Overlapping Task Due Dates within Project

I am trying to plan out a Project that could have tasks that overlap in due date ranges. For instance, while Task A is being reviewed, I can begin Task B. Then, once I’ve received notes on Task A, I’ll send out Task B for review and begin addressing the notes on Task A.

Since Task A & B will be staggered, what’s the best way to track that the Project is on track to be completed, as a whole, by the deadline? Given 5 tasks, is there an easy way to make sure, e.g., Tasks A & B are completed within the first 2/5ths of the Project timeline?

Let me know if my question can be clearer. Thanks for any suggestions/best practices!

Maybe you can use the critical path? Another way would be to define milestones with hard dates and make sure they don’t shift?

Thanks! I’ll look into that.

New user of Asana here. I’ve used Zoho Project, BaseCamp, Team Gantt, etc. From what I can tell by the Dependencies dialog in Asana Tasks, you cannot specify “overlap”. Is this correct?

Welcome, @Tom_Huntford,

Correct; they’re start-to-end or end-to-start dependencies only, if that’s understandable terminology! But you can define them with gaps and then maintain those gaps by moving multiple tasks at once in Timeline or Gantt view maintaining the relative dates, and specifying “Maintain buffer” for certain individual date changes:

Thanks,

Larry

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@Alex_Cap

  1. Use Gantt. Find it using the + icon at the far right of the view menu.
  2. As @lpb mentioned, use the … menu at the far, far right find “Dependency management options” that allow you to control “buffer” (which is actually the overlap or delay between Tasks).
  3. Sketch out your project with overlaps and delays, without any dependencies
  4. Add the dependencies
  5. Move the entire project or just pieces of it by setting the “Dependency management options”
  6. Also use the Duration field of the Gantt to control the duration of Tasks, and the “Dependency management options” setting will be honored as far as I can tell.

Here, I dragged task 220 to make it longer. You can see the whole project moved, and the amount of overlap with Task 300 was preserved.

You have to work with the Dependency settings to get a feel for how things move in accordance with the buffer settings. And you can either turn the buffer setting to off, or manually delete a dependency, if you need to make an adjustment that need a fine-tune that a mor automated approach won’t achieve, then turn the buffer setting back on to lock it.

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@Alex_Cap
Also, this way, ALL the dates of the Tasks move! Let’s say the entire project needs to move out a month, but all the overlaps and delays and finish-to-start dependencies need to be maintained.
Using the Maintain Buffer setting, you can move just the first Task, and the entire project will move, and ALL the dates will move!!

Here, I turned the Dependency setting to “None” (basically, “unlock the entire project structure”), so I could re-adjust my project structure a bit to avoid stuff moving all over the place. Then I turned the Dependency setting to “Maintain buffer” (basically, “lock the project structure”). I’m moving the incomplete tasks (I have a custom Status field that is color-coded and I’m coloring the Gantt by that field, see the “Color: % Complete” at the top-right of the Gantt). Note all the dates are moving…The dates are showing in the List View, and note the duration is showing in the Task’s Calendar as well!

And BIG shout out to @lpb for showing us the Dependency management settings!! Thanks Larry!

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Looks like someone’s not so new to Asana anymore!

Thanks! Yes, playing around with the dependency settings helps to get a feel for how it will behave when you change things (so you can be aware of when it’s better to temporarily turn it off).

This even works for subtask dates (as long as dependencies are likewise set up for them)!

I don’t like how tasks in the past will also move with maintain buffer, but I suppose it is doing what’s advertised. I’ve tried Flowsana (which allows for dependency management that doesn’t affect the dates of old tasks), but the date shift happens way faster natively in Asana. Sometimes I just want to adjust all following tasks while maintaining the buffer. Theoretically, Consume Buffer would help, but I’ve found that setting behaves strangely when there are several overlaps.

@Alex_Cap If the tasks in the past are marked Complete, they don’t move when Maintain Buffer is on:

  1. I have a custom column, color coded, “% Complete” (options are 0%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 90%, 100%).
  2. I have a Rule: when % Complete is changed to 100%, then mark the Task as Complete.
  3. Because I have my % Complete field color coding 100% as Grey, and note that the Gantt Color is pegging to % Complete (upper right), you can see that the first two Tasks have been marked as “Complete”, using the standard Asana status, which the Gantt recognizes. Note at the far right, the green check symbol and that the Task Name is greyed. This show the task is Asana-complete also.
  4. So I have Maintain Buffers on
  5. I drag the next non-complete task out:

First set: I just drag the first non-complete Task out:
Second set: I increase the duration of the first non-complete Task by lengthening the bar:
Third set: I increase the Duration of the first non-complete Task by changing the Duration:
Note: each time, I used the same method to return Task 1.20 to an ealier position. Now, if I had the “Consume Buffer” on, I could have move the whole thing out, but when I brought it back in, all the dependent tasks would have been left way out there.

IMO this is actually very nice PM functionality! These forums have helped me focus on figuring out the Gantt functionality of Asana, and I’m liking it!

@Alex_Cap …and remember, Consume Buffer means buffers are allowed to compress until the dependent task begins immediately after the precedent task. So yes, if there are a bunch of dependencies, and some have actual buffer (dependent task starts a significant time after the precedent task ends), then it can get really squirrely. And, when you try to move stuff back…YEOW!

@Tom_Huntford Yeah, I get that about completed tasks – I’m actually referring to incomplete tasks that have dates prior to the task you want to move. Sounds like this may be a situation for temporarily switching off dependency management. Thanks for the screenshots, etc.!