For a long time, I thought I was the only one thinking “Never complete someone else’s tasks in Asana”!
But today is an important day: I have proof Asana themselves agree with me!
You can see on the screenshot they are now warning you when completing something that isn’t yours.
But you might wonder “why is this a bad practice?”. There are two reasons:
- you completely took away the joy of completing from the assignee. No flying unicorns for them, you thief!
- you have no idea if they were actually done. Maybe they did the task itself, but wanted to still reflect on what was done, follow up with someone, document something…
What’s the best practice then? Ask them in the comments if the task can be completed. If yes, potentially assign to yourself and then complete… (this last part could be debated).
What do you think?
I completely agree with you! It’s important to respect the assigned task and allow the assignee to have the satisfaction of completing it themselves. Plus, completing someone else’s task without their permission could lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications. Asking for permission and confirming with them before completing the task is definitely the best practice. Thank you for bringing this up!
My take, FWIW:
If you’re unsure that the task has been fully completed, the process you indicate here is good.
If you’re quite sure the task is complete, mark complete and @mention the assignee in a comment asking them to reverse if incorrect. They’ve already likely failed to take action once (leaving the task incomplete), so why risk it happening again in this case?
If I did the work, the unicorns are mine!!
Actually, I would also re-assign to myself so it shows up as my work or make a sub-task of my own with the work.
You made me laugh aloud and LOUD (“No flying unicorns for them, you thief!” THANK you for this!
That’s what I think too @Kathryn_Carruthers1
I find it interesting that the men on this thread see “don’t complete a task not assigned to you” as just marking it complete for someone else, and the women see “don’t complete a task not assigned to you” as they actually completed the work for someone else. I wonder if this says something interesting about gender norms in the workplace.
When I saw the title, I also assumed it was referring to actually completing the work - in which case - I will check that mark!
If you are not sure the work is done, then use the “approval” process if necessary. I drop a link to the task in our chat to the assignee if I am not sure. If I did the work I re-assign & complete. If I did some work I’ll create a sub-task to track that work. We also will mark things completed during re-cap meetings so the assignee is actually saying it’s done. At that point whoever has the focus on the task will complete it.
Astute observation - I think you are onto something here…
Your point gives one pause; thanks for that. (Though I was familiar with the underlying issue already so I knew the context, FWIW.)
@Bastien_Siebman, maybe change the title and references in your post from “Do not complete tasks not assigned to you!” to something like “Do not mark as complete tasks not assigned to you!”? I would have made the edit myself but that would be too much like marking your task complete
I bet these situations are not unusual:
- The parent task has been resolved but there are still subtasks open, apparently forgotten.
- The project has been completed or forgotten and it’s time to archive it, but there are old tasks still open.
If it’s just one task or two, you might contact the owner(s) and ask them to resolve, although depending on the context that may also be perceived in a mixed way. Resolving the tasks and completing your own cleaning task has the benefit of not bothering people much, and they still see that someone cleaned up for them (which might contribute to them being more attentive next time).
I know, not ideal, but real projects with real people are rarely ideal, and not everyone is sitting on top of their Asana’s backlog.
That’s the whole problem, everyone should review their My Tasks regularly, and be trained properly on what is the most important view. When people tell me “I don’t use My Tasks, I just read my emails”, I die a little inside
Title changed @lpb thanks!
I did a lunch & learn on Asana at my workplace because I couldn’t understand how people are not using Asana more regularly. The questions asked blew my mind! What I found really interesting is that I had set some things up initially that I had forgotten about (showing only uncompleted tasks in My Tasks) and did not realize how messy My Tasks can be if not used properly. It was eye-opening!
If you’re not the assignee and you mark it as complete, you’re taking responsibility away from someone else doing the job they’re meant to. While you might have completed their task for them, when we generate reports for the directors it’s not your name that gets the praise.
That might not be a factor for smaller businesses where there’s more face to face with each other, but with larger ones the task completed number and % does matter when evaluating performance.
Important to add that setting a convention around this before jumping in is probably a good idea, who completes and when. If you are completing a task on behalf of someone else, in my option you should be the assignee, if someone has forgotten to complete their task then they should be prompted with a comment on the task i.e “has this been completed”.
I’m from a small company (less than 50 ppl) and my Operations department works collaboratively. Sometimes we have several people trained to do a certain task, and if I’m in there and do it, then I mark it done. I’m not worried about reports or %, I’m more concerned with teamwork, collaboration and helping eachother out when able.
Totally get your point for a corporate system!
A prompt like the prompt that appears when you try to complete a task with a dependence not completed, maybe a great solution.
But maybe great also more granularity in the user right: now a user has full rights or “only comment”.
Asana should create a rights system based on actions and roles.
But we must remember that continues to exist a terrible bug: the user tagging system is completely without any control if the tagged user is in the task, project, or team and the risk to tag “dangerous” persons is too high
Sometimes I do complete other people’s tasks when I am 100% sure that they are done (although I am aware of flying unicorns effect). I do it because it clogs my holistic view on tasks in a project, and it makes my work as PM more difficult (so I can miss something that is actually not done). And yes, I do the education on marking tasks completed so we all have the proper information, but sometimes people are just being people .
Albeit, I might use this new feature for another approach to motivating my team members so they do it on their own
LOL, this is quite the engaging discussion. I serve as the project coordinator for my compact team of five members. We convene twice a week to discuss ongoing projects. Regrettably, my team consistently neglects to mark their tasks as completed. Despite my exhaustive efforts to motivate them – like suggesting they include subtasks for better clarity, ensure completed tasks are ticked off, take notes, adjust deadlines following discussions with the boss – I find myself, in every meeting, investing my time not just verifying and ticking off items on their behalf because they’ve seemingly “forgotten,” but also making all the simple adjustments they could do themselves so they could manage their workloads better.
I hold the belief that each individual should be responsible for marking their own tasks as complete. Failure to carry out this fundamental action essentially amounts to a failure in utilizing the tool as it was intended. Not only that, but it also results in wastage of a fellow team member’s time, as they are forced to verify completion, confirm check-off viability, modify task assignments, and so forth. The underlying purpose of the tool is to establish accountability. Therefore, my perspective is straightforward: they should do the work. Furthermore, the boss (our Project Manager, should enforce accountability.)
Now, having expressed all of this, it’s quite amusing that our boss happens to be the foremost practitioner of not using the tools correctly!