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How can we make Outlook Customer Manager better?

Add sub-tasks

Tasks linked to customer contacts are good, but the ability to have tasks AND subtasks would be great.

Our manufacturing company frequently works with customers on multiple projects that run in parallel. Each project has one to two dozen discreet tasks associated with it. Each task would represent a project overall. Linked sub-tasks would represent what needed to be accomplished on each project.

We don't need the complexity of MS Project but we need more than one level task lists (or the one level task list with check boxes in the Office 365 Planner).

I discussed this issue 20 years ago with Tom Rizzo at Microsoft. Then, my question was "Why can't individual Outlook task lists sync with assigned tasks in Public Folders task lists?) As I understood it, the answer was the limitations of the Exchange architecture... i.e. that Exchange was originally designed as an email system. Then, in response to Notes/Domino (a comprehensive "groupware" product with a relational database on the back end) coming on the market, Microsoft adapted Exchange and created Outlook with tasks, notes etc. However, since the Exchange back end was not a relational database, Exchange tasks were actually attachments to a hidden email acting as a "container." Are we still dealing with that kind of limitation? I've heard Microsoft representatives say that they don't offer subtasks because only a small percentage of customers use Outlook's task functionality to begin with. But, if it is possible, what is lost if sub-tasks are added?

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  • Kyle Chrystal commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please add sub-tasks!!

    MS Project is good for large-scale planning where de-conflicting resources, schedule, critical path analysis are the focus - i.e. STRATEGIC workflows. OneNote is very flexible and great for coordinating a group but is really best for compiling REFERENCE material, notes, meeting minutes etc. It is not well suited for task tracking as doing it on any scale is extremely manual and problematic. Outlook is the tool for TACTICAL workflows, including detailed task planning. Then it's in the same place as email (so that doesn't become a second task list to be managed across two programs!) and the Calendar (where tasks move to when they become tactical short term actions).

  • Arthur Crist commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please, I will forever champion MS-Outlook if I could just have a sub-task. I can only do so much with categories. Please, give two about those who use your product.

  • Meier commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please add subtasks that will play nicely with MS To-Do on mobile.

  • Steve Dorrough commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    GroupWise can do this. It's a must have for Outlook; otherwise, the % Complete field has no value.

  • Ray Henderson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is a glaring gap in the client task offering for Outlook - particularly when using a GTD approach to managing work. Please prioritize this!

    Every other task management offering has this functionality (even Microsoft To-Do has an "Add Step" option).

    I find that the client version of Outlook tasks works really well in many areas that other platforms do not - this would round it out very nicely

  • lucas.garlepp@outlook.com commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree, subtasks are a must have. More importantly, if there are tasks available in the new Planner tool these tasks need to be unified so a task in one place is the same as a task in another and all roll up into the project they belong to if appropriate. I'm looking at using OCM for a new business start up right now and this will be critical to whether or not the tool is useful.

  • Gonzalo commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    "I've heard Microsoft representatives say that they don't offer subtasks because only a small percentage of customers use Outlook's task functionality to begin with."

    Maybe if Microsoft made their Task functionality better, by having I don't know, essential basic features like subtasks (that comme free in most to do/ Task apps), people would start using it!

  • Peter Paul commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Longer times ago I used Outlook, than my life as a teacher becomes more and more complex with many tasks and dates to handle.
    The only reason I don't use Outlook anymore is because of the task manager. When I use it, I lose track of my tasks. Very confusing, no sub-tasks and a useless context menu...
    Now I use Em Client with a lack of a link to OneNote...
    Stucked between a rock and a hard place

  • Simon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree. Have wanted sub-tasks ever since we started using Outlook

  • Kim commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @jcwCT "I've heard Microsoft representatives say that they don't offer subtasks because only a small percentage of customers use Outlook's task functionality to begin with."

    That's a real shame in their way of thinking, because I am a trainer and I am 1000% sure that many more people would use Tasks if it could handle sub-tasks!

    No matter what software I have used for task management over the years, I always have emails flagged/categorized as "to do". I would LOVE to put my entire to do list in one place (Outlook), but the lack of sub-tasks makes that impossible.

    Currently I use Asana for tasks, prior to that it was Podio, and prior to that it was Trello. Alas, there is no such thing as "all in one" software, no matter how large the company who made it is.

  • Brandon Ewing commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please distinguish where the task was created. Today I noticed a task in "tasks" somewhere else but the task had been created in a deal in OCM and therefore only had meaningful info there. Another column saying "created in" - "deal" or "on phone" would be helpful

  • Tschadler commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Outlook tasks is unusable for us because the lack of sub tasks. A simple tree structure would go a long way. We want as many tools integrated as possible, and not being able to use Microsoft task has forced us to use a non-microsoft sw platform in place of several other microsoft products.

  • Mikhail commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    It is rather unfortunate that MS is confused with the reason for the Tasks in Outlook.
    The Tasks section has been stagnating as an appendix for over 20 years.
    Borderline useless a decade ago, now it doesn't scale to the most of the today's workflows.

  • TG commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I requested the same thing in 2015 on the Outlook for Mac page https://outlook.uservoice.com/forums/293343-outlook-for-mac/suggestions/10544994-add-subtasks Despite an equal amount of votes there, no reaction from the Outlook team in 2 years!? Can we please have some feed-back? This is a basic improvement that many competitors already offer (e.g Todoist). To say only a small % use Outlook Tasks makes little sense, instead MS should consider how many customers would in fact use Tasks, if it was made more useful by including things like sub-tasks.

  • Reid commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Adding integration with Project Cheshire, Planner, and Exchange tasks would be very helpful too. I believe Planner has subtasks currently.

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