Make Easy rules that "Match Custom Field to Section"

We have found a very useful strategy for keeping our tasks organized but it’s really, REALLY tedious to set up. I would LOVE for Asana to give us a 1-click toggle that says “Use Section Names for Custom Field and keep them synchronized”

Here’s what we do.

Each project has “Sections” like all projects do. We create a Custom Field that is a single-select (ie, a dropdown menu). The entries in this Single-Select are Pixel-perfect the exact same words as the Sections in the project.

We then set rules such that any task with that custom field entry changed, the task moves automatically to the section that corresponds to that custom field. Also, vice versa, since sometimes users will find it more helpful to manually drag a task from one spot to another.

This keeps the Custom Field always set to the exact same value as the Section it’s sitting in.

Why do we do this?

On several of our projects (containing HUNDREDS of tasks), doing things this way gives us EXCELLENT visual control in List View. We can also make use of color-coding via the Custom Field.

Plus, many of these tasks are multi-homed in other projects where that Custom Field value will get changed by another user, which will automatically move a task to the corresponding Section in any project that has the rules set up for such.

Furthermore, there are times where we might need to re-home a task into another project. By choosing the correct section, the custom field is automatically adjusted.

There are about a dozen projects we are doing this with, and it has been absolutely wonderful.

Just, incredibly tedious to set up those rules.

Hi @Matt5,

In the list view, you can “Group by” any custom field. Is there a reason that doesn’t give you the basic functionality you’re wanting?

Yes, because you don’t get the nice visual header. Also, the visual header (the “section name”) can be worded in a way that further explains the custom field setting.

For example you could have the custom field entry say “Approved with issues” for the sake of brevity, but the section header can be quite long, it could say “Approved with issues to be solved after XYZ, but before ABC”

@Matt5 - I don’t think I’m following. If you group by a custom field, the headers become the field options, so if you have a “Status” field with the options [“Pending”, “Approved”, and “Approved with issues”], following Phil’s suggestion would give you a header for each of these.

If you want to provide a more descriptive header name (as I think you’re suggesting in your second paragraph?), this would no longer be mirroring field options directly to a section name as requested in your first post. Am I misunderstanding the ask?

Stephen, I may need to learn how to use the “group by” feature, so thank you for that.

Now, in partial answer to why I do things like this, here’s a screenshot of one of the SMALLER projects where we use this scheme. It keeps things very visually neat and organized. Regardless of whether someone moves something manually, or they change the custom field, everything stays organized. However it’s possible the “group by” feature will do the trick also.

Stephen, I’ll mark your suggestion as the solution because it technically does give me exactly what I’m asking for.

@Matt5 - gotcha, when grouping by a field, dragging tasks around does actually change that field’s value (e.g., if you drag a task from “Incoming” to “Need more info”, it will also update the status field). What you do lose though is that convenient up/down arrow that helps move tasks between true sections. IMO, that’s not a huge loss, but something to note.

Personally, I think the group by feature could replace sections for your use case altogether, since it prevents you from either having to maintain a rule mapping sections to field values or manually updating fields/sections in tandem.

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Not to pick nits but actually, grouping by a custom field was my suggestion. :wink:

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