Why not create a task? An action item affiliated with a project is essentially just a task.
ENHANCEMENT REQUEST - Please affiliate 'Action Items' with the parent projects they are created from
When selecting 'Action Item' from the "Add Related" menu within a given project, that 'Action Item' is not connected with that project. However, when selecting any other option from the "Add Related" menu within a given project, that item IS connected with that project. The user must manually change the ‘parent project’. Further, when running a report that displays a list of all tasks, the 'Parent Project' field for 'Action Items' is blank. The feature request specifically is – when creating an ‘Action Item’ from within a given project, please automatically affiliate that item with its parent project. Thank you!
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Josh, one could also ask, why offer Action Items in the first place?
There are instances where you would want an activity to be associated with a specific work item, but not directly on the project itself. For example, let's say I have a meeting task on a project that has follow up items. I would want to connect those follow up items to the meeting task, but not include them in the official work plan. Another example, I have work items that have a number of smaller steps involved that we may want to document and have the ability to mark it off as done (like a checklist), but I wouldn't want to clutter up the work plan with 20 minor tasks that make up the actual task.
That said, I agree with the OP's enhancement request because Action Items feel a bit useless with their current functionality.
Action Items are only designed to be ad-hoc activities, like a to-do list. You cannot associate a task with a work item and not the project itself due to strict hierarchy rules. However, using custom objects or relations summary fields you can do exactly what you described and create a place for minor tasks that will not clutter up the work plan.
Josh, can you elaborate on how to use a relations summary field to create a place for these action items so they link to the project?