Strategy for Sorting Tasks By Priority? By Project and By User?

priority
sorting

#1

In many cases a task may not have a specific due date but it has a general priority. This is actually quite common in many project management systems, assigning a “high”, “medium”, or “low” priority. Asana is strange (IMHO) in that they consider “priority” settings to be: “today”, “upcoming”, and “later”

So at first we were just going to use those and consider them translated to, today=high, upcoming=medium, later=low. BUT the problem is, when you are in the project task view, you (if I’m not mistaken) you can’t assign the priority to the task. Only in the My Tasks view can THAT user control the priority setting. In many cases the person creating the task is assigning it to other users yet they need to also assign the priority. So that sort of throws that strategy out the window.

Of course you can create tags for high/medium/low priority (tags to me = messy workaround in most cases) But then a user can’t display a list of their tasks SORTED by priority nor can you see a list of all uncompleted tasks for the project sorted by priority.

We are banging our head against the wall on this as Asana is in most regards such a well thought-out and designed application but it seems this real world need to organize task lists (user view and project view) but general priority levels is a sorely missing feature?

Anyone else have any creative ideas for a more elegant workaround?


#2

Are you a Windows shop or Mac? If you are a Windows User, I have a CSV to PDF converter that could be easily modified to create a hard copy report. You would probably need to use custom fields I would think. The converter is being fixed right now because the layout of the CSV file was changed recently to add Start Date. We are making a smarter edition to prevent this in the future.


#3

We were really hoping to be able to see by user and by project an online lisk of tasks sorted by high/medium/low priority. I can’t count how many hours I spent testing collaboration solutions and Asana had the best price/feature ratio but this shortcoming is really a thorn in my side.


#4

I think we are going to have to go ahead and use tags and the instruct the users to mark all the tasks with “high” tag as “today” priority, “medium” as “upcoming” and “low” and “later” kind of a clunky solution but there appears to be no other alternative from an online viewing standpoint.

I could see how your csv to pdf might come in handing if you were doing Agile/SCRUM meetings.


#5

Hi @Jeff_Crist,

For your original idea of using the Today, Upcoming and Later sections, would a keyboard shortcut that allows you to mark tasks with these categories work? You can do this anywhere you can select a task or from within the task, not just in My Tasks.

Keyboard shortcuts for marking tasks:

  • Today = TAB+Y
  • Upcoming = TAB+U
  • Later = TAB+L

There is feedback that this is working as you’ll see the icons for the various categories change (These icons are displayed next to the assignee):
image Today
image Upcoming
image Later

Because you can do this anywhere, you can do it to many tasks at once by multiselecting them in a list project.


#6

Hi @Jeff_Crist,

the easiest solution would be to add your priorities as custom fields. That way you can just click the field description and it will sort it by that custom field. So, for example, you could add the field ‘Priority’ to the project you want to sort. Once you added priorities for all tasks in the project, you just click ‘Priority’ in the top bar.

Hope this will solve your issue. :wink:
Best,
Tom


#7

Im with @Tom_Suberg on this one. Create a custom field called “Priority.” Select the “Drop-down” option and name your priorities. I use a 1-5, but name them the way you want them. Next, create an advanced search that will bring in all of the tasks, in all of the teams, and all of the projects that you prefer. Save the report under the name of your choosing and then share it with your colleagues.


#8

If you want to be really fancy, you could even divide ‘Priority’ into ‘Urgency’ and ‘Importance’. Urgency describes how time sensitive the issue is and importance depicts, well, how important it is overall.


#9

Asana could do this automatically for us. Asana could place a task under the section Today automatically if a task is for today, under the section upcoming if a task is within the next 1 week? 2 weeks? (perhaps this rule could be optional for us to set) and so on. I don’t see the point of sorting somehow manually task by task as we have to go through a list of new tasks and then press TAB+Y or TAB+U in order to place them in the right section. It is time consuming (costs) if everyone in a team has to do this every day.

Ideally, it would be great if we can create sections in which we could add rules/filters to display tasks in a way we would like them to be shown.


#10

My original advice to Jeff_Crist was to help out with quickly moving tasks between the My Tasks categories by giving him keyboard shortcuts and pointing out multi-select. He was trying to integrate priority into his tasks as well as a view or report that would help him sort it all out. That was my interpretation anyway.

To address some of your points though, Asana does do something things automatically for you. I know they’ll move tasks into “Today” if you set a due date and that day comes around. I don’t play around much with “Upcoming” or “Later” with respect to due dates so I can’t offer much on that.

I agree Asana could provide a rule interpreter so you could maybe automate things based on due date. There’s a lot of complexity to that, but if you have a good sense of how you’d use that I’d suggest making a Product Feedback post.

With respect to sorting tasks manually, I derive tremendous value from it. But it all comes down to how you’re situated. We tend to leave our tasks unassigned, but in a prioritized list that my team and I pull from. We’ve established norms on how we do this as well as how we handle those tasks once we take ownership (we have standard sections within our My Tasks so other team members can see our personal priorities). Almost all of this is manual, but we feel it’s not that much overhead when we consider the care we take creating the tasks (i.e., good titles, user stories in our descriptions, defining done, prioritizing in the backlog, etc.). The bit of extra work to drag and drop a task into a different section or column doesn’t feel like a costly overhead by any means. Someone working with templates and copied tasks that’s literally using Asana as a task pipeline where everything’s repeated would undoubtedly feel differently.

The overhead for me is maybe 5-10 minutes per day picking the tasks I’ll commit to for the day. I do this either before I go home or first thing in the morning. Weekly I’ll spend about the same amount of time again, maybe a little longer, figuring out what I want to pull from the backlog and take ownership of for the next week, and sometimes we’ll do this as a team if there are a lot of tasks any of us could do.

I don’t know if it interests you, or if you’re aware, but you can also create your own sections in your My Tasks just as you can in List Projects. Just put a colon at the end of a task title. You still have to manually move things, but it can help break things up a bit. If you want your teammates to see these sections when they look at your tasks, you’ll need to make the sections public. Here’s what mine looks like:

I like this because as tasks are assigned to me, or as I pull them from “Upcoming” I can select them and hit TAB+Y and they all show up in “New-In” so that I can prioritize them into my “Requested” section. I pull a tasks from “Requested” into “In Progress” one or two at a time as I complete the previous tasks. The “Waiting/Blocked” section is self-explanatory. The “Project Emphasis” category has a bit of a special purpose. We have a high level “Project Board” where our tasks represent projects or a larger scale task. Generally tasks I’m working on will come from one of these projects and it’s just kind of a daily reminder of my focus, plus it gives me quick access if I want to post a comment about the status of these projects to the team.


#11

Hi @Tom_Suberg I did that but clicking the “Priority” header on a custom report does not sort the tasks by priority.


#12

Hi, I realised I was trying to sort by priorities in a report, but that’s not possible, I must sort in a list view project…