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Automated planning for a project


I'm helping a client set up a board in which she has put all the tasks for big project across all different phases. At the start of a project, there's always the same time planning. So phase 1 has to be done by X weeks, phase 2 by Y weeks, etc. Ideally, I'd like to set up an automation that when she puts the start date in the board, automatically it calculates all the due dates (so X days after the start for every card, with differing amount of days) and puts them on every card.

For example, if I put in a start date of 14 July, and task A has to be done 3 days after that and task B 6 days after that, it would say:

Start date 14 July
Task A due date 17 July
Task B due date 20 July

Is this possible and if so, how do I approach setting up Butler?

Thanks in advance!



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Iain Dooley Community Leader Jul 14, 2021

@Shelley Barendregt One thing you can do is link your "child" tasks to your "parent" tasks, then when you add a due date to a child task set the date on the parent task minus some period based on a label indicating how long the child will take -- this allows you to set up your structure, copy it to a new board, then set the date on the final deliverable and how all the due dates for previous tasks flow backwards:

2021-07-15 at 8.37 am.png

You can use different labels to indicate tasks that take a week, a day, a month and so on. Because Butler actions will trigger Butler rules, this should cascade all the way back up the chain of dependency.

@Iain Dooley 

Your suggested approach caused me to think about how I can improve my Superhero Checklist custom power-up since it builds the subtask cards from checklist items so that you can retrospectively or on the fly.

Hi @Iain Dooley ,


Thanks for your reply!


So instead of moving forward (start date -> + 3 days > + 6 days etc) you propose moving backwards: putting in the end date of the project and have Trello calculate the due dates backwards up until today? 


The cards in the board are all there but not linked (yet). I know there's a way to do it when you have Butler create cards and link them together while doing it, but how would I go about that when I already have all the cards? How do I link them together? 


And am I correct that I need the custom field power-up for the setup in your screenshot? :)


I would be super happy to make this work and the approach you take sounds promising.


Thanks again!

@Shelley Barendregt 

Posted reply to the wrong thread. 

Iain Dooley Community Leader Jul 19, 2021

@Shelley Barendregt The quickest way to link cards together is just to hover over one card with your mouse and do ctrl/cmd+c then hover over another card and ctrl/cmd+v (ctrl is for windows, cmd for mac). Basically you can copy and paste card links onto each other from the "front" of the card to quickly link them together.

Regarding your question:

So instead of moving forward (start date -> + 3 days > + 6 days etc) you propose moving backwards: putting in the end date of the project and have Trello calculate the due dates backwards up until today?

I guess you could do either, if you were going forward then you could have one or more child tasks linked from a parent and then use "for each card linked in the attachments" to set the dates on all child cards, which should in turn trigger the same for any children of that card.

I guess it just depends on whether you want to have a setup where multiple child cards hold a link back to their parent, rather than a parent holding links to multiple children.

And yes you would need the custom fields power up. There's no way to set the due date relative to a date added to a card without going via a custom field (yet ... this used to be possible in Butler Bot but they never ported that feature into the new command builder).

Thanks so much @Iain Dooley ! This really helped. I'm going to try it out. 

@Shelley Barendregt 

Here's the first version of the enhancement

@Iain Dooley FYI

Thanks for your help @milynnus ! The client I'm helping isn't working with checklists so much (she prefers separate cards) so I think your power-up isn't applicable for her but I will definitely keep it in mind for other situations. :)

@Shelley Barendregt 

The checklist establishes the dependencies with the subtask cards. It is also the way to sequentially add days to a start date or work backwards from a deadline. The module can update the checklist item date or the subtask card dates or both.

I have created a separate custom power up for dates meaning it can be deployed to any board. 

I have taken a look at your video (thanks for that!) but I don't really understand how it would work for my client. Every task will have a different deadline, so I can't use e.g. 10 days intervals for every card. Some will need a deadline in 7 days, some in 13, some in 15, etc etc. How could I make that work with your power-up? :)

@Shelley Barendregt 

Potentially I can have a string of numbers. Need to figure most logically way to handle a mismatch between the number of task and the days provided. Anyway, this is my version 1. 

Update: I have included the use of a "Days Between Override" custom field that can override each item or linked subtask due date. It is smart enough to use as many of the list of days are required or extend the days using the last value to match the eligible items or cards. It works for both Start Date and Deadline.Screen Shot 2021-07-20 at 3.18.36 PM.jpg

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