Flowsana: workflow automation for your Asana projects

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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