How to trigger creating & assigning a new task by completing a prior task

Hi there, I’m having some trouble getting my Asana template to do what I’m imagining and it’s making me wonder if I’m conceptualizing how to use the tool differently than intended or just can’t figure out how to accomplish what I want.

Some context
We have a project template for some of our recurring projects like our monthly newsletter. The process of creating the newsletter requires the same sequential set of steps to be completed by our various team members in a given order.

In the project template, I have a few sections for the various phases of that process (drafting, assembly, distribution). Each section has a handful of tasks, and each given task will be completed by the same member of the team every month, but many of those tasks cannot be started until prior dependent tasks are completed.

What I want to have happen is when a specific task (or even better, once multiple tasks) in a given section are completed, for another task in a different section to be assigned (or created, and then assigned using a task template).

[E.g. Once “review copy” is marked complete by Steve the copy editor and “design graphics” is completed by Lisa the designer in the “Drafting” section, to automatically trigger “build HTML file” task to be assigned to Jim the coder in the “Assemble” section so that Jim knows he is now ready to do his part without needing the copy editor or designer to assign Jim his step, they just have to hit complete on their own task.]

I figured I could accomplish either by automating assigning a preexisting, unassigned task in the “Assemble” section that is already there as part of the project template or by having an automation for “build HMTL file” task to be created from a task template once the prior tasks are completed.

But looking through the automation suggestions, most are “when task is moved to a section.” So am I thinking of sections and tasks all wrong? Because to me, sections are phases of a process and tasks are action steps, a verb that is either not yet started (or able to be started so therefore not yet assigned to someone), working on it (assigned), or done (marked as complete). And then they’re complete, that’s it, cross it off the list. If sections are phases of a sequential process, tasks would never move between them.

But I’ve seen examples of other people treating sections more like statuses (especially using Kanban view), but to me having sections like not started, in progress, reviewing, complete is far less useful.

Am I just in the minority and using the tool wrong, or is there a way to use it as I’ve described?

Welcome, @Allison_Freed,

Both types of sections (project phases, Kanban boards) are valid in different project contexts. You should continue to use the sections that make sense to you for this project.

Rules have many kinds of triggers, not just moving to a section.

The simplest solution in your specific case, I believe, would be to include the known, pre-existing task assignments and various task dependencies among the tasks in your project template.

Assigned tasks with incomplete dependencies will appear with an hourglass icon and sometimes a warning if attempted to be marked complete.

Each user, in their My Tasks, should add a rule (if they don’t already have it) like this:

This will alert them to their newly unblocked assigned work.

If you want to handle this all in the project, it will be more complex to add rules for that, and not the best way to deploy Asana, but you could make use of rule triggers based on a single-select custom field where each option represents a different trigger you need.

Hope that helps,

Larry

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