Spring Clean: Reconceptualizing projects and processes

We’re engaging in a big spring clean of our Asana boards, and we’re trying to conceptualize and organize some best practices for our small (18 EEs) manufacturing business. We’re on Asana Premium.

We find we can classify our teams/projects in some of the following ways:

  • Ongoing processes, with recurring task management and cross-functional teams (e.g. Inventory Management Process)

  • Term-limited projects with cross-functional teams (e.g. Product Launch)

  • Information Centers (e.g. Employee resource hubs, with various HR tasks like PTO request processing, or to access the Employee Handbook)

We’re also thinking that each department “team” might want to have each role as a project, so that employees have some flexibility for structuring their own workflows but in a way that has visibility to the rest of their team or the company. (Maybe we should be using the “My Tasks” differently?)

We’re curious how others might be structuring both term-limited projects and ongoing processes, and if there are some best practices folks want to share. Are we making the best use of the features available to us in Premium? Are there features/tools in the next level up that might help us better manage the various tasks?

(We’re also trying to decide a best place for procedure manuals/informational documents, as having multiple layers of sub tasks to help walk an EE through a process sometimes feels at risk of getting lost and/or difficult to keep updated.)

Please let me know if I can better explain/clarify this clean-up project, but I’d love to hear the community’s thoughts! How can we better conceptualize the work we do, and structure it in Asana? TIA! - Sasha

HI @Sasha_Kemble no small task you took on here :slight_smile:

You may want to consult with a Partner for a discovery and deeper dive. https://servicespartners.asana.com/

I never like evergreen projects unless they are document/training related. I prefer that all projects, even process projects, expire quarterly or yearly (HR 2022) to keep things more organized and the Files tab from getting too out of hand.

Multi-homing is my go-to for organization. It allows me to keep a master project plan AND teams to have their own Board with their workflow at the same time. Using libraried custom fields, I can keep statuses no matter where the tasks are and use Rules to automate my process from those statuses.

I set up templates for all my projects so I can quickly roll them out again without having to rebuild the rules, forms, CFs, etc.t

Ongoing processes:
Year delimited. Tasks multi-homed with Team Boards. Shared custom fields (CF). For projects such as HR and Finance, I have forms that allow for requests to be made into those teams without access to those projects.

Term-limited project:
Master Project Plan (list). Multi-homes tasks. Shared CFs. Project stakeholders (members) are managers and leads. Doers (assignees) work their tasks in their team project, normally the kanban (board). Project owner is the PM or Sponsor.

Information Centers:
Unique Team for training and documentation where projects are set to comment only for all member but the owner. One project for each topic. (Asana Training, etc.). One task for each lesson/process. As tasks are searchable in Asana, so therefore will be this documentation. I tend to then link out to that resource. Example: in my Asana training project that I set up for each client, I have sections for types of training and tasks for topics so the topics are searchable. The links are to the Asana website where they are kept up to date. I’ll put my own two cents (can’t help it :slight_smile: ) in the description for company specific best practices. Your offline docs may be in Sharepoint or Dropbox, but someplace that the owner of that information can update as needed, yet still very accessible in Asana.

Why Business:
AUTOMATION! Automations using custom Rules will act as Jr. Project Manager for you and keep work moving along and not stalled. This alone will pay for the upgrade in most cases.

I hope that helps or at the very least brings up some questions.

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Welcome, @Sasha_Kemble,

For the project- and setup-related best practices, I did my best to throw as many as I could in my workshop, available for free in the Asana Academy:

You ask if you’re using My Tasks correctly. For that I wrote the following to cover as many of the bases as possible:

Beyond that, a consultation would be in order due to the scope of your questions and the fact that they will depend on the details of your organization and usage.

Hope that helps,

Larry

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Hi @Getz_Pro! (whoops, typed this all out yesterday but didn’t send…) First, thanks for the: :exploding_head: with multi-homing. It turns out, I’ve been starting to do that in recent weeks, but without knowing what it was called. This will support approaching team members with that as a clear concept, and with a concise term that can help us speak the same language as we establish our best practices.

We love the templates, and are def using them from both a simple task side, as well as for our bigger recurring projects. It’s such a time-saver, and is helping us get better at ensuring our semi-annual product launches go smoothly.

Another :exploding_head: for having ongoing processes still have an expiration. I’m worried about how to make that transition easier for a key stakeholder who just spent a solid chunk of time recently building out an extraordinary inventory management board, complete with recurring tasks and dependencies. I’m still a pretty beginner-level Asana user, so I think as I continue to poke around on these forums (and also learn what questions I should be asking), I may be able to support converting that into an annual process task. I think we’ll all be able to see the value of not having multiple years’ worth of associated files.

Honestly, I’m sitting here right now just trying to wrap my mind around all the ways we can better streamline our Asana, and I’m feeling very excited by this. I do see some value in upgrading to a business level both for the expanded automation, as well as the portfolios. Going to stay the path on cleaning up first, but definitely looking at this through a lens of how we can further streamline with the next-level features.

Thanks again for your reply!

Awesome, thanks for your time in putting together these great resources!

I went through some of the Asana-hosted trainings when I first started with the company at the end of last year, but I think now I’m ready to really deepen my understanding (and course-correct!), and this is helpful! I’ll check out your webinar in Asana Academy soon.

In your article, I really love your tips to add a rule for tasks with approaching due dates. I definitely haven’t been optimizing My Tasks, and this has some gems!

Thanks again, Larry!

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You can duplicate the current project, but uncheck the tasks as you don’t want to bring over current work. Clean up, then convert that project to a template and use next time.

Create a Sandbox team to start all your work so you can create in private, then move projects to other teams when you have them fully fleshed out