Flowsana: workflow automation for your Asana projects

Yeah, that’s what I figured you meant. Your comment of “Kind of like a template that gets created on the fly” was spot on in terms of a description. It would really be a “subtask template”.

I’ve given some thought to adding “task templates” as a Flowsana feature, and “subtask templates” would just be a variation on that theme, so to speak. I don’t want to promise anything at the moment but I will give it some serious thought! I definitely see the value you’re pointing to.

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Good to hear @Phil_Seeman.

The task templates sound like they might be useful as well. What will the features be of that?

Still too early to say. :slight_smile: I haven’t settled on an implementation yet, it’s just in the idea stage at present.

Really thats awsome cant wait to try it !

Announcing new Flowsana features and enhancements

Just released today: lots of new Flowsana features, enhancements, fixes!

New workflow type: Hashtag Automation

Hashtag Automation allows you to enter and modify fields and elements of a task by using hashtags within the task’s Description field. Specifically, you can use hashtags to enter or modify the following information:

  • The task’s due date
  • The task’s assignee
  • Tags
  • Additional projects

Once you’ve enabled hashtag recognition for a project, you use this feature simply by typing a hashtag symbol (#) followed by the due date, assignee name, tag(s) and/or project name(s) that you want to apply to the task. In the case of tags and projects, you can specify multiple hashtags of that type. Hashtags can be placed anywhere within a task’s Description.

Hashtags are especially useful when forwarding emails to Asana. Because the Description field is where Asana places the email body when you forward an email, this means you can type your hashtags right into an email before you send it.

Here are some examples of hashtags:

#important #Joe Allen #next Mon
Attach the Important tag to the task, assign it to Joe Allen, and set its due date to next Monday.

#Strategic planning #Follow up #Admin
In addition to the project where the task is being recorded, also assign this task to the Strategic Planning project, and tag it with the Follow Up and Admin tags.

#Martha Smith #Fri 2 pm EDT
Assign the task to Martha Smith and set its due date to this coming Friday at 2:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time.


Creating new Dynamic Duration workflows: now much easier

We’ve completely revised the way you create Dynamic Duration workflows, making it much easier!

Previously, every time you wanted to create a new Dynamic Duration workflow from an existing workflow template, you had to first create the project in Asana from the template, go to Flowsana, use “Refresh projects list” to tell Flowsana about the new project, wait for a confirmation email that the refresh was done, then go back to Flowsana and add the new project as a workflow.

Here’s the new process: go to Flowsana, select the Dynamic Duration workflow option, select Create a new workflow project based on a selected workflow template, choose the appropriate template from a list of your Asana templates, and type in the name of the new workflow project you want to create.

That’s it! Flowsana will automatically create the project in Asana from your template and put it under workflow control, and send you an email when that’s all done. No more switching between Asana and Flowsana, going back to Flowsana multiple times, continually refreshing your projects list, waiting for multiple email confirmations, etc. You just go to Flowsana once, select the template to use, give it your new project name, and Flowsana does the rest automatically.

We think this change really enhances the usability of Dynamic Duration workflows.


You can now change dates in Dynamic Duration workflows

Previously, in Dynamic Duration workflows you were not allowed to change the start/due dates on tasks; if you wanted to adjust a task’s dates, you needed to do it by modifying the task’s Duration and/or Lag Time.

This limitation is now gone! You are now free to change task dates, including by adjusting a task on the Asana Timeline view. When you do, Flowsana will automatically modify the task’s Duration and/or Lag Time to match your change, and then will appropriately adjust all dependent tasks as it did before.


“Assign To” now assigns initial project tasks

The “Assign To” feature of Dynamic Duration workflows is designed to solve the Asana issue that occurs when you assign a task to someone in a template, and as a result it shows up in their My Tasks list immediately - even though it really shouldn’t since it’s only part of the template, not a real live project. With “Assign To”, Flowsana will assign the task only when the person is able to work on it.

Previously, this only applied to dependent tasks; Flowsana assigned a dependent task to the user in the “Assign To” field as soon as all of its dependencies were marked complete.

But what about the initial tasks in a project, that are not dependent on any other task? Those can be worked on as soon as you enter a project start date and thus initiate the project’s workflow. Those tasks should really be assigned as soon as you enter the project start date.

And now they are! We’ve rectified that missing piece of the puzzle. Now when you enter a project start date on a new Dynamic Duration workflow, Flowsana will immediately assign all tasks which have no dependencies and have a user name in their “Assign To” field.


Bug fixes: rules in multiple projects, and more

Previously, if you had a task that was assigned to multiple projects, and you had Flowsana rules in effect in more than one of those projects, only the rules for one of the task’s projects would be followed. This has been corrected - all rules will now be followed, even across multiple projects for a task.

We’ve also recently squashed some other minor product bugs, as we continue to improve Flowsana overall.


Coming soon: Team-based billing

Flowsana’s billing is currently based on the number of Asana users in organizations or workspaces containing workflow-enabled projects.

