Increment a counter (number field)

I have an ongoing process project where each task represents a request with a number of subtasks representing the actual work (“tasks”, if you will) required to close that request. These subtasks include multiple rounds of reviews, which can get visually daunting for some of our users.

I was hoping to condense these review cycles down to a singular approval task that gets toggled between approval statuses after each round of review/revision until there are no changes requested. The issue I’m facing is that I also want to keep track of how many review rounds happened. My thought was to create a custom number field that increments each time the approval status changes to “Pending Approval”, but it appears there aren’t any rule actions for custom number fields.

Does anyone have any better solutions or workarounds for this that don’t involve using 3rd-party apps (my org is very strict on data security, so I can only use native functionality)?

Have you considered using a single-select custom field instead? The drop-down options could then be numbers in your case.


In addition to @Andrea_Mayer’s suggestion, here’s one that can be automated (perhaps):

You could use a rule with the trigger as you describe, but the action could be to add a subtask where in the rule action you set the subtask you default the custom number field to 1. The accumulation of those subtasks are the total number of rounds.

You might be able to hack the use of Actual Time (instead of a number field) because it will accumulate the subtasks total in the parent task, but that’s definitely a hack!



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Thank you both for the replies!

@Andrea_Mayer - I had considered this option, but I’m hoping to go a different direction for 2 reasons:

  1. If we get over 5 rounds (very possible), we’d need multiple rules to govern the increments (assuming your thought is: when approval status changes to pending approval, if counter is {1,2,3,4,5,etc.}, change counter to {2,3,4,5,6,etc.}). This isn’t a huge deal, but it does get a bit clunky.
  2. If we want to do any kind of reporting on # of rounds, it’s slightly inelegant to have to add a bunch of different options (e.g., 3+ rounds is 3,4,5,6,etc. instead of just rounds >= 3).

@lpb - this is an interesting option that I hadn’t thought of. I’m hoping to use subtasks for the revision follow-ups on the approval, so that would dovetail nicely. That said, is there a way to roll up numbers in subtasks to their parent? I know this is possible at the section level, but haven’t been able to figure it out at the task level instead.

Only as I mentioned with time tracking field as seen here:

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Ah wow, had no idea about this behavior! Although it feels a bit clunky for this use case and I’ll probably have to use a single-select, I can definitely envision this being useful in the future.

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