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Recurring tasks asigned to someone else doesn't update Due Date for the original creator

Posted on 2014-04-09
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Last Modified: 2016-09-27
We just purchased Office 2013 Professional and we're having an issue with recurring tasks.  The manager creates a recurring task and assigns it to his employee.  As soon as you mark a task as recurring the option to "Keep an updated copy of this task on my task list" gets greyed out.  However it still lets you check "Send me a status report when this task is complete".  The problem is when the manager sends the recurring task to the employee and the employee accepts it, the manager only gets status reports on the task (which come by way of an email), he doesn't get the "Due Date" of the task updated on his task list.  So when he's looking at all of the tasks he's assigned, it only shows the original due date when the task was first assigned....and NOT the updated due date with each time the task is marked as complete.

I'm sure it's because the "Keep an updated copy of this task on my task list" is greyed out but why oh WHY is this option not there just because I make a task recurring???   This is a huge downside, does anyone know how to fix this or if we're doing something wrong?
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Question by:tphelps19
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Author Comment

by:tphelps19
ID: 39988983
Here is the page on Microsoft that says if you assign a recurring task it never updates on your Outlook but it says people can send you status updates which you can track in your Tasks View.  That is the part that doesn't seem to be true because it's not updating.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/assign-a-task-HA102809452.aspx?CTT=1
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Author Comment

by:tphelps19
ID: 40004830
Bump.

Anyone?
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Accepted Solution

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C. Blaise Mitsutama earned 2000 total points
ID: 40266251
You will not receive updates for recurring assigned tasks, except at task completion (if you have marked the Send me a status report when this task is complete checkbox). This is a limitation of assigning tasks using Outlook. If you absolutely need to track the status of recurring tasks in Outlook, you have to manually create and assign each instance as a separate task. There may be an add-on that can do this for you, or you may need to use an entirely different task management application.

On the web page you linked, the text stating that "[p]eople can send you status updates which you can track in your Tasks view" doesn't apply to recurring tasks. It applies generally to assigned tasks.

If you review the formatting of the article, you'll see that the numbered steps 1-10 are all indented in alignment. The text following the NOTE in step 10 is flush to the left margin. If you remove steps 1-10, the text would read:

Assign a task

Tasks help track things you need to do. You can assign tasks to other people as well.

<steps 1-10>

People can send you status updates which you can track in your Tasks view.

When you open a task you assigned, you can review the progress of assigned tasks with the % Complete box which either you or the recipient can update when they send you an assigned task status report.
I don't know why recurring tasks can't be tracked by the person assigning the task. If I were to speculate, I'd guess that recurring tasks are local to the person who "owns" the task or that a recurring task is, in fact, only a single task with local markers for each occurrence.
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Expert Comment

by:Jessica Wilson
ID: 41817168
Is Microsoft looking to update this?  They would have to see how discouraging this is and are fixing it, right?  This is a project management system, but we're unable to keep communication with our team.
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Expert Comment

by:C. Blaise Mitsutama
ID: 41818622
Hi, Jessica,

Disclaimer: I used to work at Microsoft, but not on the Outlook team. My understanding of Outlook is based on use and research.

Based on what I've learned about Outlook's task assignment feature, it is not intended to be a project management system. It's purpose is to allow delegation of individual tasks. It seems that once the task is assigned, the person to whom the task is assigned is now the actual task "owner" and the task is managed locally. The task owner can send a status report (the person who originally assigned the task is automatically included), but this requires manual intervention (i.e., the task owner has to click the Send Status Report icon, create, and send the report). This is the responsibility of the task owner and if the person assigning the task wants routine updates, they need to make sure their team understands this process.

Although it's possible that Microsoft may change the behavior of the task assignment feature in future, it currently seems to function "as designed."

Team communication can be improved by setting expectations that team members will use "Send Status Reports" in Outlook as part of regularly-scheduled updates (daily, weekly, monthly, as appropriate), or a separate process outside of Outlook as part of team meetings or by using a project management tool designed for that purpose.
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