We recognize that in many cases, members of a particular team want to take advantage of Flowsana for their team-centered work. It’s not practical or affordable for them to pay for users in other teams who may never use Flowsana.

As a result, we’re changing the Flowsana billing policy to be team-based rather than organization-based. What this means is if you use teams, you’ll only be billed for Asana users within teams containing workflow-enabled projects.

This change will be rolling out within the next few weeks. You won’t need to do anything; your billing will be automatically adjusted if appropriate. We’ll send you an email notification once this change is implemented.


Want to try Flowsana again?

Did you try Flowsana at some point, decide it was not for you, but would like to give it another spin, especially with the improvements detailed here?

No problem! Just send an email to support@flowsana.net and we can get you set up with a new trial subscription.

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Great job. Any new updates since May?

Hi @Adis_A123,

Oops - you’re right, while I’ve sent emails and posted to social media, I forgot to post a few updates here! I’ll post them now, along with a “preview of coming attractions”.

Team-Based Billing is Live

Flowsana’s billing system was initially based on the total number of Asana users in your organization or workspaces which contained workflow-enabled projects. We call that total your Flowsana “Billable Users” count.

We recognized that in many cases, members of an organizational team wanted to take advantage of Flowsana for their team-centered work. It was not practical for them to pay for users in other teams who may not be using Flowsana, or who they should not be paying for out of their team’s budget.

As a result, we’ve changed the Flowsana billing system to be team-based rather than organization-based. Effective July 1, 2019, if you use teams as part of your Asana implementation, you’ll only be billed for Asana users within the specific teams in which you’ve set up workflow-enabled projects. If you visit your My Account page on the Flowsana website, you’ll see your new team-based Billable Users counts and total.

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Hi all,

As of August 8, 2019, we’ve made two enhancements to Flowsana’s Add Workflow page when creating new Flowsana workflows.

Easier searching

Previously, when typing into any drop-down field while creating a workflow - this means Projects and Teams, and for rule workflows, Tags, Users, Sections and Custom Fields - Flowsana used a “starts with” search method. That is, you had to type the exact beginning of the value you were wanting to set.

It now uses a “contains” search method instead. This means you can now type any portion of the value you’re wanting to set, no matter where it occurs within that value, and you’ll see a list of appropriate matches.

For those of you with large numbers of projects, teams, users, etc., this should make it much easier for you to find and set the value you’re looking for.

Refreshing Flowsana with Just New Projects

As many of you know, when you make structural changes in Asana - adding, removing, or renaming projects, teams, users, tags, custom fields - you need to do a refresh so that Flowsana sees those changes. Previously there were two refresh options:

  • Refresh projects list from Asana

  • Refresh ALL data from Asana

Especially for those of you with a lot of Asana data, these refresh operations can sometimes take a while to complete.

We realize that in the vast majority of cases, what’s happened is you’ve added new projects to Asana and you just want to let Flowsana know about those new projects.

So we’ve added a new refresh option, called Add NEW projects from Asana. As the name indicates, what this will do is just find new projects you’ve recently added to Asana that Flowsana doesn’t yet know about, and add them to Flowsana’s projects list. This operation is much quicker than either of the other two refresh options,and we think it’s what you’ll be able to use in the vast majority of cases.

Coming soon to Flowsana…

Just as a “preview of coming attractions,” in the next couple of weeks we’ll be rolling out two new Flowsana enhancements in response to two of the biggest requests we’ve gotten:

  1. Workback workflows:
    Currently Flowsana’s Dynamic Duration workflow operates by your setting an overall project start date, and then dates and dependencies flow forward from that. In a workback workflow, the flow is the opposite: you set an overall project end date, and everything flows backward from that. This is great for events and other projects where you need to hit a specific target date and want all task dates to be automatically calculated/shifted/updated so that you’ll always hit that target.

  2. Ability to automatically create a new project from a template:
    We’re adding a new If-Then Rule Action, Create a new project from a template. This will allow you to use any Flowsana rule condition to automate the creation of new projects. So for example, you could have a rule like: If a new task is added to the Client Master List project, create a new project called “{task name} Onboarding”, in the “Client Projects” team, based on the “New Client Onboarding Template”.

I’ll post an update here once these features are live in Flowsana.

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Hi all,

A new Flowsana update is out, featuring three big additions that a lot of people have been asking for.

Add subtasks from a template

Now you can have Flowsana automatically add a predefined set of subtasks to a task based on any available If-Then Rule condition.

How this works is that you create a task, in any project, and add a set of subtasks underneath it. This task becomes in essence a “subtask template”. (One recommended approach for organizing things is that you create a project, let’s call it “Subtask Templates”, and this project is where you house all of these “subtask template” tasks.)

