Help with managing Workload

I’ve set up a portfolio that contains all our team’s projects. In each project, I’ve included a field called Hours Estimate per task… assignee, due date or date range, and completed the hours estimate. The portfolio reads that info fine.

My question for date ranges… If I’ve said a task is going to take 40 hours across a date range of a month, the workload works fine at the beginning of the month. However, there’s no easy way to decrement the time to keep it current… we either have to create a bunch of subtasks with smaller amounts of time they complete… or keep lowering the hours estimate on the main task.

This makes no sense for ease-of-use managing a lot of people across 50+ projects. Can someone explain how you use workload management? I’m getting a lot of pushback from our managers that it’s basically useless. Please explain to me how it’s really being used IRL.

Hello @Heather_Beaudoin,

I am not quite sure if I understand why you would have to reduce the hours.

When you have a task with multiple days, Effort will be split evenly over weekdays (skipping weekends). For example, a 10 hour task over 2 days will be 5 hours each day. If the task goes Friday to Monday, it will be 5 hours on Friday, 5 hours on Monday. (More info here Workload • Asana)

So basically workload allows you to ensure nobody has more tasks than they can handle.

Based on your message I understood it more in the sense of you trying to see estimated hours vs actual hours worked already, unless I am misunderstanding you?

Many use a combination of workload (to ensure the work is balanced between team members) and then also having custom fields with „estimated hours“ and „actual hours or completed hours“ and then when switching to list view it would calculate the sum nicely or you can also create graphs to gain an overview. I have shared more info about this topics recently here in case you are interested:

Let me know if this helps or otherwise I‘d appreciate if you can explain a bit further to gain more clarity :slight_smile:

p.s. in case you have quite some tasks with many subtasks I recommend rather splitting them up into tasks instead as this helps keeping a clear overview and also with the workload (because then you have several smaller tasks that get completed over time and not big tasks that have a high nr of hours assigned due to many subtasks.)
I mean yes the amount of subtasks would show under workload but still if subtasks are assigned to various people and they kind of take part of the workload of the main task, things can get a bit messy.
Here is a great post prepared by Bastien reg this matter: 💡 Subtasks: when to use them, when not to use them

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Thanks for your thoughtful reply! A bit more info…

  • We have one main roadmap project that we use for prioritization where all requests/initiatives are listed as a task. If the initiative is small enough, we don’t create a separate project… we just create a few subtasks and list the hours in the subtasks. If it’s large enough, we dual-home it into another project and list all the hours in the tasks there.
  • In either case, if a task can take 40 hours but it’s not due for a month, we can either just put the deadline or the month date range and list 40 in the hours estimate field.
  • At the start of the month, that workload is evenly distributed. That’s great. But imagine I actually do 10 hours of the work the first week, and 20 hours of the work the 2nd week. I’m actually 2/3 done with the task, but the workload shows I still have all 40 hours left for the last two weeks of the month because I haven’t indicated 30 hours completion in any way.
  • That’s why I’m saying I’d have to decrease the hours or break the task down into smaller chunks (instead of the full 40 hours), which seems incredibly tedious.

Did this help explain my concern about keeping workload current?

Ah okay yes this makes sense.
And yeah that is correct.
So yes in that case you would have to update the field or if you do not want the initial hour estimation changed maybe have a second custom field where you can key in the hours still left. Then in workload you could switch between the views.

The only other way would be working with a time tracking tool in combination.

But yes with the workload set up I am afraid you will have to update as you said if more hrs are worked on during one day.

I’m confused how others use Workload Management ‘properly’. We currently don’t pay for a time tracking integration with Asana. Do you never allocate a large amount of hours to one task? It has to be broken down into a bunch of subtasks that can be completed to take it off the week’s/month’s schedule? We wanted to be able to allocate let’s say 20 hours per month for various tasks like regular reports someone has to run. Someone else estimated 400 hours per year, which is like 8 hours per week. However, they may not do them evenly. They may be heavily in one week and less in other weeks. It seems really hard to keep current and accurate.

Can you give me an example of the ‘proper’ way people are using Workload Mgmt?

Yeah I completely understand. One thing I think has to be kept in mind that Asana is no time tracking tool per se. Meaning Asana would not know how much time somebody working unless it can pull the info from somewhere, which would be custom fields in this case or the total tasks which makes the whole thing more complex.
Hence why Asana evenly splits the hours based on the days.

I get your point if let‘s say somebody has 3 tasks assigned in a week
Task A: 8 hours
Task B: 12 hours
Task C: 20 hours

They are all assigned to go across Mo-Fr.

Now this person might work 8 hours on Task C on Monday but no work is done on the other tasks. So it would kind of not be as correct based on the workload either. Except for that for the planned time range the schedule was planned and the coordinator knows this person is full with tasks.

Now from my end I can see that we use the Workload feature mainly when we have a new project that is planned out to prepare on overview. But we also work with custom fields as explained above already as Asana needs to be able to pull the input data from somewhere. Especially for big tasks that is crucial.

In general however we try to avoid big tasks and rather split things up more into columns + we use milestones and goals.

Since we have the custom fields added for allocated time, consumed time, allocated costs (for expenses such as when we work on client delivery tasks), consumed costs and more, we work with list view there as well a lot as there we can see the summary nicely as well.

Some open feedback request topics you might be interested in upvoting:

And here two interesting posts as well:

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