Teams and Portfolios for a Creative Agency

Hello! We are doing some reorganization of Asana and we just want to make sure we’re on the right track for 1. How Asana was intended to be used with a business like ours 2. What users have found works better, if not this

Currently we have an “Active projects” Team with everyone at the company in it (about 20), then we have a portfolio with all of those same projects and everyone at the company. The reasoning behind this was that all of our teams (strategy, development, design, and video) largely have a lot of tasks mixed in together to finalize a project.

What I’m suggesting we do: create a team for each of the 4 teams, portfolio for each client, and project boards that separate all the tasks for each of those teams, even if they’re for the same project. So if it’s a website, the strat team has a board, dev does, design does, etc. We’d also have a catch all portfolio called “All” that every project is added to, so we can track capacity of the whole company.

Is this overkill? Going to burn our pms out? will things get missed easier? The only other thing I was thinking about doing was to not separate out those project boards, but just duplicate them into each team.

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Hey @Patrick_Hunt welcome to the forum and thanks for posting this question.

One beautiful thing about asana is its connectivity from any project and portfolio. This feature should help you not to duplicate projects.

My suggestion is for you to consider the following:

  1. Keep one portfolio if you wish for ‘all’ projects and portfolios. This will include your strategy. If you have access to Goals feature, you may consider switching this from a portfolio view into Goals view.
  2. Create portfolios per client - that makes it easier to track, especially if the portfolio has a client engagement project, a dev project, etc…

With a company size of 20, you may not need to build 4 separate teams. As you mentioned that might be an over kill or a distraction to your colleagues. After all, the left hand side grey bar is not Asana’s strongest feature. So keep everyone in the same team, but train them to access portfolio for clients. This could be a neat way to have them access all projects related to that one client.

Depending on how advanced your team is using asana, you may encourage them to access their own tasks through using the My Task new features or through multihoming their tasks into their own private projects to keep track of their own work.

I hope this helps a bit. Let me know if you have any questions.



Hey Rashad, Thanks so much for the advice. I’m gonna chat with my team and see if we have the Goals view. And I think your second suggestion is what we had in mind.

Would there be a real downside to multiple teams? Can I display the same project board under multiple teams?

Thanks again

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Hey @Patrick_Hunt

Glad I was able to assist.

  • Can I display the same project board under multiple teams? No

  • Would there be a real downside to multiple teams? Not really! I personally found from implementing asana with many teams is that people get hung up a lot on the left hand side bar. And it very rarely provides clarity. That is why I suggested for a small team to keep everything in one place.

If however you thing teams will engage and collaborate more as a team and utilise all the features built in (other than different projects), then go ahead and divide them into teams.

Hi @Patrick_Hunt, I am in the process of setting up Asana for an internal creative agency within our company, and I am curious about your experiences. We have a larger team, about 40 marketing managers who request creative work, about 10 creative people (writers, designers, videographer, etc) + a bunch of freelance creatives. We have upwards of 100 individual marketing tactics in creative development at one time, ranging from tiny (2 hrs of work) to huge (100+ hours of work).

One of the challenges we have is just where the conversation on any given project should happen. We set up each marketing tactic as an Asana project, and then use tasks for each to-do.

For example, if we are creating an ebook:

  • the first task is for the writer to produce copy draft 1;
  • the 2nd task is for the editor to review copy v1 and provide feedback;
  • the 3rd task is for the writer to address that feedback and produce copy draft 2.

We are having trouble with where to post comments - at the individual task level, where it becomes a scavenger hunt to find info? At the Project - Messages level, which could work as long as each project includes only one marketing tactic (if more than one tactic there is another scavenger hunt at this level to find the right info)? We avoid subtasks due to the fact they don’t appear on timeline view and it makes schedule adjustments very time-intensive.

I’d love any advice you or others have to offer on this!

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Hey Meagan,

Funny enough-- we’ve actively been having this conversation too. I think it’s an ever evolving situation. Here are some options we’ve considered and the potential issues you might run into:

  1. Have a PM manage each project- The writer would comment on their task with a link to the completed draft. The PM would copy/paste that link into the review task for the editor. The editor would comment on their task their notes. The PM would copy and paste those notes into the next draft task for the writer to review… and so on.

Obviously this isn’t the best solution, because it’s a lot of copying/pasting for someone. But the reason we considered it was because, most of our team doesn’t look at the project board, just their task list. And if you have a lot of freelancers, then they may not even have that access to go to the board and post on the next person’s task. So this option isn’t the best.

  1. Make use of tagging teammates- This solution still doesn’t centralize a conversation. But the writer would post the link in their task and say “-at sign-editor hey this is ready for your review” and they’ll receive the notification in their inbox, and a conversation can then happen on that task in the comments. The editor could then consolidate their ideas and put the final notes in the comments of their own task, tagging the writer for when they do the revisions.

This solution seems fine, until everyone closes out their tasks as soon as they finish the task and the conversation is lost anyway.

  1. Use status updates- You could have each person post a status update on the project as a whole, where conversations could take place and never get lost. They just get bumped down when a new one comes in. It’s a good solution, because each status update can be commented on by anybody, you could still use the tagging feature, and it’ll show up in someone’s inbox.

The solution is probably good. I don’t know if anything is wrong with it, except that I don’t know if permissions will become an issue, similar to option 1 and I don’t know if this was how the feature was intended to be used, so you might run into various road blocks.

  1. (the option we are currently using) Slack + Asana- We have a slack channel for every project where a lot of conversations take place outside of deliverables. A lot of the time, since work is happening in these channels, the deliverable conversations just naturally happen here as well. The PM team doesn’t like it, because things get lost sometimes (honestly it’s rare) and similarly, some conversations happen in Asana, some in Slack, it’s not perfect.

Until subtasks make more sense and can be seen in timeline and capacity view, I dont think it’s going to be perfect. What we’re describing here makes logical sense. If these review tasks and V2 tasks were all subtasks, then the whole conversation could just take place on the main task, which doesn’t get checked off until it’s done. easy peasy. I think this has been someting everyone has been screaming at Asana to fix.

Anyway, I hope this helps and doesn’t make it more confusing!


Yes, there are different ways you can do this for ease, and just like @Patrick_Hunt , we use Teams (rather than slack) for conversations related to projects.

Here are couple of ideas as well:

:one: You build your project in a board view and the three tasks you mentioned above you make them into 1 task only. You have a custom field to shift between the stages, and you can create a rule to change the assignee once the task moves from one stage to the. next. This way all the comments are in the single tasks. Why board view, because you can move the tasks from one column to the next and include that in your rules as well. This way you can see the task progress.

:two: In the example above you create a single task and you can mark it a milestone or an approval, and you list the three tasks underneath this major task. So the three tasks are now subtasks. You assign each subtask to the respective person. You create a team rule that only tasks are to be used for comments and questions. Subtasks are not to be opened in this project - so you only use the first layer. This way all comments can be visible under each other.

I hope this helps.


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