Meaningful Summary of Projects?

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#1

Hi I’m new here and testing out Asana for my team.

We’re accustomed to using Teamwork where it’s easy to manage all “projects” easily in a Kanban board for example.

In Asana there is no managing of Projects (can’t even tag them). So I thought the workaround of creating Sections to represent Projects would solve my issue since Sections have the same functionality as tasks.

But then I discovered that Advanced Search never displays Sections. Back to square one.

I’ve already done a webinar, some academy lessons and contacted support to no avail. So much time.

For the life of me I can’t figure out a work around for getting insights on projects.

At a basic level, I just need add tags to projects and be able to display an aggregate list of projects based on the tagged criteria they meet.

Thanks for any help.


How set an overall status to entire project
#2

Hi and welcome, @Monique_Lay,

One approach would be to adopt a standard of including one “reference” task in every project that you want to keep track of.

For all such reference tasks, make the task title be a short phrase describing the project. “Multi-home” (add the task to another project as well as the one project it’s already in) the task to a project called “Projects Summary” (you will need to first create this project so you can multi-home into it; I like List projects though you could make it a Board project if you prefer).

The Projects Summary project now will have a task corresponding to every project you want to track. It will show the unique project name of each task (not unlike a tag) on the task’s line (card if Board project) and you can even color code these, and the brief phrase describing the project as the task’s title. You can create any Sections (Columns if Board project) to group these project entries as you see fit, and drag and drop the tasks into the groupings that make sense to you.

It’s not automatic because you have to remember to add the entry manually for each project, but it’s not too hard, and you can even do more with it (a longer description in the Description field, custom fields, etc.) if you need more metadata about each project for your summary.

Hope that helps!

Larry Berger
Asana2Go & Asana Certified Pro consultant at Trilogi Software


#3

Thanks for the response, Larry.

With the solution you suggested, what do you do to help distinguish the reference task from all other tasks. I work with several contractors who are very content to use email so I want using Asana to be very inviting such that I don’t need to explain a bunch of non-intuitive convention rules like “never check off these tasks…”

That’s what I hoped Sections would do-- create an obvious distinction between reference objects and tasks.

In Teamwork, I just assign a project to them and they know all the tasks are for them.

BTW I did consider telling them to only check off tasks which are assigned to them. But templates also gave me problems in that I created templates and input each assignee until I realized that all the templates had populated permanent tasks onto everyone’s My Tasks – this would definitely be a confusing point that would bring resistance to the transition.


#4

Those are great questions.

To use the method I outlined and clearly distinguish the reference task, you could keep it as the last task in the project so it’s out of the way, and precede it with a Section for the exact reasons you mentioned, like this:

Real Task 1
Real Task 2
Real Task 3
Project Reference (Internal use only):
Build widget module A100

You could also use only a portion of the approach I mentioned and skip having these multi-homed reference tasks: Just manually assemble the Projects Summary yourself. Since you won’t have the the project noted automatically for each task because you’re not multi-homing, I’d make the title of each task the project name, optionally followed by the short descriptive phrase, like:

Build widget module A100 - The motor assembly and housing

You can still group those as described earlier and optionally add metadata.

Re your BTW: The assignments-in-templates issue is one others have asked about too; there isn’t currently a way to disguise the assignment from the assignee even though it’s still just a template. You can have all assignees Mark as Later their template tasks until they become real tasks, but that will necessitate involving them (once only per template) and I’m sure is just the kind of thing you’re trying to avoid! So assigning after instantiating the template seems better.


#5

We use a method similar to that suggested by Larry. At the top of each project, we have a section called “info” where we put tasks that aren’t really tasks. (I agree it would be nice to have a type of task that can’t be checked off.) In that section we make a task called “Summary: [project name]”. We put basic info on the project in the description of that task. The summary task has tags that make it searchable, so we can generate reports.

Adding the summary tasks to a summary project would be an alternative or additional way to organize that info; I may look into that.

We have built templates for different project types that have sections and tasks set up. The summary task can already have its tags and additional projects in the template, so it’s pretty automatic.


#6

Another +1 for adding content that isn’t tasks that can be checked off. This omission is a big part of why I describe Asana to every new contractor as “basically a gussied up to-do list”.


#7

Interesting Thread. I like the idea of adding a summary task to each project that gets added to an Overview project. We already do something similar, but this is a more formal approach. We have opted to use the Board format for nearly all of our projects, and have been putting the summary information in the Project Description section. This section can be shown/hidden, so that’s a plus when considering “real estate” on the screen. I’ll give an Info column a try and see how that works for us! Thanks for the info. :slight_smile: