Help me understand Projects and Tasks; certain obvious features seem to be missing.

We’re at a bit of a quandary with how to use Asana for our manufacturing Jobs. Do we use “Tasks”, or "Projects’? These jobs are exceptionally complex, they pass through about 50 phases of development (from sales to install), and frequently take over a year to complete.

We currently use “Tasks” for Jobs, but are finding that some features available to “Projects” are becoming necessary. But, if we do that, we lose several of the features of “Tasks”, and the whole thing ends up being a wash. I’m not a rookie user, we’ve been on Asana for 5 years now, so I know the ropes, but I feel like I’m missing something. At the price point we’re paying for the Business level, I feel like these things I’m missing shouldn’t be missing.

Using “TASK” for Jobs–

  • I don’t get a Timeline/Calendar view for the Subtasks in the Job. I need to be able to see all the Subtasks (and sub-subtasks) within the Parent Task so that I can effectively drag/drop the task due dates as situations change.
  • Custom Fields are messy and not collapsible. We LOVE Custom fields, and we use about 15 of them on each Job (Task), but they aren’t collapsible, and cannot be moved to the “bottom” of the project. They really make a cluttered mess out of a complex project.

Using “PROJECTS” for Jobs:

  • Project Name doesn’t show up on any Calendar or Timeline view of all the tasks within that project. This is a huge problem when you use secondary Projects in Asana as calendars. We have a Project for “Install”, and when you open the Install Project calendar (or timeline), all you see is a bunch of tasks that say “Deliver” and “Install”. Those tasks are automatically created by the project template. Surely there’s a way to get the job name (Project Name) included on the task on Calendar views without us manually editing all those tasks to paste in the job name.

  • I don’t have a way of tracking a Project’s progress through the phases of development. Our jobs move in a linear fashion from one phase of development to the next. We can simulate this on Asana if jobs are ‘tasks’ and we use Board View task Sections to represent the phases. We just move it from one section to another. If we use Projects for jobs, I don’t know how to get this.

I understand that there are third-party services available to help with some of these sorts of things, like Zapier, Flowsana, etc, and I have no bias against them. But these are things that seem to me that Asana should natively be able to do. And, I’m trying so very, very hard to avoid complicated setups, and bringing in third-party services just adds another layer of complexity to something that someone is going to have to manage.

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