Best way to work with sub-tasks, epics, etc?

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It seems like an Epic should be created as a task, then we would use sub-tasks (maybe sub-sub-tasks) to map out development tasks.

But trying to do this we run into problems...

  • A sub-task can be in additional folders to its parent, but it HAS to be in the same folders as its parent. So If I put Epic1 in a sprint but some sub-tasks will spill into a future sprint, it screws up gantt and other views.
  • Maybe we should keep Epic1 outside the sprint and only put sub-tasks in individual sprints. But then where should the parent live?
  • Subtasks don't really show that they are sub-tasks well so we have to give them very verbose names like Epic1: Do the thing
  • I can't see a task automatically can set it's start/end dates based on its sub-tasks, or let us see % completion, total time spent, etc

I've seen quite a few posts about sub-tasks in different areas. I'd initially thought they were full tasks in their own right, now I'm not sure if they are limited or not.

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In using Wrike, we've found it best to do the following.

  1. Keep epics out of sprints and in their own folder structure
  2. Don't use sub-tasks, but rather folders (or sub-folders, which is just a folder within another folder)
  3. Sprints are custom fields, not folders

This helps for a few reasons:

  1. Epic's outside of sprints makes this easier to follow progress, depending on what perspective your wanting to analyze the project from
  2. You can't log time to folders, which forces people to log it to the task. Using the task / sub-task route makes this a little sketchy from a reporting standpoint. And like you mentioned, you can't always tell what the parent task is.
  3. Sprints as custom fields makes it easier to view where the tasks belong in the table view, reports and a few other views. This comes with a WARNING, you have to label your custom field as a number and then enter them in as floats (e.g. 11.23 for November 23), otherwise it won't order, filter or sort. And bulk updating custom fields aren't possible at this point.

We started down the sub-task route early in our days of using Wrike, but could tell they were handled a little differently. So we abandon them (as a general rule anyways) until we understood the full use case around using them. No one in any of our teams regret that move.

Hope this helps. Shout out with additional questions.

Tim

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Hey Tim, thanks very much for this. It seems a shame then that sub-tasks just aren't really fit for purpose - unless they meeta use-case I haven't understood!

I'm intrigued what exactly this might look like, especially using folders for sub-tasks and epics. Are you saying you'd create a folder-per-epic? I'm imagining a huge number of folders and that this would make gantt/table look really messy.

I don't suppose you might be able to share a screenshot (with sensitive data redacted) of your folder structure, etc? 

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Hey John,

Actually, I was thinking the same thing and after my reply yesterday, I posted this in the best practices section. 

Take a read (it's a little long) and shout out with any additional questions. 

https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360020428493-What-is-your-folder-structure-

Thanks!
Tim

PS. After you read through that, how i would handle your epics is to do something like we do with effort categories. 

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I'm curious if an epic is a folder, how do you add comments or notes on it? Sub-tasks might be for developers while the epic is visible with the customer.

I had wondered about using linked tasks but I'm not sure what facilities there are for that... e.g. epics as tasks in an "Epic" or "Customer" folder and then separate tasks linked to them. It would be great if you could automatically set a task's start/enmd based on the range of dates covered by linked tasks. I've yet to figure out if Wrike has this sort of programmability... I discovered "calculated custom fields" the other day

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John - you should be able to add notes & comments to folders. Not sure if it depends on the kind of license you have, but I don't think that matters.

You mentioned the customer having some kind of access. Can you outline what that looks like from a permissions level and any other relevant details? What are you trying to accomplish and what problems are you running into that Wrike would solve those? Also, if you can share, what type of work/business are you using Wrike for?

 

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>Also, if you can share, what type of work/business are you using Wrike for?

Oh yes, easy to forget we're all doing different things! We're a small software development company.

 

In terms of customer, we would probably like them able to see the features/requirements/bugs they submit so we can discuss with them like in any ticket/issue-tracking system. But, actual development tasks assigned to our programmers would be hidden from them.

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Hence I had initially thought a customer feature could be a Task, and programmers would be assigned sub-tasks of that task.

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Hey John - We build a lot of websites and use Wrike to handle those and all our other marketing efforts. So, in theory, I should be able to track along side with your setup/internal workflow.

Last question, how long have you been using Wrike?

I ask because I don't want to be suggesting some things when your Wrike structure has already been solidified with the company.

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Oh, just a few weeks - we only bought our license last week or so! Most of our time was trying to figure out the best way to use Unito-Github mapping then we created some basic folder setup to see how we could do reporting.

So I'd say as long as we don't have to delete all our tasks, we're pretty open. The one thing we have done is import all our requirement issues from GH->Wrike as tasks, and added developer estimates as a custom field. Actually, this is probably one reason we cannot use folders for epics/tasks, as we import them from GH historically.  So that's probably the one restriction... 

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