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Display most recent Task Update in a Calculated Field

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Level 2

Hello! Is it possible to display the most recent user Update in a calculated field? Here is a typical example from my org: User A makes a task Update ("files are ready for client review. Here is the link to folder xyz") then completes her task. User B is then prompted to start his task and needs visibility into User A's update. I'd like to be able to display User A's update in a calculated field that populates on User B's Work List so he doesn't have to navigate back to User A's task to read her last Update. Thoughts? 

1 Accepted Solution

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Correct answer by
Level 10

 

Hi @JulieCh3,

 

Assuming the relationship between Task A and Task B is consistent (e.g. A is the predecessor of B), yes, I believe it is then technically possible to "reach back" from Task B (e.g. by iterating its predecessors Tasks), the "pulling" the Last Note Note Text (e.g. entered by User A on Task A), saving User B the trouble of looking it up.

 

However, would recommend against it, for a few reasons:

 

  • such an iteration would be quite "expensive" (slow, inefficient), and could require you to prompt and/or filter your report drastically in order to keep the performance acceptable
  • the likelihood of the connection between Task A and Task B seems tenuous
  • the possibility of an additional update to Task A then "bumping" the entry of interest by User A makes the exercise quite fragile, and could lead to frustration for User B

Similar to @skyehansen, I suspect it would be more useful to provide and train Users with tools and skills to retrieve and review the updates with proper context.

 

Regards,

Doug 

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5 Replies

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Community Advisor

I know this is probably not what you were looking for, however, our project users have trained each other to read the entire conversation at the project level. (task updates cascade up to the project, so the one-size-fits-all solution is to scroll through updates there, to figure out what is going on) 

 

It's one of the reasons that I constantly ask for improvements on the Home experience that give us the ability to reference Project material [cc: @JessicaShayanPM ]

 

Edited to add: the link to folder XYZ should be a custom field at the project level custom form, for similar reasons.

 

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Avatar

Correct answer by
Level 10

 

Hi @JulieCh3,

 

Assuming the relationship between Task A and Task B is consistent (e.g. A is the predecessor of B), yes, I believe it is then technically possible to "reach back" from Task B (e.g. by iterating its predecessors Tasks), the "pulling" the Last Note Note Text (e.g. entered by User A on Task A), saving User B the trouble of looking it up.

 

However, would recommend against it, for a few reasons:

 

  • such an iteration would be quite "expensive" (slow, inefficient), and could require you to prompt and/or filter your report drastically in order to keep the performance acceptable
  • the likelihood of the connection between Task A and Task B seems tenuous
  • the possibility of an additional update to Task A then "bumping" the entry of interest by User A makes the exercise quite fragile, and could lead to frustration for User B

Similar to @skyehansen, I suspect it would be more useful to provide and train Users with tools and skills to retrieve and review the updates with proper context.

 

Regards,

Doug 

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Community Advisor

You could have a task report of tasks assigned to these A/B/etc users grouped by project, with a column for Last Note (last update comment on the task)? My first thought though is when user A is done and marking task complete, wouldn't it be best for A to tag B in the update as a handoff/awareness to B that B can begin?

If this helped you, please mark correct to help others : )

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Level 2

Thank you! I should have mentioned, these users' default log in page is the "Home and Summary" (the out-of-the box WF home page). I wanted to add a field to that page that displays the predecessor task's last Update. However, to Doug's point, users may miss important info/lose context from an earlier update. Maybe it makes more sense to display a hyperlink to the predecessor task on that page? Currently we train them to click on the connector icon after the task name that allows users to navigate to the predecessor task. Which works fine, but I'd like to reduce # of clicks to get information. 

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Employee Advisor

I agree with @Madalyn_Destafney in that tagging the user in the comment or creating a report to include Last Note > Note Text would probably help surface these updates and let user B know to start.

Another thing to consider would be predecessors - if task B cannot start until task A has been completed, you can apply an enforced predecessor relationship on that task. There is an email notification that can be activated in the Setup area for "All Predecessor Task Completion to Task Dependents" that when turned on, will email users letting them know the predecessor task (Task A) has been completed, which would avoid having to dig through the update stream.