Mark subtasks complete when completing parent task

I recently found hundreds of ghost tasks in our Asana account, which turned out to be mostly subtasks of completed tasks. I was able to clean them out (I think), but it left me wondering why they were there. I personally would consider it more intuitive if subtasks were automatically marked complete when completing the parent task — with maybe some kind of notification to make sure the user knows what happened. (“Congratulations! You just completed 15 subtasks with that click!”) … Certainly in my case at least, none of those subtasks will ever see the light of day after the parent task is marked done, so there is no reason to have them floating around.

This is similar to an existing request (Mark all subtasks complete before allowing tasks to be marked complete) but with a different angle. That request is to prevent (or disallow) completing the parent task until all the subtasks are marked complete. Which is one way to do it. Whereas I’m proposing allowing the user to complete all the subtasks by completing the parent task.

Perhaps a confirmation with more explicit details, instead of a notification would be better. For example: “Completing this task will also mark the following tasks as complete: {and list them} … Are you sure you want to do this?”

This would help prevent the situation where a person doesn’t realize there were subtasks before they clicked the parent task ‘Mark Complete’ button, and then doesn’t know which subtasks still needed to be done.

It would also be good to log the change in the activity field for that task: “[User] marked task complete, which also marked these subtasks as complete: [list them].”

1 Like

I agree there needs to be a better system. Maybe:
Completing parent task after completing all subtasks requires no additional action
Completing parent task before completing subtasks prompts the user to do one of several things:
a. “complete subtasks with completion of parent task”
b. “do nothing to subtasks”
c. “turn subtasks into individual parent tasks”
d. “move subtasks to different parent task”

No reason we can’t have several options available.

3 Likes

I love the idea here of having different options for subtask handling. In my own workflows, I have different use cases for each. For example, sometimes the parent tasks deserves completion — it is really “done” — but I actually have open subtasks inside of it, with due dates in the future. These are follow-up items on the main task. Now, that may be confusing or not ideal for other reasons, but now that I’ve adapted to Asana’s (odd) logic of keeping open subtasks open, I’ve been taking advantage when appropriate.

I like the options suggested by @Carl_Haggard - a simple pop-up message when closing out a parent task that still has incomplete subtasks would work. So would a Global setting where Admin could choose whether or not to allow a parent task to be marked complete with incomplete subtasks or whether or not doing so should automatically mark subtasks complete.

Overall, I’d like to see some improvements to subtasks and their relationship to the parent task and project within they live (visibility on boards / timeline, for example).

A little off topic… but it would also be nice for repeating parent tasks with subtasks if the due date for those automatically generated subtasks could be dependent on the due date for the task. Right now if you have task set to repeat with subtasks, the due date is remembered for all subtasks, as is assignee, which is helpful, but it’d be better if it was set to be relative to the new parent task due date. For example, I have a parent task that needs to be repeated every month on the 15th and there are 2-3 subtasks that need to be done prior to then each with variable due dates ‘X’ days before the parent task would be due. I know I can set subtasks to repeat, but they repeat in the current task not the newly created task that is automatically generated when the parent task completes. The due dates for those subtasks should always relative to the parent task when the parent task is set to repeat - basically looking for templates but for tasks.

5 Likes

Totally agree with everything @Ben_Brenner mentioned (re: relative child subtask due dates as well).

I just want to stop all of these orphaned subtasks from cropping up, a simple popup message when marking parent task complete would immediately resolve that issue.

Pretty sure that Asana is working on a subtask redesign? At least I think? Pretty sure I saw some mention of it in the community here.

Fingers crossed that this gets addressed! Currently my main complaint with subtasks.