The Art of Completing a Task

Have you every assigned a task to someone and later on you found out that the task has been marked complete and that is it, no further details provided?

I sometimes come across tasks that are marked complete but without any further comments.

I am all for clarity in the task name and description, but I am very particular when it comes to enhanced collaboration and providing clarity to progress the project forward and that is: the art of completing a task:

  1. Make sure a comment is added explaining the work that is done to achieve the output.
    Explanation does not have to be an essay, but just like you do not send a blank email with out a subject or any body text to people, why would you do that on asana.

  2. Ensure all custom fields in that task are appropriately assigned - remember many custom fields form part of the bigger picture reporting of the work the project team is doing

  3. Attach document as necessary - following your own company’s guidelines;ines on where to store documents, either attach the relevant document, or the link to it. But if your output is not something that took place in asana, then make sure the task includes it.

What do people think? any other best practices on what project members should consider when completing a task?

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YES YES YES!

I think this is particularly important to future-proof your work. I’ve encountered a few situations where previous teammates (who have since left the company) had left no comment on their work - sometimes, not even a description - making it super hard to understand what they did and how they did it!

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I recommend, and clients have had success, by doing the minimum required for clarity. Sometimes that might require adding a comment when marking complete, but not necessarily always.

So I don’t recommend adding a comment as mandatory in all cases; only when needed. That saves time in writing the comment and generates less to review (which can be multiplied by many people if there are many collaborators).

If the task is simple, or fully specified, marking complete may be enough if there’s nothing else to add. For example, if the task is “Approve expense report” and you have nothing exceptional to add, what’s the value of a comment here?

Of course, I have seen people mark tasks complete and leave out needed information and agree they shouldn’t do that. But making others add comments when not required doesn’t solve that.

Thanks,

Larry

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I do not think we are talking about 2 different things here @lpb

For terminology sake, I do not refer to approvals as tasks anymore, they are called approvals, just like milestones are milestones.

I would not seek comments on Approvals or on milestones because their set up by default is self explanatory as they are based on previous tasks.

If a task is self explanatory (for example: Buy milk) and the task is marked complete, then I would understand the milk is bought.
But I am talking about tasks such as: complete the analysis report on X cases.
When the task is marked complete, I would want the report to be attached, and I would like a bit of a blurb in the comment as well.

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@Rashad_Issa,

It sounds like you agree that self-explanatory tasks don’t need a completion comment; if so, that’s all I’m saying.

But I have encountered others who say one must always leave a comment on completion, and that’s what I disagree with.

My “approval” example was unclear; sorry. I was just trying to give one example of a task that might be self-explanatory. If you imagine that approval task is for a customer on Basic or Premium where no Approval-type task feature exists, that would be my example.

Thanks,

Larry

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Ah yes, I have not thought about users without approval feature. I agree with you, if the task headline is:
‘Please Approve this document or process’, the a simple mark complete should suffice.

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We’re in violent agreement then, @Rashad_Issa :slight_smile:

Thanks,

Larry

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I think about this a lot. I named it “Thoughtful Task Transfer.”

This means being intentional and thoughtful when finishing a task and handing it off to the next person on the team. We should always consider how to make it easy for the next person to pick up where we left off and continue building on the work.

We can do this by providing links. Don’t make the next person hunt for the link for what you’re working on. Consider what must be done to get this over the finish line. If needed, set up a new task in Asana to help ensure that nothing is forgotten. By doing this, you’re always setting up our teammates for success.

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I wonder if an automation could be generated that, when a task is marked complete, the system prompts a question for clarification…

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Welcome, @Scott_Couchenou,

Yes, one easy way would be to trigger the addition of a comment, perhaps @mentioning a user, upon task being marked complete.

Larry

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I like this ‘thoughtful task transfer’.
In one the companies I worked with, we used to have a programme that:

  1. encourages going the extra mile; and
  2. penalises giving a colleague or a customer the run around

To me, this thoughtful task transfer is avoiding giving someone the run around. Love it!

Absolutely! You can create these types of system notifications.

They could help as you start with this approach eventually, it should become a way of working, a team’s collective understanding of such approach.

You can create such automations exactly as @lpb mentioned :grinning::+1:t3:

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Thoughtful Task Transfer. Love it!

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Absolutely. It’s basically a case of “help me help you”.

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Great topic @Rashad_Issa !

@lpb I generally agree, but I think there is still some benefit in requiring comments for all completed tasks. Even a simple comment like “Task completed without issues” or “Completed as discussed” can provide value.

Firstly, because it’s a good prompt for the person completing the task. If you don’t have to leave a comment, it’s easy to think “all good”. But if you have to write something, you’ll often think of something that may be useful to the next person seeing the task. (e.g. “Completed and passed on to Jason as Steve was away”).

Secondly, Asana is very … what’s the word… click-happy?.. confirmation-averse? What I mean is that it’s very easy to accidentally complete tasks, as there’s no confirmation box and may different ways do to it (e.g. clicking the wrong spot in timeline view). So I often look a little suspiciously at tasks that have been marked complete with zero comments. More than a few times I’ve asked the person and they said “oops, sorry, that shouldn’t have been marked complete”. So a simple “Completed as discussed” or something can provide more confidence that a task actually has been completed.

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I think the art of completing a Task starts with the art of creating a Task. If all the information are presented that are required to complete the task, it is easier for every one to get the task completed correctly.
Mostly it would avoid the questions like where to find the output, when to mark as complete or what is the next action.

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