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Mikes Trello Tips - Parent-Child Card Linking

Mikes Trello Tips - Parent-Child Card Linking

I try to be led by the kind of questions I see being asked on here and many of the questions recently seem to focus on the limitations of advanced checklists.  

I realised a while back that although checklists are amazing and advanced checklists have taken them 1 step forward. However, there are still some limitations that come with it...

The Good

  • Advanced checklists will provide notifications:
    Notifications for Advanced Checklists are here 
  • Advanced checklist items show up in calendar view
  • They look great on the cardback and are really useful for a quick glance at what is going on.
  • If you convert to a card, it copies the checklist item member and due date to the card

The Limitations

  • You can't filter at Checklist item level
  • Checklist items don't show in workspace views
  • Checklist items don't show in timeline view
  • While is not an automation trigger for when a member is added to a checklist
  • There are not automation variables for {checklistitemdate} or {checklistitemmember}
  • You can't use automation to set the card due date to the date on the checklist item

 

This week, I will show you a way that gain more capability from checklists by creating a parent/child relationship with cards...

Lets begin

 

Board Structure

First of all I want to touch on the concept of parent-child with some ideas of how it can be set up.  

As with everything Trello, there are many possibilities to achieve the same thing.  Here are some examples of different structures you could use:

Option 1 - Single Project List and Tasks workflow

In this option, you keep your projects in a list on the left then have your task workflow on the right, with an imaginary line between them:
Parent-Child Structure-Page-2.drawio.png
You can use labels, due dates and stickers to set the status of the projects based on the status of the tasks

Option 2 - Dual Workflows

To expand on option 1, you split your board in 2 and have a project workflow and task workflow, the project workflow in this example is Done/Not Done but it could have many more stages depending on your process.
Parent-Child Structure-Page-1.drawio.png

Option 3 - Merged workflow

As with tasks, a project/story/deliverable has the same states of not done, in progress and done.  You let them flow through the same workflow together. You could use labels and filters to display only projects or only tasks.Parent-Child Structure-Page-3.drawio.png

Option 4 - Dual Board

This option is particularly useful if the workflow context is too different between the parent and child that they need different boards.  This allows you to use different custom fields and labels and it also means that the board context is focus around the needs of the particular team.   

Parent-Child Structure-Page-4.drawio.png


How to do it!!

I am going to keep it simple and use the structure from Example 1

 

  1. Set up your Trello Board
    Create a Trello Board with the lists as show below:
    Screenshot 2023-07-13 150946.png

  2. Create a temporary card anywhere on the board to add a custom text field called "Project"

  3. Set up the Automations
    1. Automation that adds an empty list called Tasks to a card added to list Projects
      Screenshot 2023-07-13 151307.png
    2. Automation to convert a checklist item into a linked card and rename it with a prefix of the parent card name (this is for filtering)
      Screenshot 2023-07-13 155457.png
      Note: the "does not start with https://trello.com/c" is to allow the next automation to work correctly without causing a loop
    3. Now, you may want to link the cards at a later stage, this is where the Project custom field comes in.  Automation to link the task to a project when the Project custom field is set
      Screenshot 2023-07-13 160151.png
    4. When a child card is moved to done, you want to check that item off on the tasks checklist of the parent card
      Screenshot 2023-07-13 153222.png
    5. When all the Tasks are complete, this automation will mark the project as complete
      Screenshot 2023-07-13 153421.png
    6. Finally, you as the owner of the board may want to be able to remove tasks. These 2 automations allow you to remove the child card by archiving it or by removing it from the Tasks checklist of the parent
      Screenshot 2023-07-13 160001.pngScreenshot 2023-07-13 162024.png 
  4. Start Creating your Parent/Child Cards
    1. Create some Project Cards
      ezgif.com-crop.gif
    2. Start Adding your tasks
      ezgif.com-video-to-gif (10).gif
    3. Need to link a new task to an existing project? Use the Project custom field you created to enter the project name...
      ezgif.com-video-to-gif (11).gif
    4. Need to delete a task? Here are both ways in action...
      ezgif.com-video-to-gif (13).gif

  5. Lets test the tasks going through their workflow and updating the parent card...
    ezgif.com-video-to-gif (12).gif

  6. Lets check out how easy it is to filter in this system
    ezgif.com-video-to-gif (14).gif

 

There you have it, a way to create a parent-child relationship that you can use to evolve your boards further

Now that there are links, you can expand it with dates, members, labels, custom fields, descriptions and comments

Here is a link to the board...
Parent - Child Demo 

12 comments

Frederik Vantroys
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July 13, 2023

Nice ! Tnx for the article

Like Dreamsuite Mike likes this
RH July 24, 2023

Hi, I think this is exactly what i am looking for.

But I do not fully understand the setup process.

I have 2 boards and one board 1 ;when a card is added to a list I want to have a (copy/child) card created on board 2 (with the same info)

than when the card on board 2 is moved to a different list I want to parent card to move aswell on board 1.

 

Looking at this guide im already stuck on step 2. where do I add this trigger?

is there a video tutorial?

RH September 19, 2023

Hi Mike,

If I delete the parent card I want all substask card to be archived aswell.

 

RH September 22, 2023

Hi Mike, 

When I create a card in "to do" and add the project name in the custom field.

it is not adding to the parent card and for some reason a extra card is made with a link??

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 09.32.03.png

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 09.35.56.png

RH October 5, 2023

@Dreamsuite Mike I really need you help on this one!

Dreamsuite Mike
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
October 6, 2023

Hi @QC QC

 

Sorry for the delay in replying. I'll answer in sequence:

Hi, I think this is exactly what i am looking for.

But I do not fully understand the setup process.

I have 2 boards and one board 1 ;when a card is added to a list I want to have a (copy/child) card created on board 2 (with the same info)

than when the card on board 2 is moved to a different list I want to parent card to move aswell on board 1.

 

Looking at this guide im already stuck on step 2. where do I add this trigger?

is there a video tutorial?

For this example, you don't require parent child but a 1-1 relations ship.  

Automation for this on Board 1 is:

when a card is added to "list A", copy the card to list A on Board 2 and link the cards together

then for mirroring list moves:

when a card is moved to list {listname}, find the first card linked in attachments and move to {triggercardlistname}
Dreamsuite Mike
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
October 6, 2023

Hi Mike,

If I delete the parent card I want all substask card to be archived aswell.

when a card is archived, for each card linked in checklist "Tasks", archive the card
Dreamsuite Mike
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
October 6, 2023

Hi Mike, 

When I create a card in "to do" and add the project name in the custom field.

it is not adding to the parent card and for some reason a extra card is made with a link??

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 09.32.03.png

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 09.35.56.png

This one, I think you can use:

when custom field "Projects is set in a car not in list "Project, look up a card titled {customfieldvalue} and add the attachment {foundcardlink}, rename the card to "{foundcardname}: {triggercardname}, find the first card linked in attachments and add the item {triggercardlink} to checklist "Tasks"
Like RH likes this
RH October 6, 2023

Thanks for the reply Mike!

where can I find,

"and add the attachment {foundcardlink}"

 I do not see this option in cascade?

Dreamsuite Mike
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
October 6, 2023

add the attachment is found in Card Changes

Screenshot 2023-10-07 092215.png

RH October 9, 2023

@Dreamsuite Mike , ah so it is 2 separate actions and not one?

How would that look in actions?

the way you wrote it looked like it could be confined in one rule.

MF_BOT March 5, 2024

This is very helpful @Dreamsuite Mike . I was curious is there a way to include the attachment on the parent card to all of the linked cards?

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