Parent Task Custom Field; setting rules to change Custom Field when Subtasks are completed

We are setting up a team for an upcoming major venture that will have around 100 Parent Tasks that we need to be able to track the progress of. The tasks will all have the EXACT same set of subtasks, and we really need a Custom Field in the parent task to automatically change to a specific selection when a certain Subtask is filled out.

In our case, it’s pretty simple. The Custom Fields will have the same title as the Subtasks. When the subtask “Step 1” is marked complete, we need the Custom Field to automatically change to say “Step 2” so that we can see at a glance where all 100 of these Parent Tasks are at.

I don’t see a way to pull this off using Rules, and if it’s in Flowsana, I’ve overlooked it.

I’m going to have 10 different people (of varying degrees of computer literacy) using these tasks, so I need the solution to be as simple and automated as possible. Any suggestions?

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Yeah, I’m afraid neither Asana nor Flowsana have the ability to update a parent task based on something changing in one of its subtasks.

@Matt5 Yeah we are in the same situation for a few tasks. Atm we either ensure the person completing the subtask updates the custom field or we multi-home the subtask in the project also so
rules works (however your specific case is tricky as the update in the main task depends on specific things done on a subtask)

Here is an existing feedback request thread I recommend upvoting.

Another way would be creating a separate team, a template project where you list all the tasks (that you would have otherwise added as subtask), the stages (steps), set up dependencies and the rules you need.

Then create separate projects for all instances and use portfolio to have an overview. Not sure if that might be overdoing things if you only have a few tasks, however automating things would work then.

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I think this is an amazing idea that the Asana development team should take seriously: actions taken in a subtask could change a custom field in the parent task. We have a lot of clients asking for a feature like this to happen in Asana.

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Is there any update as to whether this feature is in the works? It seems like such an obvious function for a project management platform to have - when will it be available?

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Asana (like many of its competitors) doesn’t share a public roadmap or comment on unreleased features, so we won’t have any update unless/until it’s implemented.

Team, I just ran into this exact same issue again. I had forgotten that I asked this question. Here I am exactly 11 months later coming to Asana to ask the exact same question lol :grin: at least I’m consistent.

We are actually now at the middle stages of the major project that I mentioned above, and we are at that point where we really NEED the ability to set the Parent Task’s custom field to specific values if certain subtasks are marked complete.

I realize this would be a tricky thing to implement, so please don’t take this as a complaint but rather a slightly pushy request. I’m basically asking you to give us the ability to set a rule within a subtask that affects the Parent task’s custom field based on subtask completion status. And I know you won’t get it implemented in time for me to use it on this project, but it sure would allow us a massive time saver if we had it.

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@Matt5,

What’s tricky is: since there can be many subtasks under a parent, and you only want the rule to trigger if one specific one of those subtasks has some change to it, how would you identify which subtask the rule should apply to?

That’s the part where I admit how tricky it would be. I think to make this work, each subtask would need an “Add a rule to this subtask” capability. Just like where you can add a subtask to another project, it would be great if we could add a rule to each subtask that affected the parent task.

So, the trigger: “This Subtask Marked Complete”
The action: "Parent Task Custom Field value is set to “XYZ”.

This would be EXTREMELY helpful especially in cases where you have Task Templates that have subtasks that are a Chain-Of-Events (step 1, step 2, step 3), so that you can see all of your parent tasks in List view, with a custom field showing what step of the process each parent task is at.

I really think this would be an enormous plus.

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THIS, 100%. Any news if this request has been considered?

Asana doesn’t publish a product roadmap or comment on unreleased features so we won’t know unless/until it’s implemented.

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@Phil_Seeman You could even have the trigger be X like normal today, and the action category be “Actions to Subtasks” where the actions in the category could be “Change a field in Subtask” where you make which tasks and which field you want updated.

This answering the question of how you can know which subtask that would need to be updated. Could even have a box that would allow for “apply to all subtasks”.

@Marie @Bastien_Siebman