You then create an If-Then Rule which defines under what condition you want this set of subtasks added to some Asana task. For example, you could say that if a new task is created in a particular project, add a certain set of subtasks to it. Or if a task is moved into a certain column (section), or if it has a given custom field set to some particular value, or gets a certain tag added to it, etc., then add a certain set of subtasks to it.

Here’s an example of such an If-Then Rule:


What this rule does is: whenever a new task is added to the “Employee Onboarding” project, that new task will automatically have added underneath of it the set of subtasks found underneath the “New employee onboarding tasks” task in the “Subtask Templates Library” project.

Note that the subtasks in your template can be fully-fleshed-out tasks; Flowsana will duplicate basically all elements of a task including description, tags, custom fields, dependencies, etc. And a given subtask can have it own subtasks, so you can nest multiple layers if needed.


Auto-create a new project from a template

Now you can have Flowsana automatically create a new project from a template, again based on any available If-Then Rule condition.

Here’s an example:


What this rule does is: Any time a task in the “Possible Flowsana Features” project is moved into the “To Implement” column, a new project is automatically created, in the “Flowsana” team, based on the “MPN Product Launch Template” template, and the new project will be named “Feature Implementation: [followed by the name of the new task which triggered this rule]”.


Workback Workflow support

Flowsana’s Dynamic Duration workflow type always allowed you to enter a project start date, from which Flowsana calculates, sets, and ongoingly maintains that project’s tasks based off of that project start date.

However, there are many projects which need to key off of a project’s end date rather than a start date. Now you can automate this type of project workflow, known as a “workback workflow”, as well!

How does it work? Simple! When putting a template under Flowsana Dynamic Duration workflow control, simply check the “This is a workback workflow” checkbox.

Then, whenever you create a new workflow project from that template, you’ll enter a project Due Date instead of a Start Date.

When you do, Flowsana will assign the last (bottom) task in the project to be due on the project Due Date that you entered. Then it will automatically calculate and set all project tasks (based on their dependencies, as with any Flowsana workflow) working backward from that project ending date.

And whenever you modify tasks in the project, their dates will always be calculated backward so as to make sure that the project is always set to finish on the designated project Due Date.

Please note that Workback Workflow support is currently in beta; you’re encouraged to give it a try and let us know how it works for you!

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Great enhancement @Phil_Seeman, will definitely solve a couple of problems with the New Prospect workflow I am having trouble with.

Regards

Jason.

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Wow very nice!

Just added to Flowsana - two new features on the Flowsana portal:

Duplicate a project's rules to another project

This has been a highly-requested feature! Flowsana now provides the ability to duplicate or copy all of a project’s rules over to another project, thus saving you the considerable time and effort of recreating the same rules in multiple projects.

It’s quite simple to use:


Ability to group your workflows

In the workflows list on the Flowsana portal, you can now drag and drop a column into a “grouping” area to group your workflows by that column. And you can have multiple levels of groupings.

Here are a few examples…

GROUPING BY TEAM:
image

GROUPING BY WORKFLOW TYPE, THEN BY PROJECT:

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I just discovered the tool a week ago and have already added quite a few flows. New flow ideas keep popping in my head throughout each day - it’s crazy! I love this tool! Brilliant! Thank you!

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Thanks so much for that great feedback, @Steven_Talbott - very happy to hear you’re loving Flowsana!

Hi Phil,

I just signed up for your free trial. What I’m trying to do is a rule based workflow where when anyone is assigned to a task from any project, that task is added to a specific project. It looks like this can’t be done with tasks from any project. It has to be tasks from a specific project, which won’t work for me. Is that right?

Thanks,
James

Hi @James_Campbell,

Correct - at present, rules are project-based only. This is not a Flowsana decision but an Asana limitation - currently Asana’s programming interface works strictly at the project level.

However, the reason I say “at present” and “currently” is that there are some changes coming from Asana which may alter this dynamic and make it possible to set workflows at a team level, for example. I can’t say more about that just now, but “watch this space”, as they say.

Hi Phil,

I just want to say that this is a fantastic addition to Asana. Great work.

I’m using the trial right now and I’m starting to create quite a lot of rule based automations. I’m wondering if there is a limit to the amount of workflows we can have and if increasing the number of workflows slows down lag time. I did notice that when I performed two operations that trigger workflows at the same time, the automations did not happen at the same time. they were about 6-7 seconds apart, almost as if it processed one them one at a time.

Thanks, @James_Campbell, that’s great to hear!

If you have multiple rules defined for one project, then that means all of those rules have to be evaluated whenever a task in that project changes (or is added). The rules do need to be evaluated one at a time as there can be potential interaction between rules. So in that sense, the more rules in a project, the more evaluation/execution time for them all. But also, it’s not that simple of an equation as there are lots of other factors influencing execution time, including but not limited to: the time it takes Asana to communicate that there was a change to Flowsana; the time it takes to record a change from an external app in an Asana task, which is not an instantaneous process; the load on the Flowsana servers at that moment; Asana’s rate limiting which limits the number of activities an external app can perform within a certain time span.

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