Is There Life Beyond "To Do | Doing | Done" Boards? Answer: "Yes!"

In many Asana client environments I see way too many projects all structured identically with these (or similar) Columns:

  • To Do
  • Doing
  • Done

Surely not everything can best be organized identically in this sole manner! There must be a loss of clarity and understanding or a missed opportunity here.

Not to mention that, in many cases, Asana’s List View amounts to a better choice than Board View given the use case (see also People stuck in board view), and offers more raw power where needed.

But it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice!

I sometimes find it appropriate to recommend a hybrid approach to achieve the best of both worlds.

I start off by showing the most familiar view to the client:

But did you know that it’s possible for that very same Marketing Requests project to appear like this just by clicking its List View tab?:

That’s thanks to the Sort settings menu in List View:

image

Note two things:

  1. Sorted by custom field Type of request
  2. Sort within sections is toggled off

In summary, when it’s really beneficial to use Kanban-style columns, go ahead and use Sections/Columns like To Do, Doing, and Done. But also consider simultaneously tailoring the List View for some other meaningful grouping structure (and Save as default in the overflow menu).

You can have your cake and eat it too!

Hope that helps,

Larry

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@lpb I love this! I never thought about using the sort feature this way.

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Thanks, @Christine_Bolton! I’ve been enjoying and learning from your great replies in the Forum too!

Larry

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Ah the good old trick for the double sections, love it :heart: hard to explain at first, but quite powerful.

PS: I always had problems with the Done column, it pushes people to believe that a column is enough and they often don’t complete tasks. You can indeed have rules to complete automatically but that always bothers me a little…

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Thanks, @Bastien_Siebman. While I personally gravitate to List View, I accept that Kanban really does need the Done column, despite the redundancy with the task’s completion checkbox. Two rules are the best mitigation:

  1. When moved to column Done mark complete, and
  2. When marked complete move to column Done

Updated: You can accomplish the above with a single rule by specifying the “+” for both two Triggers and two Actions:

Triggers: When any of these triggers happen

  • Task moved to a section: Done
  • Task marked complete

Actions:

  • Move task to a certain section: Done
  • Complete task

Thanks,

Larry

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Two things:

  1. That double section / sort by custom field thing just BLEW MY MIND!
  2. What is the point of a Done column? Can anyone enlighten me?
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Thanks!

In Kanban boards, the columns designate stages so people prefer there to be one for Done.

Larry

One of the things I do like about having a Done Column is as a team to acknowledge/celebrate the done/progress.

What I would like that used to be possible a fair while ago was show Incomplete Tasks and Completed Tasks for a period of time eg 7 days or 2 weeks. So at regular rituals you can celebrate what has been done but without the clutter of seeing everything.

Not that I have tried it because I don’t have a business account, but am sure you could create rule to remove the “Done” section from a task after a specific time…

Regards

Jason.

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Great point, @Jason_Woods; I definitely hear this from clients too!

I’m not sure that’s easily done with rules, but I do still see the submenu for Completed tasks:

image

Thanks,

Larry

@lpb

Thanks Larry. I should have added you used to be able to have Incomplete Tasks and Completed Tasks for 7 days etc shown on the view. Selecting 1 week only shows the tasks completed in the last week.

Jason.

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@lpb my recent breakthrough regarding the Done column came from a tip (from you?) that you can have a rule that says “if ANY of those trigger happen - move to done column OR completed THEN complete AND move to done column” :heart:

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Good tip to consolidate two rules into one, whoever thought of that!

I was pretty sure it was you :person_shrugging:

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Your memory is likely better than mine!

not sure if its exactly following your method however, i agree with your point of view. I set up my project in a board view while thinking of how it works in list and timeline views. Like those spider charts made of Post-it notes and string. Then i build the workflow to make it so.

i use additional columns for a basic layout but it works for my needs. Easy to organize slightly more organization to the project from the start. This helped making the workflow in Asana easier since i had the ability to use an additional column.

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I set a rule to move a done task to the done section or column for me. It’s pretty easy to figure out in the Asana rules templates. Give it a try.

Is this solution dependent on custom fields? These are not available in the free version, right?

Welcome, @Amy_Beth_Sisson,

Yes, this tip requires any paid plan because it uses a Custom Field, and that’s not available in the free Asana Basic plan.

Thanks,

Larry

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@lpb How does your recommendation for using both sections and custom fields work with recurring tasks?

For example, I would like to use a rule to move specific recurring tasks due within seven days to a “Current Priorities” section and the rest “Future Priorities” section and have Asana re-update the list every day to move tasks according.

We rely heavily on recurring tasks and custom fields to break out all the accounting work we do. While I love the list view and know how to filter to see my tasks for the day, my team often struggles with doing the same.

Hi @Ufuoma_Ogaga,

This approach is certainly consistent with recurring tasks.

There may be an issue that affects your use of recurring tasks with rules: I’m not sure the triggers fire upon the recurrence creation. But maybe this is the rare benefit of “Due date is approaching” rule only running once daily; maybe it would not cause an issue. I think you’d have to run a test over a couple days to confirm about this but I think it’s worth a try!

Hope that helped a bit,

Larry

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