UPDATE: Since we wrote this post a few years back you can now add dependencies and have infinite levels of sub-tasks. But first, you need to opt in to the new updated version of Teamwork Projects. Watch this video to see how you can enable the latest version of Teamwork Projects.

This month our headline feature, as with Gantt charts (released last month), is something which has been requested time and time again. Throughout the development of this feature we could see where it would come in handy. Before Sub-tasks, you could create a similar structure of tasks using dependencies, but this structure wasn’t easily recognizable on the page. Sub-tasks helps you break your tasks into smaller chunks; and, as Henry Ford once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”

How Sub-tasks work

Creating a Sub-task is easy. Simply click the Add sub-tasks icon highlighted in the screenshot below.

Introducing Sub Tasks | Teamwork Projects

Now give the task a name and click “Add sub-task”. Optionally you can click More which brings up the usual task form allowing you to specify more options.

Introducing Sub Tasks | Teamwork Projects

After adding the sub-task, it will be displayed the same as any other task except that it will be slightly indented. The check box of the sub-task’s parent task changes into a button showing the number of active sub-tasks it contains. Clicking it will hide/show its sub-tasks.

Introducing Sub Tasks | Teamwork Projects

Another way to create sub-tasks is to click the new “Add sub-tasks…” button when you are adding a standard task; this will add the task and allow you to start adding sub-tasks immediately.

Introducing Sub Tasks | Teamwork Projects

The parent task cannot be completed until all of its sub-tasks are finished.  Remember that you still need to mark the parent complete. As you complete each sub-task, the icon beside the parent task will count-down  the number of sub-tasks remaining.

Sub-tasks do have a few limitations: you cannot specify their privacy, add dependencies or make them repeat. You can, however, make the parent task repeat, which will recreate its sub-tasks. As expected, each sub-task inherits the privacy of its parent task or task list.

UPDATE: Since we wrote this post a few years back you can now add dependencies and have infinite levels of sub-tasks!

Sub-tasks for iPad

We’ve updated the iPad app to give you clean and simple access to the new Sub-tasks feature – it’ll be available in the App Store in the next few days.  Until then, you can work away as normal with any of the existing Teamwork Apps and scripts: sub-tasks simply appear as normal tasks in those legacy tools.  However, to whet your appetite, here’s an inside peek at what the updated iPad App will look like!

Sub-tasks for iPad | Teamwork Projects

Sub-tasks fit in nicely with the existing flow of the app.  On the task lists panel, the check-box is replaced with a sub-task count – so there’s no way to accidentally mark a bunch of sub-tasks complete with a stray tap!  Go to any task that has some sub-tasks and you’ll find that they’re grouped into their own section – hidden away until you need them.  Tapping on the sub-tasks section expands it out to a simple list detailing the sub-task title and the person assigned to it.  From here you can either mark the sub-task as complete or, if you tap on the row, view all of the details.  To create a new sub-task, hit the “Add sub-task” button: the familiar “Add Task” form will appear with a number of the fields pre-filled using information from the parent task. Making it quick and easy to add one or a number of sub-tasks.

The other place that you’ll find sub-tasks is in the All Tasks panel.  Here both tasks and sub-tasks that match the chosen filter are displayed.  So “Today” for example, shows both tasks and sub-tasks due today.  Behind the scenes we take care of automatically updating tasks and sub-tasks so you don’t have to think about them in any different way – just work through your day’s tasks.

As mentioned above, the app has been already been submitted to Apple and we’re just waiting for it to go through their review process.  This usually takes about a week, so expect the update to be hitting the App Store in the next couple of days.  Don’t forget, if you want immediate notification, just follow us on Twitter @TeamworkPM and we’ll tweet as soon as the App goes live.

Conclusion

We are delighted to finally add Sub-tasks to the TeamworkPM feature-set. As with all new features, we’ve tried to implement this feature in a way that doesn’t clutter the interface but is just a click away when you need it.

We could have taken the easy path and implemented sub-tasks as just some sort of task description (as a few of our competitors do). However, we could think of many real business scenarios where having sub-tasks work like “real” tasks would be extremely useful; sub-tasks can be searched for, have files attached, have comments, be delegated to others and so on; they also show up on the “overdue” and “today” sections when they should. It was a lot more work but it was the right thing to do.

It’s live in your account right now!

We hope you are going to love breaking your daunting tasks into bite-sized chunks and that this will make you even more productive. As always, thanks for using TeamworkPM!