perhaps since they won’t have any start or due dates on them, that wouldn’t be an unbearable issue.

1 Like

I agree with @Chris_Labatt-Simon as well. It would create efficiencies for our organization, which currently not having that ability means it is something we have to do manually.

For me subtasks are steps of a given task, whatever its environment. This is the result of you splitting the work of a task assigned to you. It is often a private split of a publicly assigned work.

1 Like

I would also like to be able to use rules triggered by subtasks. For example, I would like to have a task (with multiple tasks) moved in a new section when a certain (key) subtask is completed. Apparently i cannot do that at the moment, but it would be great if I could.

2 Likes

Jira also has a better implementation of the EPIC concept - essentially letting you nest tasks in tasks in tasks, creating the “subtask” effect, but maintaining all the functionality of a task. That would be a great addition to Asana. Now, the only way to really create the EPIC concept, you have to create a separate project and then assign tasks to multiple projects to keep track, but also to allow that epic “bucket” with potentially dozens of tasks that make it up, and will be delivered over weeks or months.

1 Like

Because we integrate with Screenful to track sprints, we create a singular project for all sprints within a timeframe (an epic if you will). The project is set up in board view to represent a Kanban board. Each task is a user story in the sprint, and each user story has subtasks that represent the work to be done to meet the story. Our use case for rules here would be to trigger moving the user story to a new section of the board when all of its subtasks are marked done.

1 Like

As a quick follow up to my post - one way to make this work is to make the “parent” task be dependent on all it’s subtasks. You can then write a rule using the “No longer waiting” trigger and take some action. The danger is that the rule would fire for any task in the project that gets a dependency. So some manual governance would be required to make it work.

The solution to change the list view to Section->Task instead of Task->Subtask is good until your project is big enough that it need to be split in sections. Maybe, having subsection could resolve this issue (Section->Subsection->Task)?

There is a dedicated thread about sub-sections if you want to upvote :slight_smile: Also if a project becomes too big you can also consider having several projects in some cases.

I would like to apply rules to subtasks as well.

1 Like

Hi. Its been 18 months since the start of this thread and it is hard to believe that ASANA is asking its users to change their behaviors rather than adjusting their technology to work better for its customer needs. Is there a timeline to have this fixed?- Its not only a matter of rules but subtasks also dont show in timeline, calendar and many other functions. This is a very poor experience. If subtasks work for users, then lets have all the functionalities for subtasks as well!

11 Likes

While I understand the original reason rules don’t apply to subtasks, I think it would make a big difference. Even being able to create a rule that makes a subtask, which we can then rehome on our own. For instance, we use parent tasks to track articles we are publishing, and would like to use subtasks to notate social media posts for these articles. It makes sense to use subtasks for this, as we can create multiple tasks per article for different social channels and easily associate them with the article they are about. But we’d like to automate this process - creating a rule that makes a subtask and adds the subtask (not parent task) to our social media board when we designate in the article parent task that it has potential for social. I’m open to other solutions, but I think the organization makes sense for us.

4 Likes

I agree with you @Chris_Labatt-Simon !!

Dear asana community,

I am trying to work with rules to create an easy workflow across projects. In our case, we have several tasks that sort of flow from one project to another and back to the first. This means some tasks of one project are dependent on the completion of subtasks of another project and vise versa. I have searched for solutions but so far haven’t found anything helpful. Maybe someone here can help? It would be greatly appreciated. I’ll include some details below.

Basically, I need this rule:

Notification when a subtask is no longer blocked

Context:
I have Project 1 and Project 2. In Project 1, I have task 1.1 with several subtasks. Some of these subtasks (but not all of them) can only be done when a task in a specific section of Project 2 has been completed. So far I have only been able to make the different tasks dependent on each other, so when I am looking at the different subtasks in task 1.1, I can see that some have the hourglass icon (I think that’s what it is?) instead of the check icon, so I know I cannot yet complete that subtask. But I need to constantly check whether the hourglass icon is still there or not. It would be great if I could get a notification whenever there is no longer a dependency because the task from project 2 has been completed. I know there is a rule that allows you to add a comment to the task when it is no longer blocked. This would suffice as a notification. But unfortunately, this only works for the entire task, not for subtasks. Or at least I don’t know how to apply it to subtasks as well. Is there a way around this?

Hi @Carmen_Mackenroth, welcome to the Asana Community forum :wave:t2:

At this time, Rules do not apply to subtasks. This is a popular request in the forum and so we do have an existing thread for this in the #productfeedback category already. I’ve gone ahead and merged your post with the existing one to consolidate feedback, I hope you don’t mind :slight_smile:

Hopefully we will see some new Rules, and subtask specific Rules, in the near future. I’ll let you know of any updates :slight_smile:

2 Likes

if you create the rule on your My Tasks window it will at least give YOU the notification when a subtask you’re assigned to gets unblocked. I’ve had my team set up the same rule in their instance so we have ultimately created a somewhat global rule (for my team) to be notified when a task is no longer blocked.

6 Likes

Thank you very much @Rebecca_McGrath, I appreciate your help :pray: