Reference numbers for tasks

@Asana: any info about whether there is anything on the roadmap for an auto-incrementing text Custom Field that could be used for easily and uniquely identifying Tasks?

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I need this feature as well, there’s any number of usecases where we’d like to have an easy-to-reference number for an Asana item so we can crossreference systems and eliminate communication-mistakes.

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Thank you to all for continuing this thread and not giving hope on a task ID inside the task. Well I just received an email from Zapier about an update to the Asana / Zapier integration that states:

New for Our Asana Integration: Find Tasks by ID or Name

Deborah Tennen / November 29, 2018

Asana is a crucial part of your task management, so you’ll often want to include a specific Asana task as part of your workflow. Now Zapier allows you to find Asana tasks by ID in addition to name, giving you more flexibility in your project management.

→ Automate your project management with Zapier’s Asana integrations.

So I ask you @Asana , if Zapier can find the task ID, supposedly (I didn’t try it yet), why can’t we have it as a task id in the actual task?

Please feel free to weigh in on this peeps!

Erik

It is remarkable that one would have to explain here why a unique identifier is needed at a per-task level. Yet another example of why it is bedrock necessary: If I am checking code into my source control repository, I want to be able to say, "Fix for task xxx, yyy and zzz in Asana. It should be absolutely basic functionality of any task management system to have a unique identifier that is visible and searchable.

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Exactly! Well said @neil_kessler. There has to be some obscure reason that they are dragging their heels on this enhancement.

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If anyone is interested, I’ve just used Zapier to create a pair of Zaps which provide auto-numbering for Asana tasks. There are currently two main limitations:

  1. Since Zapier doesn’t know about Asana custom fields, the auto-number can’t be put into a custom field. What my Zap does is update the task name to include the auto-number; for example:
    [2738] - Follow up with Betty Jo Bialoski
    You can format the task name and the number in really any way you’d like.

  2. When you create a new Asana task, it takes either 5 or 15 minutes (depending on the level of your Zapier subscription) to update the task so it has an auto-number.

In a nutshell, the process is to create one Zap which updates a Google Sheet when a new task is created in a certain project. That Google Sheet contains a script which adds an auto-number. Then a second Zap is triggered by the new row in the Google Sheet and it updates the task in Asana.

The reason for the 5 or 15 minute delay is that Zapier only polls Google Sheets for changes at that interval. I have a query into Zapier support to explore which of their app integrations support instant updates (like Asana does) to see if I can eliminate the delay by using something else to replace Google Sheets.

If anyone is interested, I can provide more details. It’s a bit complicated so I’d have to write up some steps.

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Hi Phil,

Have you tried to search for that 2738 as an example to get to that task in Asana?
Erik

Short answer: YES.

Longer answer: the key is to wrap the task number in a particular string - in my example I used square brackets - and then include that in your search string. So in that example I searched for [2738]

Awesome creativity!

Asana, strange that someone has to jump through that many hoops to get a feature that seems foundational.

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Erik,

I find that the best way to review a bunch of task in a meeting is to create a project about that meeting. You link in all the tasks you want to discuss ahead of time and put them in a section called Agenda.

Before the meeting, you invite your team members and they can link in any tasks they would like to discuss. You can leave conversations, etc., just like any project.

Throughout the meeting, if any new tasks are created, you can add them to a section called Action Items.

Before the meeting is over, you can make sure that all tasks are assigned to someone so they don’t fall through the cracks.

After the meeting is over, you can go through those tasks and put them in the relevant projects, assign custom field values, etc.

This is an old thread, so hopefully you got something figured out, but your use case example seemed perfect for a Meeting project.


Another way to do this would be to create a “Meeting” tag. You could then go through all the tasks you want to discuss in your meeting and tag them. Then, when the meeting starts, everyone can run a report on the tag “Meeting” and they will have the exact list of tasks to discuss.

I think each use case depends on the scope of the meeting.

