Is there a better way to do this? (small team productivity workflow)

Notion user, trying out Coda for the first time.

I’m trying to build a “master database” for all the work my team does and have different views for different groups and types of work.

One of the things I want to track is the status of each task. Different types of work have different statuses available.

For example, a video task may have a “recording” and “editing” status which does not apply to an admin task.

I’m trying to find a good way to manage this.
My idea so far is to have different “status” columns in the master database like this:

Now, I would like to have the “Main Status” autmatically update based on what’s in the other columns. It would need to look for a non-blank value in the other columns and have logic that goes something like: “if the ‘Video Status’ is ‘recording’, ‘editing’ or ‘ready for review’, set the ‘Main Status’ to ‘In Progress’”

I tried to build a formula for this, but my formula-fu is too weak.

Looking for any help with this. Also, maybe I’m just over-complicating this? Any suggestons for how to build a system with different statuses available for different work types is appreciated!

There are several ways of doing this of course, but I recommend in the table where you define your type-specific statuses, e.g. in your Video Statuses table, do:

Video Statuses

Name Main Status
Recording In Progress
Editing In Progress

Put your mapping directly in the table that has your type-specific statuses. Then those should be lookup columns in your task table (Not sure if you are using a select list or a lookup, lookup is needed here and better in general). Then in your task table, you could have a formula in the Main Status column like:

switchIf(isNotBlank(Video Status), Video Status.Main Status, isNotBlank(Other Type of Status), Other Type of Status.Main Status, "")

Just adding to this, overall I’m not a fan of the approach of having a tasks table with various task type columns, well it can lead to things like having multiple of the type-specific columns having status set, and then what should the main status be? e.g. if Video Status is set to something that results in Todo for the main status, but then Some Other Status is set to something that results in Done, then what should main status be?

I would probably aim for something that resolves this somehow, maybe like:

Task Types Table

Main Statuses Table

Statuses Table

  • Type Lookup Column to Task Types Table
  • Name Text Column
  • Main Status Lookup Column to Main Statuses Table

Tasks Table

  • Main Status Lookup Column with a formula Status.Main Status
  • Task Type Lookup Column to Task Types Table
  • Status Lookup Column to Statuses Table, that has a filter on the Column to only show Statuses for the currently selected type in the Type column

And then on your main task table you could select the Type of work being done, e…g Video Recording, and then set the status there.

This assumes that each task is of a different type. If you need a pipeline of sorts, you could introduce a system to move tasks from one type to another upon completion.


Thank you for these detailed recommendations! I will give this a try and see what works best. Really heplful!

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Baseds on your comment and one of the example docs I found in the gallery, I have created a separate reference page with tables that exist to be looked up elsewhere.

This has already improved my setup.

In my main tasks table, I’m getting the correct options now, based on the task type selected.

What I can’t get to work is formula part you mentioned:

I have a Main Status column in my master task list.

It looks up my Statuses Table here:

I’m try to get this field to automatically referenece the Main Status Reflection column in this table. Is this the correct approach?

Yes actually that’s pretty much what I had in mind, although you allowed for multiple of the task-types to be mapped to a single task-specific status (which is better I think).

I would just rename things a little maybe to make it clearer, but of course this is a matter of taste to some extent:
Statuses Table → Type Specific Statuses Table
Statuses by Type → Task Types

And then in your Tasks Table each task would have a Type column that allows a single Task Type to be selected, with a Filter in the Lookup Options → Item Settings: Statuses by Type = Task Type. And then in your Main Status column you could do a formula Type Specific Status.Main Status Reflection.

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