Designers leave tasks open past due date for review/revisions

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I'm looking for a creative solution on how to solve a simple workflow issue I am having. We are a marketing department and do print design work. An example of workflow is: 

  1. Design 
  2. Reviews
  3. Final Design
  4. Launch

What I'm finding is that the design team will not close the original Design task, because they prefer to keep all revisions to their designs in one place. Which is a great point that I agree with. I find #3, Final Design, doesn't even get used, because they complete all revisions within the initial Design task.  

The one issue I have is that we use predecessor workflow (set up using Gantt chart), which upon task completion, notifies the next task assignee to begin their work.  When tasks aren't marked complete, this process no longer works as it should. The review step still happens, but the design team member alerts the next task assignee with an @ mention and a note.  

The other issue is that these Design tasks end up becoming overdue. It pains me as a PM to see overdue tasks. I understand that they aren't technically overdue, they are just in the Review phase, but it annoys me nonetheless and it is sort of challenging to keep track of where the project is in the process with overdue tasks. 

Anyone else have this issue and is there a creative solution to resolve this?  

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You could set up alerts if something is overdue? Also, curious what others are doing to help solve this.

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I actually have a Dashboard set up of tasks assigned by me, which shows me the overdue tasks, so I'm aware of them.  

The tasks are always technically "completed" on time, however the tasks aren't marked complete, because they prefer to keep revisions to designs housed in one task.  So despite the initial design being completed by the time the task deadline was set to, the task isn't marked complete because they're waiting for revisions, which in some cases could take a while.  So, inevitably I have a tasks that appear to be overdue show up in my task dashboard often.  

My solution was to create an "Initial Design" task, followed by a "Design Revisions" task, however the designers did not like this, they preferred to keep all design revisions housed in one task - which I guess makes sense to me, but it really throws off the typical workflow, where when a task is marked complete, it alerts the next person to begin their task.  

I'm not really sure there is a really good answer or solution to this, as it sort of defies the typical workflow process of Wrike.  

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Rob Gorczyca I've also featured your post on the main page, hopefully other members would also be able to recommend a solution 👍

Lisa Community Team at Wrike Wrike Product Manager Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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I have a similar problem within our workflow as well. One thing I ended up doing to alleviate my own anxiety of seeing the red overdue items and from having them constantly appear in my risk reports was to add an additional status within our custom workflow. We added a "revision" stage to our workflow which I placed in the completed status grouping. This status appears open to our team, but Wrike recognizes it as closed and then the subtask management is primarily for tracking purposes rather than full update use as the parent ticket takes that role.

As an example:

I create the parent task for Design and subtasks for the various revisions. 

-Initial Design

     - Feedback

     - Revision 1

     - Feedback 2

     - Revision 2

     - Final Design

Once the initial design is done, that parent task gets moved to "revisions" and then feedback would go "in progress" and so on throughout the design process. In this situation I own updating the status for subtasks, but designers/engineers/stakeholders provide context within the parent ticket as the source of truth. When everything is done and approved (meaning all subtasks are complete as well at this point) the parent task is moved to "Done".

While both "revisions" and "done" are technically closed statuses in Wrike's eyes and don't mess with my tracking/analytics, those working on the task recognize this as an in progress state.

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Thanks for sharing Crysta Cadella 🤗

Lisa Community Team at Wrike Wrike Product Manager Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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Crysta Cadella - this is super helpful.  I'm currently using the default workflow because the custom workflow I had set up was never used (some team members utilize the "in progress" status, but most don't, though they always mark the task complete).  I may add a "revisions" status however that I can trigger on my own, for my own sanity. This way I'll know by looking at reports/dashboards the status of that specific "overdue" task.    

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For our design team, we keep "Creative" as one subtask in a project. Inside that subtask, we outline the details of what's needed for the design, as well as an initial draft deadline, revision timeline, and when the final deadline is. We also use version history to see all the variations of the creative from start to finish. The due dates of the task span from the date the first draft is due to when the final design is due. This approach might help your team?

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Valerie Cisneros - This is a great idea. Do you assign the main task to the designer or leave the main task unassigned and only assign the sub-tasks?  Do the sub-tasks tie in (via Gantt chart) to other main tasks, for example, when the sub-task Design Draft is marked complete, does it alert someone who has a task to review it?  For us, this is where the disconnect happens. If they don't mark the task complete, the system doesn't alert the review task.  The team is good about @ mentioning people though so the reviews still happen.  I do like the idea of keeping the entire creative process contained like this though. 

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Rob Gorczyca It depends on the project type. We utilize blueprints for our Request Forms that will automatically alert assignees in another task when a predecessor task is completed, as well as file the project type in the correct folder. For example, if we're working on an email campaign, once someone fills out the request form for an email campaign, it will create a series of subtasks:

  • Content - anything that should be included in the email
  • Copy - cleaning up/redrafting the copy to fit within our brand tone
  • Creative - assets needed for email and social
  • Email - digital team to build the email for proofing
  • Social - social team to build corresponding social posts for proofing

In this list, it's in chronological order and once each task is marked complete, Wrike is automated to alert the assignees of the next task, so it can progress and not wait for someone to tag and let people know it's now ready for the next step. It also auto-populates deadlines based on how we setup the blueprint -- typically, we need a 7-day lead time and each step allows for one day of drafting and proofing, so there's a little wiggle room by the end, but hopefully it's completed early and we're not working against the deadline. In this example, those subtasks are tied to the main "Email Campaign" task.

However, there are scenarios where we might need creative on its own and not part of a bigger project, which is why we've also created a "Creative Request" form, where the main task is solely the creative.

Hope this helps!

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Rob Gorczyca Forgot to answer a couple of your other questions! Designers are assigned to the creative task and tag the appropriate person for proofing/approval once they've uploaded a draft. Once the person who proofs approves the creative, they're the one to mark the task complete.

If the creative is a subtask within a main task, the designer is only assigned to the creative subtask and the person who briefed it in is assigned on the main task, as well as the Project Manager. That way, they can both keep an eye to make sure the project is progressing on time and according to the brief. If the main task is solely a creative task, then yes, the designer is tagged to the main task along with the person who briefed it in and the Project Manager.

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Valerie Cisneros - Awesome, thank you. We use blueprints the same way, pulling from various templates based on selections made in the request form. I like the idea of assigning the core creative task to the submitter + PM to keep an eye on the task flow. This gives me some great ideas for revamping my creative/design tasks.  Thanks again, this is super helpful!  

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I am not sure how your team exactly works, but this somewhat sounds similar to the workflow we are using with our development team.

  1. All tasks need to be delivered through our request form or created by the stakeholder, which makes them the author of the task.
  2. The task gets assigned the correct status based on the request (this isn't really essential to the rest of the case, but we have set it up this way)
  3. When the assignee of the task completes their task, they change status to "in testing", which does the following, 1. Adds the task to a "in testing" folder, for ease of keeping track of everything that requires action (this is an automation task), 2. it creates an approval with the stakeholder as the approver.
  4. When the task is approved, the task is then set to "completed status" and the task is removed from the "in testing" folder. (also an automation task)
  5. Furthermore we also haver a clean up routine that will automatically cancel approval and remove from "in testing" folder, tag everyone involved in the task about the cleanup when the task has been inactive for "x" days.

Thought I'd share if could be useful to anyone

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Thomas Won Nyheim - Love these ideas!  I hadn't thought about using automations to create an approval. i also like the clean up routine that you set up if something has been inactive for so many days. Brilliant!   Thank you so much for weighing in on this. I'm going to implement these ideas into our workflow.  

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