Rules and Subtasks

Hi - I understand that subtasks aren’t part of a project so rules from a task don’t apply to them, however…

We use rules in this way.

For onboarding new customers, we create a dedicated project. The project contains tasks, and then we break down the tasks into parts as subtasks under the task.

We have rules that when a customer creates a new task or adds a comment on a task it adds that task into a completely separate project called “Unanswered Questions”. This way, our support and onboarding team has a quick place to see ALL tasks that have been updated or added as opposed to having to go into every single project separately. When they are done answering the question or updating info, they remove it from the “Unanswered Questions” project.

This breaks down when a customer adds a subtask or comments on a subtask. We’d also like these to be automatically added to the “Unanswered Questions” project.

Is there a way to do this?

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Hi,

Because subtasks are not part of the project (you said it right), Rules “on a project” can’t apply to them. Otherwise Asana will have to contradict themselves and create specific code. Your only chance is that subtasks are added to a project (or THE project) as well as being a subtask. But I always advise against this kind of solution because it is hard to understand, and you usually forget to multi-home the subtasks…

If the client is allowed to create subtasks, he will never think about multi-homing them…

Hi @Chris_Labatt-Simon :wave:t3:

Have you considered using Sections + Tasks instead to break up your project, instead of Tasks + Subtasks? That would allow you to keep the same workflow and to fully leverage Rules!

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We already use sections…

We’re in e-commerce software, so as an example…

  • The section header might be Marketplaces.
  • The task might be eBay.
  • There may be 10-15 subtasks including authorizing ebay, syncing ebay data, testing ebay listing, etc.

And…

  • Another section header might be Automations.
  • The task might be the name of a distributor.
  • There will be multiple subtasks including build automation, test automation, launch automation, etc.

I understand that subtasks are NOT part of the project, but I can’t say I understand WHY Asana made this decision. Jira and numerous other platforms have subtasks and they are all part of the project the task belongs to. It seems quite odd and unfortunate.

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Here’s my suggestion. Move the client relationship up to the team level and use tasks instead of sub-task. The sub-task can then be used for the detailed actions taken to solve the issue. Ask you clients to submit a form instead of creating a task. Write your form so that it is directed to the right process using the rules. Sub-tasks are a danger zone when relying on process or reporting.

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With the recent update to subtasks in mind – is there a possibility that rules will work with subtasks in the (near) future?

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Hi there Marie. I’m looking at a similar problem. Can you describe more fully what you are suggesting here? I can’t quite wrap my head around it.

Hi @greer :wave:t3:

No worries, I’m happy to develop a little on this!

Rules currently don’t work with subtasks because subtasks don’t automatically ineharate their parent task attributes (and their project more specifically). Instead of using a Task > Subtask hierachy, I was recommending to use a Section > Task hierarchy (with Section replacing the task level, and tasks acting up as subtasks). This is just a workaround to be able to leverage Rules in a workflow that involves multiple actions to complete a single task. Again, this was just a workaround to explore, not a direct solution to the problem exposed by Chris!

I hope this helps to clear things up but let me know if you have any follwo-up questions!

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That makes lots of sense, got it, thanks!

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But couldn’t you add the ability for some rules with subtasks? Like add to a project on creation or new comment?

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Hi @Chris_Labatt-Simon, it’s currently not possible due to technical constraints, but definitely something we’re keeping in mind for future improvements!

I support the idea of @Chris_Labatt-Simon. This ability would be very useful.

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This would be a nice feature to be able to automatically add subtasks to a task created in a specific project.
However this would be unecessary if it were possible to create a task from a template. This template could then have the desired “standard” subtasks.
My perspective is in mechanical design and I have a task to design a machine. There are certain things that need to be checked before I send the machine off to manufacturing regardless of which machine it is. It would be nice if I could have this “checklist” to be generated automatically when I start this task.

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Hi Oskar,

FYI this is available via the If-Then Rules feature of my Flowsana integration.

If

I 100% understand that some rules shouldn’t/can’t be applied to to subtasks. But at the very least, the “Status Changed -->Complete Task” and “Completed task–>Status Changed” Rule should be made available to subtasks. Minimizing the steps my team has to take make sure “all the boxes are checked” would be incredibly helpful.

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I agree with @Chris_Labatt-Simon and @Marko, this would be a very useful feature. Currently, the status of a each task within our projects is dependent on certain sub-tasks being completed. So having a rule that would update that status every time a sub-task is completed would be so helpful as we are doing that manually right now.