Suggestions for a workaround to the custom fields limitation?

We have a growing number of clients, 54 at present. Up until recently we have made use of the global custom field option which has worked well but this is limited to 50 (and Asana has no current plans to develop this further). So we are now stuck with some clients left out of our process.
I’ve tried to use tags, which would be fine except you can’t sort or group tags (given the multiples allowed here)
I’ve also considered creating 54 projects, one per client. And then assigning tasks to each project. But I’m faced with the same problem as tags so there is no good place to review these tasks in one place, grouped by client.
Does anyone have a suggestion to work around this? Or is there a reporting module we could use that works on Asana data that can give us what we need if we were to go with the tag or project routes described above?

I have finally got the team to start using it to its full extent, so much so that I’m planning a further upgrade, but now without this requirement will be forced to move to another product.

My new hobby is thinking up new workarounds for Asana limitations. ('Cause I can’t do crossword puzzles during working hours.) Let’s say you have a single custom field, “Clients”. You can have a maximum of 50 values. How about…

  • Have TWO custom fields…“Clients A - M” and “Clients N - Z”. Now you can have 100 values, just stored over 2 fields. (If you had some natural bifurcation distinction for your clients, that might make the whole activity slightly more natural. Like North vs. South, Wholesale vs. Retail, For-Profit vs. Non-Profit…)

The obvious downsides are numerous:

It’s really illogical, as it violates database normalization
It complicates sorting (possibly to the point of impossibility)
It complicates everything you do with that patched-in field
You have to look in 2 places
etc. etc.

Still, at least you get your data all into Asana. That’s all I got, maybe some of our whizzes can think of something better…

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Hi @Amy_Ord, thanks for reaching out!

That workaround is very good, thanks for sharing @Stephanie_Oberg.

We currently don’t have immediate plans to launch a similar feature but I’ve gone ahead and sent your request internally so it can be consider for future updates. I’d also recommend you to upvote for this feature here: Custom Fields: increase max number of drop-down options? . We’ll circle back on the product feedback thread when we have news about the feature.

I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any follow up questions.

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Hi @Amy_Ord, I think creating a project for each client will work best for you long-term. I get to work with clients about how to organize their workspace regularly.

You might want to consider creating a team “Clients” and every client project goes in there. You can run reports on that team and group them by project, i.e. “All client tasks due in the next 7 days sorted by Client.”

Hope that helps!

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Hi we don’t have as many clients but I just create a portfolio for each client. Does that have a limit or down side? It has been working fine for me so far…

I don’t have the portfolio feature in my plan so can’t say. My main requirement at the end is to be able to see a full view of client tasks in one list which I can sort and group as needed.
Does the portfolios allow you to do this?

Thanks for your suggestion. I have tried the 2 separate fields, one alphabetically (which becomes challenging when you takeon a new client starting with B) and the other by client type. But unfortunately it didn’t solve my reporting problem, toggling between the 2 fields didnt work well.

What about using multiple projects, in the style of a relational database? I’m new to Asana, but I know that you can assign tasks to multiple projects, or spawn new projects from a task. So for example one project could hold tasks with with custom fields for customers and other projects could hold custom fields specific to different types of projects for customers or something like that.

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Thanks Josh, I have tried this too but due to a task being able to have more than one project you are unable to group or sort by this field. So while it works to an extent, I would lose a very useful part of the screen view.

You don’t have a view of all the task - you have a project level view which shows progress by milestones or tasks completed. I can drill down to view individual project tasks but don’t have to do that unless I want to deep dive the project. All yellow and red project have a mandatory format for the status update which includes spelling out what the blockers are and the “path to green”. This status is viewable at the project level. What is great about this is that I can see work load for individuals across projects. Can you access the help module for this feature https://asana.com/guide/help/premium/portfolios? I like that I get an automated email for each portfolio with the status. For small ( less than 4 man-hours) client work requests and retainer work - we do create a project for each client in order to generate a detail worklist because the “tasks” are discrete pieces of work and rarely dependent on each other. hope that helps?

Here are the limits related to portfolios:

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Amy - we have created a client list project with a task for each project. We use custom fields in this project for some high level info on each client AND create a tag for each client = the name of the client Within this client list project we can sort by task (client) name.

The tag assigned to each client is also used for each client task (the actual work) outside of this client list project. We can then click on the tag and see all tasks related to that client.

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