Hi! Total Asana newbie here. I’m trying to set up Asana for a Virtual Assistant company. So we have lots of different clients, with each client having multiple projects (some daily maintenance tasks, some one-off projects). The company will have multiple VAs in the near future. (I’ve been looking in the Use Case forum and searching the other forums for this info, to no avail, but if anyone knows of a post that addresses this situation, that’d be great if you could point it out to me.)
I need a way to track the day’s tasks and subtasks for all resource/team members, and work with their workloads and tasks/sub-tasks, across all clients and projects. What’s the best practice for setting up Asana to do this? I’d like to just go to one screen and see every task and sub-task scheduled for that day. A Search and Report to do this would be fine, but I can’t seem to find a search that searches for any task on today’s date.
I was thinking I’d set up each client as a Portfolio, and each Portfolio has a group of projects for each client. Then I’d make a Portfolio with every single project in it across the enterprise and use its Timeline. But after I set up some test portfolios and projects, I can’t seem to see any tasks in the timeline–do I need to be an Organization to do that and see the tasks? I can see milestones, but not tasks. Sales seems to think I need to be an organization, but when I asked Support about it, they didn’t seem to think I needed to be an Organization.
Another possibility is that I could set up each client as a Project, with sections for each project, or some such, but it doesn’t seem to solve the task reporting.
Sorry if this is an idiotic question, but I can’t seem to find the answer in the support files or the forum! Halp?
Not an idiotic question by a long shot. It’s a very reasonable use case. However, it’s not necessarily a simple one, let alone one that Asana will be strong at. Just one example of why it’s not simple…
What do you consider “the day’s tasks”? Is it some combination of the following:
- Start date today
- End date today
- Due date in the past and Incomplete, hence Overdue on today (does this apply if the due date was 1-2 years ago?)
- Start date <= TODAY and Due date >= TODAY (after all, those should be in progress, hence being worked on today)
- Task with no start date that is due in the next X days
- Task without an end date
- Overdue task that was due to end within last X days
Unfortunately, Asana won’t allow you to do most of the above. What you can readily do is find tasks that are Incomplete and Due within last X days. However, that misses out all of 1 to 7 above (I think, per my 30 second review…superusers, please feel free to jump in and correct me).
You can make the job easier by strict protocols. For instance, have other processes to avoid creation or tolerance of tasks in any of the categories 1-7. (Granted, it can be challenging to root out such examples without an effective search tool to find them.) If you’re the only person creating or editing tasks, you can just discipline your own procedures to enable cleaner search results.
Example: You could make all the tasks you want to look at today have an end date of today. Then the search is easy.
Example 2: You could use a tag or custom field to find all of today’s tasks, after you have identified them via multiple searches. This definitely works, and for certain users it may be tolerable. It does require a huge amount of error-prone maintenance that wouldn’t be needed if the search tool were more flexible.
Omigosh. Thanks so much for that, Stephanie, it’s truly appreciated.
It may be that Asana isn’t the right tool for this use, sadly. Perhaps I’ll pay monthly for a bit and see if it works out every other way…I like the interfaces available otherwise!
So, I thought I’d come back and let anyone searching for this information know what we ended up with. (Below, all the capitalized words are the Asana term and lower case terms are how we’re using them in this instance of Asana; so a Project is the client, in this usage.)
We re-set this up as a Premium account, and made it an Organization. Everything is under one Team. Each client is set up as a Project under the Team. Each Section of the Project is a different project for the client, with the additions of a column for meetings and other contacts pertaining to the client, and a column called Random Tasks for tasks that are unassigned to a project. SubTasks are always tagged with a project name (always colored grey) so they will show up later.
These Sections make it easy to color code by tags so I can see at a glance the general overall picture of what’s being worked on.
While it is not perfect, we can then go to the Team’s calendar view and see all the tasks for any given day. While this will become pretty unwieldy once there’s a lot of tasks and team members, and I can’t work directly with the tasks (balancing work weights/loads easily, for instance), it more than halves the cost of Asana per month, and will do for now, since right now there’s only one resource and three clients!
I hope this might help any other small business with multiple clients and with many projects to manage.