🚦 Dealing with external clients - How much access should they have?

How much Asana access to give to external clients?

I really don’t know how often I have been in discussions regarding this topic over the past years :sweat_smile:

I guess there is not really one way on how it should be done all the time, it really depends on your team and your clients.

Since this has been challenging at times I thought I’d share my experience on how we have handled this with various clients and some issues we have experienced and how we solved them.

:vertical_traffic_light: Giving a lot of access - Pro’s and Con’s

For one of our companies, we created a team in Asana for every new client we onboard.
Then within that team, we have one dashboard for our coordinators (where all tasks are listed)
Then we have a separate project for the marketing team, the developer team and the design team where only the relevant tasks for these team members are added. (All the tasks in the special projects are always tagged to the coordinator project as well as they would want to have an overview of everything).

At the very start, we gave our clients comment only access to some projects, such as the marketing project, however, we soon noticed that they got way more involved than we wanted them + this way they were also able to immediately see whenever a task is delayed or communication between our team members regarding the execution of the tasks. Sometimes also our team members added tasks in the project that the client should not see. Also we are using Hubstaff for time tracking and the tracker would post an update daily on hrs worked per day and total hrs worked on this task which is another thing we don’t want/need clients to see.

So considering all these factors in the end we decided it was not wise to invite the clients to these projects directly

:vertical_traffic_light: Medium level access - Pro’s and Con’s

Instead, we created one project within the team restricted to the coordinators and the client where the coordinators then picked specific tasks or updates to be shown there.
Or let’s say the marketing team would require details from the client, then they would create a subtask under their task and only this subtask gets added to the client project.

Then instead of the client seeing every tiny detail of the process, we provided them with regular updates on how everything is going 1-2 times per week via the Asana project status update and they did communicate via Asana Messages + 1 call per week.

:vertical_traffic_light: Giving very limited access- Pro’s and Con’s

Now for another company, the projects we are working on are smaller so we did not create a team per project but instead just one Asana project per client (to which only the internal team has access to) and we would provide the clients with a weekly report (in form of Asana dashboard/Portfolio)

:vertical_traffic_light: Full access - Pro’s and Con’s

Then we also have some clients with which we built a better relationship over years already. For those, we know that it would be okay to give them more access directly.

We would also allow them to add tasks directly of things they need us to work on (For the few clients we do this for it is okay since we bill the time directly (we use Hubstaff meaning the client can also see the total time tracked daily since reports are pulled directly. I wrote more about this here.

:vertical_traffic_light:View / Read Only Access
A newer feature released by Asana is read-only links. @lpb has listed all the advantages of using this approach when working with external clients in a post here: Working with External Clients

To summarize what I would say is that it really depends on the clients you perform work for as to how much access/visibility you want them to have.

Would be keen to hear your thoughts on this topic and how you are handling it?

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Very helpful! Thanks fo sharing @Andrea_Mayer :star:

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Fantastic breakdown of all the scenarios and your take on it. I like it.

Personally, I am pro having client per project rather than per team. They can join as guests, give them full access to interact. Make sure everyone is aware this is a client facing project. And then have a back up private project where behind the scenes happen. You can multihome tasks where need and provide update accordingly.

Having said all of that, I can see the reason behind each and every usercase you shared and why some teams would prefer one approach to the next.

Rashad

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Can anyone clarify? If a client is invited to Asana as a guest by being assigned to a task within a project (not as a member of the project or the team), I know that they should only be able to view that task they are assigned to, not any other tasks within the project. However, what happens if the task they are assigned to is multi-homed into another project…does the client see that there are multiple projects and/or see the other tasks within the “new” project the task is multi-homed to which they are not assigned to?

Hey @Ashley_DeVore,
if only this task is assigned to them they will only see that and nothing else.
No projects, no other tasks.
They will see other guest users added to the task as „private user“ unless both are added to the same project then they can see each others name.

More info here: Working with Guests in an Organization • Asana and Manage Asana Project and Guest Permissions - The Asana Blog

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Thank you @Andrea_Mayer , very interesting topic. I’ve been also managing project in the way you say. Lastly, most of the projects I manage are with what you call “Medium level access”. I don’t fully like this in some situations and I would rather want to have the choice to add private internal comment in my organization instead of opening always a new internal task in the internal project.

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Hey @Julen_Arzelus_IGARLE,
thanks for your feedback.

I mean you could create the task in the project the client has access to and once they shared their comments if needed remove the task from the client project and only leave it in the internal team project regarding this client.
Or what might work also is instead of a complete new task you have to create you add a subtask under the main task the team has access too and tag that task under the client project as well. Only downside is you have to make sure all your team members know about this not that they add wrong comments or info in the subtask that the clients should not see.

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Thank you @Andrea_Mayer, thanks for your feedback.
The option of removing the task from the customer’s project is not valid for me, as need to comment tasks could come and go and it could need internal/external comments in any moment.
It’s quite ok the option of creating subtasks, I will have a look into this option.
Thank you.

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