As far as my research has gone, the recent implementation of dependencies and timelines still fails to address the needs of content managers. Throughout my searches for a workable solution, I’ve seen this scenario posted for years on the Asana boards and elsewhere:
“I have a parent task for a content project, dated with the desired publication day. Each subtask requires a given time frame in the process, also dated with the necessary completion date. When a subtask is delayed, or when the publication itself is delayed, I would like the dates of each subtask to advance into the future with the parent task, preserving the time frame for each.”
Every time, the proposed solutions are a paid integration like InstaGantt (an absolute UX nightmare) or some really kludgy workflow that clutters the project board. My org maintains business Asana accounts, but limits integrations. I would like for the content calendar view to be actually informative as to the anticipated publication dates, not littered with every step in the process, for which the suggested solution in one thread was to create a separate project just for the subtask display.
Dependencies, as I understand it, in their current form are limited to chains of 30 or less. I dearly wish there were only 30 subtasks to publishing a paper, but alas. Putting the limit aside, apparently subtasks only show up in the Timeline if you tag them to a particular project. Why can’t these simply be viewed with an accordion dropdown under the parent task in Timeline view?
Having to manually click the tiny button in Task Details for each subtask, click the dropdown to tag it to a separate project just for subtasks to avoid cluttering the calendar, click the dependency button, search for the dependent subtask (the suggestions seem to be in no particular order, and it would be nice if it offered the task above by default) is simply awful UX. Then, since there seems to be no shortcut to advance to the next subtask, one must manually click out of the subtask and repeat the process.
Repeating this for each of 50+ subtasks is not a good use of time. Adding insult to injury is the Timeline view requirement for date shifting. Does Asana realistically think contractors, guest contributors, and teammates will remember to do this? Again, UX suffers as one must manually drag the project forward in time, which in our use case can be months.
The bare minimum workflow for content calendar needs is as follows:
- Create templates for different types of publications.
- Select a template, name it, and select a publish date.
- Have subtasks with assignees automatically populate with dates calculated from the publish date.
- Be able to re-schedule subtasks by moving the publish date either forwards or backwards in time. A nice-to-have would be limiting useable dates to business days only.
It took me 20 minutes to set this up in Smartsheet, which I haven’t used since my previous job.
Since Asana markets itself as a tool for managing complex content calendars, I would really like to see an implementation of date dependencies that reflects the real-world needs of content managers, who have been describing this exact and relatively simple scenario for years.