Meaningful tracking of dependencies

Hi! We use Asana for several different production pipelines of different product types. When they are standalone (independent), the workflow is easy. But when they are dependent on each other — such as being bundled together or scheduled to be completed at the same time — it gets very messy.

For example, say I publish books (I don’t). I have a big book release coming up, and while the book is the main event, there’s also an audiobook (tracked in a different Asana project), and promo videos (tracked in another project), and 30 stops on the book tour (tracked in yet another project). All of these disparate things have their own templates and subtasks, yet they all need to be linked together in a meaningful way, so we make sure that A happens before B, and they are all coordinated.

I have been experimenting with the new dependencies selector. That seems useful, but maybe not great for this complexity.

What is the best way to think about capturing and coordinating all of this in Asana? Thanks!

Asana’s dependency features are simplistic, and I would not be comfortable relying on them for this type of behavior, TBH. Comparing them to Microsoft Project, for instance… MS Project allows Finish to Start, Start to Start, Start to Finish, and Finish to Finish dependencies, along with a fixed separation that can be positive or negative. This, along with explicit rules that can push tasks to either their latest or earliest possible dates, would allow e.g. Task A to start as late as it can, while still finishing 3 days before Task B finishes. Asana can’t do that…it only can do Finish to Start with a 0 separation. TBH, MS Project wasn’t always a breeze either.

If this were me, I’d probably set up searches or recurring tasks to remind me to review recent project changes and see what dates I need to manage actively.

The alternative might be to use Flowsana (an extension), or perhaps set up a range of rules that do automated moves. It all depends on your scale and scope.


Stephanie, great advice. Thank you!

Hi @Scott_Murray

Dependencies are always a challenge to manage and ensure that components or teams are not blocked. As @Stephanie_Oberg pointed out Asana or even MS Project are limited in their ability to effectively manage them. You don’t want a situation where you have one task dependant on 50 other tasks or one task blocking 50 other tasks…

I would look at utilising a combination of Milestones and Dependencies and also regular Checkins…

I would identify Key Milestones along the Journey and then flag the tasks that the completion of that Milestone.
Then by Linking the Milestones together in a dependency flow it can be easier to Visulalise.
I would definitely look at having a regular checkin process that monitors and discusses the dependencies to make sure any issues with achieving the Milestones are dealt with as soon as possible.

I run a once a fortnight Dependency meeting for a project that I am running across 5 streams and 3 different vendors. This give me a clear understanding of where these dependencies are up to.

Hope that helps…



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