A Master Board View for All projects

projects
dashboard
boards

#1

Hi There!
I’ve seen different versions this question asked but no real answer I’ve found. We run a digital agency where each client is set up as a project. Each project has tasks assigned from there to guest members. So maybe at a given time I have 25 active client projects. That works great. But I REALLY need a way to get a snapshot/board view/dashboard of all the active projects in a glance. I have messed aroungd with the idea of creating a new project called Project Management and setting it up in board view. But I’m falling short in the “linking” capability. How will these boards be synced in any way to the actual project’s tasks? Ideally, on this overall board view, I would see who is working on the project, and what the current task is.

Before I literally ordered a white board to hang on our office wall to create this snapshot view, I figured Id try one last time to see if anyone has come up with a solution to this. It seems essential to effective project management and ultimately will require another tool which is not good.

Thanks a bunch!
Corey


#2

We have the “Project Management” project and we’re currently looking for a better way. Our team doesn’t have a project manager, we tend to share the responsibilities by committee as best we can and as we have time. The management project (board view as yours is) has a one to one relationship of its tasks to actual projects within our team. Also, we’re not on Premium, so the Dashboard isn’t helpful as we have far more than 3 projects.

Our process is still developing and this management project largely goes ignored until we want to look at what’s up next. We’re actively working to improve it to make it more ingrained into our processes. One hurdle is communicating the main issues within an actual project up, and while the “management” project feels like a good place for notes on overall statuses and progress.

I was thinking about a recurring task in each project to update the project’s relevant task in the “Project Management” project (with a handy @mention to the task and info that’s nice to have in a status report). But there’s still the problem of whether that’s useful to look at and how you report out of it. We’ve considered tags and what not to signify status using colors…

Downfalls:

  • Requires a planning project you have to give everyone access to
  • Requires coming up with procedures and standards of how to use the thing
  • Requires training people to use/update it correctly or someone to own it and manage it
    • I’ve been trying to determine if the offset of time required to keep a whiteboard up to date is comparable. Kind of hoping someone else has tried :slight_smile:

Benefits (I’m not a project manager so for me these probably seem overly simplistic):

  • I have one project to rule them all…
  • I might have decent data on project statuses
  • I might have a good place to direct management to for status updates, or at least build something else for them from
  • I have a place where I can prioritize backlog items and ongoing work
  • I’ll maybe get out what I put in, but it’ll require staying on top of and I don’t have a lot of time

I doubt this helps much, but I figured I’d at least toss in that I’ve been thinking about the same thing and some of what I’ve come up with.


#3

Actually this is super helpful! Its really helpful to hear someone else trying to work this around as well. I guess the thing for me - much like it is for you- is I’m worried that our team wont be diligent in updating the PM board project. Which then in turn makes it more dangerous than beneficial bc I’m running my entire team/schedule on incorrect info. Now, you make a great point - that is the same risk with the white board plan. So for us, how the actual project and the overall master board link together - right? Thinking with the @ linking we can kinda achieve something like this maybe


#4

Thanks for posting your thoughts on this @Corey_J_Halstead and @RyanE. I’m trying to do the same. Have either of you had success with linking via the @ function? I tried linking projects to a master project and also linking tasks to a master project with no luck.
You definitely don’t want to double up on the management of tasks for users, as you pointed out, it will only lead to errors and outdated info. Instagantt integration will give you another viewpoint but still not ALL projects in one. I can only see syncing of projects working if they are all in List Format. Boards, because of the customisation of columns would make it impossible to sync effectively…


#5

I use the @mention function all the time, it’s always had the effect I’ve intended (other than sometimes I’d like to @mention tags). I’m guessing your issue isn’t functional however, but practical?

My team is barely getting started with managing our projects at a higher level. I’ve started out by linking to my working project (where a project’s actual work is done) from tasks in my management project (where each task represents an actual Asana project). I do this link with an @mention to the working project. Going in the other direction, from the working project to the management project is a bit less clear. You could @mention from the working project’s description, it shows up for List Projects, but if it’s displayed anywhere on a Board Project I’m missing it. I’ve been experimenting with a housekeeping task in the working project that serves a higher purpose.

Example (This is kind of where I think we’re headed):
The Project Management project has a task in it for Project: Add Stuff to the Thingy

To help with searching and @mentioning tasks, I add “Project:” to the beginning of these project level tasks so they stand apart from normal tasks. Inside the task you can see I’ve added stuff to the task’s description that tracks some basic info about the project as a whole.:
image

I could use tags for some of those description items, I haven’t decided because we’re doing that already and they’re not that helpful visually from the board view unless you hover. So I’m considering changing tags in this project to indicate an overall status like the red/yellow/green circles on a project’s Dashboard.

Priority we plan to handle by the order within our Backlog column.

I don’t think we’ll assign an owner to these project tasks because projects generally involve multiple people and this is for management purposes only. We’ll show the Backlog column to people in planning meetings. We’ll go through the Blocked column to identify issues. The task comments will have status updates, which I’ll explain more shortly.

Also, the link in the screenshot above for “Project: Add Stuff to Thingy” is an @mention to the actual project. Clicking it takes me to the working project:
image

This is where all the actual work to “add the stuff” will occur.