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I think the main issue here is that people are thinking about Asana all wrong. They are bringing ideas with them from old paradigms. I’m not saying they are wrong, I’m just saying this different direction that Asana has chosen has caused frustration. But there are different ways of thinking when using Asana that can get you what you want if you step back and look at the problem you are really trying to solve.

In Erik_Graham’s case it was reviewing tasks in a meeting. Creating a meeting project and linking in the tasks to discuss is a very easy and well-supported way to discuss a subset of tasks. That’s one of the main reasons I love Asana (linking a task to more than one project).

Neil_Kessler’s example is a bit different. But sometimes Asana just isn’t the right tool for the job.

I’m not sure why some here chose Asana as a help desk software when there are a lot of other options that have unique IDs, but in my case, I wanted the entire company to be able to use one tool and I felt like Asana was more generic and easier to use in other departments of the company. But to do that, I understood I was giving up some things (that really weren’t that important day-to-day).

As a developer myself, I don’t want to expose my unique IDs to customers because it locks me into whatever system was generating those IDs (often it’s a database). If I want to change it later, I can’t without breaking a million external integrations that my customers created on their own. Imagine how upset you’d be if you spent a bunch of time building a system based off the Asana unique ID and then they changed it. (I would guess that’s one driving force in not making the change.)

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Hi team,

I also want to use a unique ID to refer to tasks, especially when talking to team mates in Slack, I hate that the task appears automatically with Asana - Slack integration, what I would like is say I have a ticket #123456, well I would love that by typing =123456 or ¤123456 or [123456] or whatever, Asana integration in Slack recognizes it and creates a link or maybe adds the task title, but no preview please, as it f* up conversations.

Thx

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I can’t believe Asana doesn’t feel the need to have task numbers easily configurable and displayed. Have you not worked on a task tracking system before?

Take Jira for example, they have a task number compromised of the project code, and a number. So as per Erik_Graham’s, and other examples above, an example task number would be BC-213.

I could say in a meeting “Everyone look at BC-213”, or I could ask a client who’s not explaining it to me properly, “Please give me the task number, you’ll see it in the email subject, and it will start with ‘BC-’.”
Or I could search my emails for ‘BC-213’, and quickly find all discussions pertaining to this task.
I could ask my clients and staff to include ‘BC-213’ in all correspondence, so as to avoid future confusion.

Why some some people would feel that a task id is not necessary, is beyond me. Unfortunately, this is a deal-breaker for me.

Unfortunately, further. For each of the the tracking systems I’ve tried recently (Asana, Jira, Trello), there is always some kind of silly way of doing things, or lack of a basic feature, making me not want to use the system.

I’m probably just going to create my own one on Gravity Forms, or maybe just stick to Google Sheets. Or maybe I should invest in a rival to Asana, listen to what people need, and make myself an overnight millionaire.

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Hi David,

Thanks for the support on this topic. The fight continues to get our task numbers!!

We are too far invested into Asana with thousands of tasks to go elsewhere now. Good luck in your quest!

Cheers,
Erik

Our use case goes as follows:
Asana is being used to manage development tasks. When they pick up a task from Asana they need some unique id to use as an identifier when they start making code changes based on the ticket. Task Titles tend to be too long and often contain characters that cannot be used in code branch names. The Task ID is great, except that you cannot come back to Asana and search against it.

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Hi James, that is exactly the issue for us also. We are using it to track enhancements to our software between us (support) and the developers and it is a bit of a quagmire without reference numbers.

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it’s also good for code checkins. Devs can create a git branch with the ticket no, check in and comment re: # and then the the code change reference is in the ticket. Plus what’s been said above about referencing ticket nos.

Please also note this thread: Can a Task have an automatic assigned ID number? - #10 by Zdenek_Sladek

This is to Asana Support, as this string has been going on for a long time. You now allow Custom Fields with numbers. Thank you. We are now using that for our ticket numbers that correspond to our support ticketing system.

Here is the issue. If I search for one of these numbers in the Search box on top, I get no result. The ticket number has to be in part of the ticket. Please have the search also search the Field Numbers.

Thanks,
Erik

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Sorry, to clarify, I mean the number has to be in the Task for the search to work.