Parent Task Status

subtasks
tasks

#1

We’ve been settling in well to Asana, but have been quite astonished to discover two features:

  • a parent task can be set to “Completed” even if it contains “Incomplete” sub-tasks
  • the Status (Not Started, WIP, etc) of a parent task cannot be auto-set by the overall status of it’s sub-tasks (e.g. if three sub-tasks, two are On Track and one is Failed, then would expect parent task to flag as Failed)

Both these issues make overall project management much less transparent

Have we mis-understood the feature-set, are there plans to correct this, or do you disagree with the methodology expectations?


#2

Hi @Eskil

Asana doesn’t automatically do these things at the moment, but a useful workaround might be to use tags or a drop-down custom field to mark tasks as Failed, On-Track, Not Started, etc. This would also allow you to run a search for all failed tasks or subtasks and get an overview of what hasn’t progressed.

It’s not automatic, but only takes a couple of extra clicks.


#3

a parent task can be set to “Completed” even if it contains “Incomplete” sub-tasks

That’s correct. My understanding is that this is to the overall task assignee can check all subtasks and in a sense “sign off” on the overall task. If Asana were to auto-mark as complete, it could cause issues is the subtasks weren’t completed to the right standard and there is still work to be done.

the Status (Not Started, WIP, etc) of a parent task cannot be auto-set by the overall status of it’s sub-tasks (e.g. if three sub-tasks, two are On Track and one is Failed, then would expect parent task to flag as Failed)

These custom fields have to be manually updated. Similar to before, this is so that the assignee can set the status based on how they see the task progressing (“failed” could have different meanings for different people).

To be honest, I don’t see these features being changed in the future.


#4

Hi Mark

Thanks for the prompt reply. A useful workaround, thanks. I think overall, the parent-sub task model doesn’t feel entirely thought through.

Thanks!


#5

Hi Paul

Thanks for your reply. Please note that I was not seeking any task to auto-complete. I agree that would be unnecessary and perhaps problematic.

My concern is that a parent task can be completed even though one of it’s sub-tasks is still pending. To me that seems quite wrong.

I think overall, in line with my reply to Mark, the whole model seems a little half-baked.

What really is the role of a “parent” task, in relation to it’s sub-tasks?

Surely a parent role is precisely to monitor and represent the overall status of children items. If a child item is incomplete, why would the parent claim to be complete?

Best regards
Eskil.