How to apply categorization to Projects and Tasks

I have been trying to figure out the best way to "categorize" my projects and tasks according to size/impact.  We have 3 classification levels that I wanted to apply to everything, and at first I thought it would be great to have these 3 categories show up as different colors on the Timeline view.  So I created a custom workflow to add 3 "active" statuses that represent these categories.  However, then I saw there are two issues with this... when a task goes overdue, it turns red and you lose the color coding, and when you complete a task, you completely lose the categorization.

So, I moved away from this and am now looking at using custom fields to "categorize" projects/tasks.  I seem to lose the color coding, but at least I can still sort/filter to create views of my categorized timelines.  It brought up 2 questions that I'd like to ask:

1) When you want to apply a custom field value to all tasks in a project, is there a way to apply it in mass/bulk, or perhaps you can just set it at the project or parent level and it will apply to all sub-tasks?  I did not see the ability to do this in the Mass Editing tutorial.

2) Is there any way to have color coding in Table or Timeline view based on a category?  

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Anastasia

Hi Jeni!

Thank you for bringing this up, categorization is definitely important to be able to easily track data items. I'll be happy to find a solution that will work for you, and since there are multiple ways to organize data, it would be really helpful to hear about your goals when setting up this classification. Do all tasks in a given Project have the same classification level?

I also wanted to share a little tip which helps with color coding tasks by their Custom Statuses. In the top right corner of the Timeline, there is an "Overdue color" checkbox, which allows you to view the original status colors of overdue tasks:

 

About mass editing, it currently isn't available on the Custom Field level. This is a great idea though, and I've passed it on to the rest of the team.

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Hi Anastasia,

The overdue color button is helpful, thanks!  This addresses the first issue but the completed tasks still lose their classification data, correct?  If so, I'm still thinking I will not try and combine the task classification/size data with workflow status.  I have currently created a custom field for "Class" and have populated it with my size/classification data.  Is there a way to color code based on a custom field?

Regarding your question - no, all tasks within a project will not always have the same class.  Sometimes we classify at the task level, other times we classify at the project level.

 

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Anastasia

Jeni, thank you for the details! While Custom Fields don't carry the color attribute, I do have a few suggestions for categorization:

  1. To classify and color code on the Project level, you can use one of the Project statuses. For example, green = low priority, red = high priority. These colors will be shown on the Project level in the Timeline view.
  2. Another way to color code Folders and Projects is by right clicking on them in the left hand navigation panel and selecting a color. This color will be shown on the Table View, as well as any location where the Folder tag shows up.
  3. To categorize on the task level, you can also use Folder tags. To do this, you can create three folders - one for each level of classification. Tasks which correspond to a certain level can be tagged with that Folder (while remaining in their current Project too). By opening up one of these Folders, you will be able to see all tasks from all Projects which have this level. You can also use search commands to filter out tasks in a Project which have a certain tag. To do this, open the Project, type "in:folder name" in the search bar at the top of the workspace, and then select "Search in current folder". This will show you a List, Table or Timeline view with tasks containing both attributes.
  4. Your idea of using Custom Fields for classification is great! The main benefit of it is easy filtering and reporting. If you use templates for similar Projects, I recommend duplicating them and checking the "With custom field values" option, this will save you time since you won't need to enter the data each time:

I hope this will be helpful!

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Tagging is definitely helpful... thanks.  I use tagging frequently to create quick "filtered" views that people can click on as a separate categorized folder.  It works great as a tool for very defined categories, and allows people to slice a project in multiple ways to look at performance of a subset of projects or tasks of a specific category.  It's also easier because I see you can apply the tag at the project level, and it will pull over all the tasks and subtasks.  With custom fields, I was having to apply the custom field value to all tasks in order for it to filter properly.

I would love to be able to only use tagging and not bother with custom fields, but there is 1 issue that is preventing me from migrating everything to "tags":  You cannot use tags to group data when creating reports.  This is a major drawback.  I created a nice report filtered on one of my tags, but then I wanted to group by another tag and could not.  I seem to only be able to group on custom fields.  So am I stuck doing both tagging and custom fields?  This seems redundant.  Are there any best practices to help determine when to use custom fields vs. when to use tags?  Are there plans to allow tags to be selected for grouping within reports?

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Anastasia

Hi Jeni! You can enable the "Parent Folder" grouping to show tasks by their tags. This works ideally when you are reporting on one Project, since the tasks are neatly sliced into respective categories in the Report. When you pull data from multiple Projects at once, the Projects will also be shown as Parent Folder groups, but you can collapse them to view on a tag-only basis:

 

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Parent folder is not an available selection for graph reports so that's one issue with that.  And in a table view, when parent folder grouping shows tag folders together with project folders, it is confusing to some higher level execs that want to view a canned snapshot report.  I end up having to export the data from Wrike and remove the project folder rows to get them a clean report.  This kind of reduces the value of Wrike so I am hoping you are working on a fix for this or perhaps have suggestions for how to do this better?  Can the "parent folder" grouping have some logic built in so it will only pull parent folders from the filtered set of data you selected in the report setup?  It seems logical since users have the ability to select 1 or more folders, so if you choose a "tag" folder, then you typically just want the "tag" grouping.  But if you want the project folders too, you could select that folder in the filter setup as well. 

 

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Hi Jeni! 

I think a call could go a long way in this case. I went ahead and opened a Support ticket on your behalf and asked someone specific to reach out to you (they're a masters at reports!). You will be hearing from them soon and you guys can discuss the best way to make this work for your team. 

Stephanie Westbrook Community Team at Wrike Wrike Product Manager Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

Stephanie Westbrook Wrike Team member Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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Thanks for opening a ticket and responding so quickly... Wrike support is awesome!!  Just to summarize the discussion/findings for the community:

Tags are easier to use in project views, since you can apply them at the Project view and it populates to all tasks in the project. However, they are not ideal for reports because tasks get duplicated when trying to group by parent folder. Tags are not recommended if you need to use reports and you ever envision grouping by parent folder.

So it would seem custom fields are better to use since they do not create this task duplication issue in reports, however there are still two inconveniences to custom fields that are not currently resolved: 1) you have to populate every task and sub-task with the custom field value, regardless of whether it is applied at the top "Project" level.  And 2) You can't filter custom fields for more than 1 value (this is a BIG issue).  So if I have a custom field for "Department", I can only filter the view for 1 department at a time.  I cannot filter to see 2 or more departments in one list.  

So I'm looking forward to an enhancement around tags and/or custom fields.  Thanks again for your responsiveness!

 

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