Schedule a meeting in Asana


#1

One of the many things that people use email for is to send invitation for a meeting. While Asana might be great at running a meeting, I find that it doesn’t do so well at schedualing one.

First, I can not set period of time when the meeting is. It does only have due time but no start time. While I got a great advice here in this community to use custom field to note down start time, but that’s it. It’s just a note and still not reflect on calendar or anything. Having just one start time field will solve this problem and open up many usability.

Secondly, I can’t invite it to multiple people. Only one assignee will get it on their task/calendar. Don’t get me wrong. I totally agree on concept of one job, one person responsible for. Let’s keep it that way. But you need to find a way to send invitation to multiple people, let them choose to accept/reject and save it on their calendar. Copy many tasks doesn’t solve this problem. People in the meeting need to talk in the same conversation. Spliting it, will make it hectic. My idea is improving subtask like many suggestions in this community, could solve this problem. If you don’t want to implement something just for this functinality. If you do, build it on project conversation, similar to what you do for project status. That’s my suggestion.

Lastly, notification and other detail. Well, usually you will get notification before the meeting take place. 1hr/.30min depending on settings. Other detail like location, sonething like that. These are nice to have but not necessary anyway.

If you want to make Asana to replace email as in the statement, I think this is the area you might want to look into. It’s pity that you have calendar but it functions only half of its potential.


#2

Some good ideas here. We would like to replace our Outlook based workflow with Asana but it is very painful with the lack of functionality mentioned above


#3

Completely agree, this was the first brick wall we hit when trying out asana. To me it feels like a few simple mods could solve the issue:

  • Make it possible to assign multiple people and/or teams to a task (the meeting)

Or

  • Add task type “Meeting”. With all the above mentioned functionality.

#4

We’re looking at a migration from TODOIST to Asana. But this is a huge issue.

Asana doesn’t have a way of scheduling the same meeting across multiple users? Really? I’ve spent the last couple of hours trying to find a way.

If I’m working in TODOIST, I will leave the task unassigned, and then everyone in that project will see the meeting and pre-meeting discussion in their TODO list. That’s an OK solution but not great - I’d much rather be able to invite selected staff to the meeting.

Asana’s solution of COPYING the task has limited use. Firstly it’s far too slow. Secondly there’s no shared space to discuss.

Asana, please let us know your plans on this?


#5

Could you create a task, assign it to someone (it doesn’t really matter who), add attendees as followers, and create some kind of “trigger” so that it appears in everyone’s Inbox? That trigger could be something like completing the task, adding a comment, etc.


#6

Hi @Andrew_Perrins,

I too think it’s good to start as @Drew_Shannon suggested–create a task where you pre-add all attendees as followers so you can make updates (like to agenda, attachments) that all will get notified of.

After that, as an alternative to the "trigger’ suggestion, you could do one of the following:

  • For each attendee, add a subtask (could just be titled “Attend”) assigned to the attendee. This will get the subtask along with a “<” reference to the parent on each attendee’s My Tasks List and Calendar so that each can manage as preferred in their Asana My Tasks/Calendar.

– or –

  • Add the task to a project for which you’ve previously informed all potential attendees to “Sync to Calendar” if you prefer to have the meeting event show up there directly for each.

Hope that makes sense,

Larry Berger
Asana2Go & Asana Certified Pro consultant at Trilogi


#7

Thanks Drew and Larry, I’m not concerned about having the meeting appear in someone’s inbox. I want them to see it in their “My Tasks” to help them plan their day and not miss the meeting!

The only solution I have for this is to create a task or sub-task “Attend meeting” and duplicate the task for every attendee. This is time consuming, which reduces the usability. If we want to change the timing of the meeting (which happens frequently) then every one of these needs to be changed.

I don’t understand why we’re trying to find workarounds for an everyday requirement? This issue is seems to be caused by Asana’s refusal to allow users to assign tasks (e.g. “Attend meeting”) to multiple users.


#8

To confirm: from what you are saying, the way I would schedule a one-off meeting in Asana is:

  1. Create a task which describes the issue to be discussed.
  2. Create a sub-task in the format “Attend Meeting” and give it a date/time.
  3. Duplicate the sub-task, assigning it to each attendee.

So for a 4 man meeting I have to create a total of 5 tasks/sub-tasks. Of course, I would much prefer to do this by creating a single task.


#9

I think this starts to get into a bit of a tricky situation in terms of what the user expects vs. what the Product is designed to do.

In this specific case, what you call an everyday requirement, is what others may call a “nice-to-have”. (for example, I’ve never thought about, much less requested, your specific use case).

I’m not sure Asana has any intent or goal of destroying email and calendars, so holding them to that and calling them out where they fall short isn’t necessarily fair.


#10

Hi @Andrew_Perrins,

Re:

If I had to do this regularly, I’d try to use Zapier for this, which has a Create Subtask action (IFTTT doesn’t seem to).

So I’d follow your step 1, but also add a tag like “mtg4Regulars” or, if you need more flexibility, multiple tags like mtgPersonA, mtgPersonB, etc. I believe the free Zapier would create the subtasks with assignments, but not sure it can handle the due date; you might need to pay for that (I’m doing this from memory). Perhaps this partial automation helps.

I sympathize that it’s a hardship, but also feel similar to @Drew_Shannon–Asana can’t be all things to all people (though I do wish they were more lenient in adding settings/options to add flexibility). Unfortunately, your particular request is at odds with an underlying tenet of Asana: Apple’s Directly Responsible Individual (DRI). See: https://blog.asana.com/2015/06/why-one-assignee/

Larry Berger
Asana2Go & Asana Certified Pro consultant at Trilogi


#11

Drew and Larry, thank you for helpful comments, which I really appreciate.

Drew, I don’t wish to be unfair to Asana - but surely one of the key reasons for using Asana is to give you a task list and help you plan your day/week? If so, then this really is an everyday requirement.

We don’t want to be looking at a calendar and a task list separately. We want to see it all in one place. We can do this easily in TODOIST, but TODOIST doesn’t have the great project management functionalities that ASANA has. We’re just trying to find a tool that can do both. There must be thousands of ASANA users using workarounds to overcome this issue?

Larry, thank you for the Zapier idea. We have a new techie person joining us soon, so he may be able to implement this for us.

With regard to the tenet of having a DRI; I don’t think anyone would disagree. For most tasks, that tenet makes perfect sense. But for tasks like “Attend a Meeting” (and I’m sure other tasks) this tenet is clearly not applicable. Why not let the user decide? I’d feel far more comfortable being told that this (tasks being assigned to only one person) was a coding restriction, because of the system architecture. Being told it is a philosophy imposed on users doesn’t make sense to me.


#12

In my last post I should have emphasized “Asana can’t be all things…” over the “underlying tenant” part. I feel it’s more about simplicity and clarity than philosophy…

I don’t know for certain how Asana makes feature decisions like this, but I’ve read/watched everything I can find, and I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that they value simplicity. To support both DRI-type tasks as well as your perfectly-valid “team tasks” would effectively add a “mode.” Having a mode is inherently more complex than not , so it’s generally something to avoid in design, both to benefit the user and the stability of the product (and the developer’s sanity!).

Like you, I wish Asana did certain things differently, but I recognize if they addressed all of our requests, probably none of us would be able to use the product anymore :smile: