Archiving old fields when you roll out a new one

We currently have many fields for showing the priority of a task (severity, priority, bug severity, need severity, etc.). These different fields have been used by different teams over time, and now we have a lot of them.

  • Here’s what we want to do: We want to consolidate to 1 priority field across projects. We want to remove the old priority fields so they no longer show up on tasks.
  • Here’s what we need: Is there a way to archive the information in all of the old priority fields? If I’m understanding correctly, the only way to remove fields from view on the task pane is to delete it. We’d like to archive this information in case we need to reference it in the future.

Note: Some tasks have multiple priorities (for example, 1 task has both bug severity and priority), so copying the values from 1 old field to the 1 new field won’t work, unfortunately.

@Christy_Lutz - To my knowledge, this is not possible. If you remove the field from projects, that data point will still live on the task pane (but it will be grayed out and not editable - although it does remain deletable, which is…not ideal for your situation). If you delete the field altogether, of course that information will be lost (it’s still in an audit log if you really need it).

Perhaps you could try logging it either to the task description or as a comment? Your other alternative would be storing it in an external db (e.g., you could export all tasks to a google sheet if you do not have super technical people).

1 Like

If the archive may need to be frquently and easily consulted, then I don’t know a good way.

If, however, you’re satisfied with an archive that may take some extra effort to consult, but will result in full preservation, you could just do a comprehensive export of all projects and fields and then save the Sheet or csv somewhere. The Asana task IDs are preserved, and will serve as the unique lookup. This is what I would do, in your shoes. Just do a really clean and well-communicated transition period (where both new and old versions of the various fields in question are both present), export, let everyone’s concerns be met, then delete old fields.

2 Likes

Thank you for this answer! Can you help me understand how to log the information in the old fields to a comment or description. This sounds ideal, in addition to exporting a backup like suggested in the other answer.

Would I create a rule to copy that info into a comment or description?

@Christy_Lutz,

Just to add a couple points to the helpful info already provided:

  • Perhaps an easy approach to archiving is in Asana via Project actions > Duplicate project. Just make sure you don’t check the boxes for 1) Assignee, and 2) Project membership because that will cause a lot of confusion, and perhaps restrict permissions on the archived project so as not to be confused with the current project/tasks.
  • Just FYI, I think that if you first clear all the values of a custom field (both for completed and incomplete tasks), then if you subsequently remove the custom field field from the project after that, it won’t leave a remnant of the custom field in each task.

Thanks,

Larry

2 Likes

These specifics are helpful, thank you!

1 Like

Hi @Christy_Lutz ,

You could do this with rules, although you would need a way to trigger them. One thought is to add a custom field to your projects called Trigger (or something similar) that has one dropdown option (maybe a :white_check_mark:).

You would then create a rule similar to this (this is to add it to the description; the process for a comment would be similar but just using the “Add comment” action instead of “Set task description”):


If you do want it in the description, make sure you include the “Task Description” variable (it’s the first section in my sample screenshot) in your rule, as this overwrites the existing description.

2 Likes