But I still don’t have a way back to Project Management from Add Stuff to Thingy. Also, because we’re on the free version of Asana and have many projects, we don’t have a decent way to centralize statuses given our team’s Dashboard can only have 3 projects on it. My idea for this was to create a recurring task in each working project and assign it to someone (a project lead) to provide a weekly status back up to the Project Management board:
image

Now each ongoing project has some items built in that I like a bit better than the Dashboard. I can control when the status reports are due. We can iterate on the process if we don’t like some aspect of it. I’ll miss the Dashboard graph a bit, but I think we can make that up.

I threw these dummy projects together this afternoon to test this out as it’s basically one of my tasks at the moment to come up with something. I’m definitely interested in any feedback and hopefully this might answer some of your concerns, Josh.

Let me know if you have questions.


#6

Thanks Ryan, I understand better how you’re using the @mention function but as you pointed out, it doesn’t sync tasks to the Management Project and you are looking to create a recurring task to manually update that which is what Corey and I are trying to avoid. I have looked at reporting with Google Sheets which looks like a good option once you pay the Premium subscription and I am guessing the Dashboard within Asana will be better then too. Looks like going the paid version is the only way to really get a bird’s eye view of all projects without manual updates.


#7

Great convo here about possibilities. As Josh said, the syncing is really key for our process. I think the dashboard function from what I can see is a little weak for the goals we are after. Instagantt looks really cool though Josh. I think the workload management is killer. Its basic right? Like I have a client coming on board, in a second I need to know which team member has capacity to take it. I would like some input from Asana here on the birdseye view on all projects. To call yourself a PM software, you have to provide an overall view of all projects - its essential stuff. Asana are we missing something?


#8

The recurring task seems equivalent of the Dashboard’s “update me” functionality that can be turned on to remind people to update the status. But that is also manual. I’m trying to understand what syncing you’re looking for. I mean this literally, in that I’m not sure what all might be helpful beyond having a quick update per project that lets me know its overall state. If I need greater detail I can roam the individual projects to get a sense of what’s being worked on.

So please don’t view this confrontationally, I’m simply ignorant and doing work that’s outside my wheelhouse once again. Are you wanting some kind of automatic roll-up of project stats?


#9

Yes, effectively. The need is for an overall view of tasks being worked on currently and what’s overdue so we can talk to the relevant team member to see what they might need assistance with. All this stuff is avaialble in the paid version, I’m finding out so I really just need to get approval for that.


#10

The paid version has this functionality? Is that through the dashboard, because at least in the free version, I don’t get a lot of value out of that view. Maybe the paid has customization of dashboards? I think essentially thats what we are after I guess right? Let me choose what data is on my dashboard.


#11

I think all the paid version gets you is the ability to add as many projects to the dashboard as you want. Currently I don’t bother with the Dashboard, and generally go straight to a specific project and display the Progress tab instead. And I only do that when I want to give someone else (i.e., a manager) a sense of what state a project is in.


#12

I run a marketing team. We have projects, and 2 week sprints we run for tasks within projects. I have one project that is our two week sprint board. I have a main board that is the post it note one that has all projects listed by quarter and backlog of idea projects we want to do. This allows me to showcase what and who is working on what by quarter. I then use sprint in my weekly management meetings to cover what team is engaged on that week.


#13

Yes it seems the board with the master project list is the only way to accomplish this. Thanks for sharing.


#14

@Corey_J_Halstead, I saw a post just now that might be of interest of you.

I often click on other people and look at their My Tasks to get a sense of what they’re working on, I liked the idea of a progress chart per person so voted it up. Figured I’d steer you and whoever else might be following this thread there.


#15

Wow, that’s a lot of manpower to get a result. So much of this could be automated so easily. Someone want to put some of this as a feature request and then we can all vote it up?


#16

Hi there!

I actually just started working on an idea I had to solve this problem. What I came up with a very basic idea, while janky to some degree, it’s a first step ideation wise that anyone could use today.

Let’s say we have 20 active projects, and I am the CEO and want to see a stoplight view of all project performance (by phase), or I am the Lead PM and need to report info up the chain.

The solution I came up was to create a gate at the end of each phase of development, that was dependant on tasks within that phase, for it to be marked complete. I then pulled-in by linking those gate phase tasks, into what I called a Project Health board. While this is far from perfect, it does the job for simple status update by development phase (calendar or timeline view).

Another version of this I’m using follows a similar logic. By using my Master Project Template, with gated phases of development (category wise), I then pull-in each End Gate Completion Task (linked to whatever tasks preceded it), into a Company Health Report (task view). The advantage here is that within this project, I can save the default task view based on custom search field parameters and categories.

It does feel like some of us are creating workarounds to such simple concepts. Linking completion gates, for each phase of development, into a master kanban or task list.

Hope this helps, or at the very least, sparks some creative thinking on different solutions to the similar thing we all are facing (at any size company).

Regards,

Tyler Everett


#17

So after all this discussion, and listening to users like us discuss needs, Asana reacted by adding “portfolios”. The only problem is they used it as a way to get folks to upgrade to a ‘business’ account at double the price of a ‘premium’ account. I guess maybe we shouldn’t voice our wishes here anymore :frowning: