Requesting changes on an approval task incorrectly unblocks a dependent task

When I change the approval status of a task to “changes requested”, the dependent task incorrectly becomes unblocked and shows the approval task as having been completed.

This issue was brought up in 2020, and several others noted having similar issues, but the topic was closed in 2021 with no resolution. I was not allowed to create a topic linking the previous discussion.

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I should mention I am using Chrome version 113.0.5672.93, and we are on the Business Tier.

Hi @anon52060281, sorry for the trouble. I’ve reached out to our Developers again asking for more information and will get back to you as soon as possible!

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@Vanessa_N,

I’m almost 100% sure this is expected behavior.

But I’d like to hear how developers or product team would use dependent + approval tasks that don’t fall prey to this problem for something like this:

  • Create outline
    • Approve outline [approval subtask]
  • Write report [blocked by Create outline]

The above is a partial solution; if you add dependencies for the first two items it will break as @anon52060281 indicates.

Is the recommendation to not use dependencies but instead use a custom field and rules to treat this as more of a pipeline workflow?

Thanks,

Larry

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Please be advised that the same thing happens if the Approval is marked “Rejected”… Dependent Tasks unlock.

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No offense intended, but that functionality seems non-ideal.

Tasks dependent on an Approval should not unlock if the approval is dispositioned as “Request Changes” or “Rejected”.

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I am using the Desktop Application on Windows 11 - Business Tier.

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I find it unexpected that if an approval task is marked rejected or has changes requested, the project proceeds as if it were approved.

As it is, the approval behaves exactly the same as checking a task complete. I’m left wondering what the purpose of that approval function in Asana is.

I had initially expect rejected approvals would hold up the project and return whatever task’s product was being reviewed to an unchecked state, but that functionality seems to be absent. It’s really just different colored icons that mean the same thing as task completed.

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Approvals generally function better as subtasks of the work task they are approving. When seen in that context, which was how Asana envisioned them I believe, they can track multiple peoples’ approval, or multiple stages of approval, and it’s not consequential that they are seen as complete.

I don’t think they function well with dependencies, but anxious to hear back to my question above in:

Larry

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Hi Larry, our developers have confirmed that this is the current behavior, and there’s no change planned in the short term. But they’ve noted all the feedback I forwarded. I’ve asked if they have any tips /workarounds to share and will let you know once I hear back :slight_smile:

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I really hope the dev team adds this feature, as it has the potential to be a great tool. As it is now, approvals cannot work with dependencies at all, and that drastically reduces any benefit to the approval feature. We will now have to create a custom column (with the approval/request changes/reject status) with rules to generate additional tasks/subtasks based on the column status.

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I would echo Larry approvals work better as subtasks - you can still have dependencies so the main task can be blocked by the approval subtask for instance @anon52060281

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Unfortunately, Even as subtasks, any dependencies relying upon the Approval become unlocked if “Request Changes” or “Rejected” are chosen. It seems that Approvals are non-compatible with dependencies, and unfortunately, that’s not how it works in the business world.

In our company, many documents and drawings are created and collected to become the Submittal. The CLIENT must Approve this submittal before any other actions can be taken. If the client requests changes or rejects the submittal outright, the team must go back to the drawing board and get the client what they want.

The Submittal Approval blocks the Approved Submittal Review, Permitting Application, and Update of the Customer Schedule.

To get around this lack of functionality, I’m creating a Custom Field called “Approval Status”. The options are “Approved”, “Request Changes” and “Rejected”. I’ve created a rule that creates a subtask if “Request Changes” or “Rejected” are chosen. I’m also changing any Approvals to regular tasks to protect the dependencies from inadvertently unlocking.

Is this the recommended course of action, or is there a better way to do this?

Thank you for your consideration.

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Hi everyone, thank you for your feedback regarding approvals. I’m still waiting for a reply from our Developers, but I’ll keep you posted.

@Christopher_Ayers, using custom fields and rules seems to be a good workaround here, but if I get any additional insights or workarounds from the team I’ll share with you!

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Hello Larry,

Thanks for working with me on these Approvals with Dependencies. I’ve attempted to run it the way that you have indicated.

When the task “Create Outline” is marked completed to trigger the approval, the task “Write Report” unlocks prior to the Approval being dispositioned.

I wanted to explore your recommended solution before I added another column to our template, but… I’m probably going to have account for this on my own.

Thank you for your ideas regarding this problem. Our team at Data Flow Systems really hopes that Asana Devs address this. It doesn’t seem like a difficult fix.

Kind Regards,

Christopher Ayers

@Christopher_Ayers,

I don’t actually have a recommended solution with dependencies. What you showed is from my post:

in which I ask Asana how they intend this to work, and indicate that it breaks with dependencies added.

The only automation I know of would be with custom fields and rules, not dependencies, as specified before.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks,

Larry

Sorry for necroposting, I just watn to leave same feedback about Approval and dependencies.
It’s 2024, and all works as before.
And we (I and my teammates) think the same way - it is counterintuitive. Status “Rejected” unblock following tasks, and it is soooo strange.

Vanessa_N wrote that behaviour is current and isn’t planned to change. So my post - is another feedback about how some of Asana users need this behaviour.

I dont think I need to explain how we work woth Approvals; it’s all the same - I need next task be blocked until I set Status “Approve”.

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