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Clarification needed about behavior of subtasks

migloth says:
I have observed several interesting behaviors related to subtasks and I think there should be some additional help provided to clarify how subtasks should work in these specific situations. Other users can probably identify additional cases.

1. If a parent task is repeating, every day in this case, what should happen to a subtask if it is postponed? When I postpone a subtask by some duration, say one day (tomorrow), and today I complete the parent task, even though the new parent task is due tomorrow, the subtask is now do the day after tomorrow, instead of tomorrow.

2. If I complete a repeating (every day) parent task, any subtasks that are not complete are marked as complete too. When completing a parent task with incomplete subtasks, shouldn't the incomplete subtasks be postponed until the next due date for the parent? If this is not the case, then (1) needs fixed so postponed subtasks don't get bumped further back when completing the parent task.

3. What should happen to a parent task when all the subtasks are complete? In line with most project management methodologies, the parent task should be viewed as a 'summary' task and when all subtasks are complete, the parent should be automatically marked as complete, right?
Posted at 1:09pm on November 8, 2018
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi migloth,
Thanks for your feedback here.

1. Subtasks will generate when the repeating task generates, so in your example that sounds like a task that repeats "after 1 day" (which would generate the task when you complete the current task).

If your task repeats "every day" then "tomorrow's" task would generate today, and any changes to today's wouldn't affect tomorrow's.

Either way, you may want to make any changes you want to carry over to the latest task to make sure they carry over.

2. Completing a task with subtasks is basically like saying, "I'm done with this task + its subtasks." What you may prefer for what you've described is a task like a "project" with repeating subtasks.

(Only a task or its subtasks can repeat, not both, so I hope that doesn't confuse things. :)

3. Tasks and subtasks are treated independently, so a task would not be automatically completed when it has no incomplete subtasks. You can complete it at that point, of course.

Hope this helps but let me know if you have any other questions!
Posted 2 years ago
migloth says:
Alright, I think I understand. I still am not quite sure about how postponing subtasks should work.

If I have a repeating (e.g. every day, or after a day) task with subtasks, how does one go about postponing one of those subtasks so it shows up as due tomorrow, under tomorrow's parent task? Everything I've tried results in the subtask being due the day after tomorrow.
Posted 2 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
The same behavior happens there: subtasks will be generated with the repeating task, and they will be offset. So, for example, if you have a daily task with a series of steps as subtasks (also due today) and complete the subtasks and/or task, tomorrow's task will have subtasks due tomorrow.

However, if you postpone the subtasks before the next task generates, the subtasks will be generated in the same way: if the task is due today but the subtasks are due tomorrow, the next task will have subtasks due one day later as well when it generates.

Ultimately for a daily task you may want to keep the subtasks due on the same day and/or have no due dates, and use the parent task's due date to keep up with it. Whatever works, of course, but that may be a simpler way to keep track of what's happening is my thought.

Hope this helps!
Posted 2 years ago
migloth says:
If I follow what you say correctly, and based on experiments I've done with parent-/sub-tasks, there seems to be no efficient & effective means for postponing a sub-task to tomorrow so it stays due tomorrow when the next parent generates. The only means I have discovered is to manually adjust due-dates. That does not seem to be a very efficient UX.

Any method I try either winds up having the postponed sub-task due the day after tomorrow when the parent task is generated, or I complete the parent task, which regenerates all the sub-tasks correctly but also results in any incomplete sub-tasks also being completed, instead of being postponed.

There seems to be a conflict in the design...
If all sub-tasks are complete, the parent still needs to be explicitly completed, however...
If a parent is completed before marking all the sub-tasks complete, even those that aren't marked complete explicitly are still completed by completing the parent.

So, I ask this: can you walk through a scenario you yourself have tested where a sub-task is postponed to the next day while the parent is completed today. Or are you just telling me that can't happen without manual twiddling of due-dates?
Posted 2 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi migloth,
It sounds like you have an "ongoing" task with a series of subtasks that go with it? For that a repeating task may not be ideal.

The scenario that comes to mind is a weekly report, due every Friday. So the task is due Friday, and repeats "every Friday".

But there are subtasks that go with the report task, of course! I have to complete the TPS reports first on Tuesday, I have a few things to wrap up after Wednesday's meeting, and I have to collate on Friday morning.

So my task is due Friday, and I have a subtask each for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00.

Then, when I complete my weekly report task on Friday, I'm signifying that everything underneath is completed.

And my report task for next Friday is generated, with each of the requisite subtasks on the respective days too.

Hopefully that helps for your scenario, but let me know if you want to discuss more specifics of what you're trying to do, since that sounds a bit different.
Posted 2 years ago
migloth says:
I see what you're getting at, but that doesn't match my particular use-case. The parent tasks aren't on-going, but are daily repeating, and are used to group some routine sub-tasks. Maybe I should have explained it this way...

I am a system administrator and have a lot of one-off tasks/requests I deal with during the day which I like to track as normal/top-level RTM tasks.

I also have a lot of routine administrative tasks to perform at the start and end of each day; I want to group the routine tasks up under parent tasks to avoid my list getting too cluttered, e.g. Routine AM, and Routine PM would both be daily repeating parent tasks.

These Routine tasks (and by extension, the sub-tasks) need to repeat every day, but sometimes a sub-task doesn't need performed and should be postponed.

Say I have Parent Task A which repeats daily at 8am.
Parent Task A contains 3 sub-tasks; ST-1, ST-2, ST-3.
Today, I complete ST-1 and ST-3, but ST-2 doesn't need performed so I want to postpone it. But I also need to mark Parent Task A complete so it regenerates tomorrow morning with all three sub-tasks.

I prefer to postpone routine sub-tasks I don't complete on a given day because that lets me accurately track what routine tasks are actually being performed instead of just checking off the parent Routine AM/PM task and letting it mark all the sub-tasks complete.

Do you see what I'm trying to do? Can RTM handle this sort of use-case?
Posted 2 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi migloth,
Thanks for describing what you are looking for.

In that case it sounds like you have separate tasks, so you may prefer to group those together with tags or in a list.

The way I would approach this is with a repeating task to check the tag for tasks, and then have those hidden from view with a lower priority or by date/time (later in the day, for example).

Keeping with tasks and subtasks though, what may be easier still is just to complete any of the subtasks if you don't want to see them today, and then they will be available tomorrow.

(I'm not sure if those would be trackable the way you want, because once you complete the routine task, the subtasks would automatically be completed as well.)

Hope this helps a bit, but I'm afraid I've just stirred the pot a bit more… so keep me posted on what you find!
Posted 2 years ago
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