The Mystery of the Phantom Account

You’ve probably been there too. You go to assign a task or add a collaborator. You start typing the person’s name and two options for the same person come up. Usually there is just one difference in the associated email address, such as two letters that are transposed.

Which account should you select? You contact the person and verify which account is correct. Fine. But how can you rid your Organization or Workspace of the incorrect account?

First of all, how does this happen?

In most cases, someone invited a person to a team or project using both a misspelled email address and the correct one. Now the incorrect account is "stuck’ in the Organization or Workspace.

The phantom is born

By this point, you have probably tried to remove the incorrect account from every team and project you have access to. You probably also used Advanced Search to find every task associated with the misspelled account and removed it as an Assignee and Collaborator from all of them.

Much to your dismay, when you type the account name again in the Assignee or Collaborators fields, the incorrect account still shows up in the dropdown list! What!?

You hit the Asana Community Forum and the Asana Guide—which of course are fantastic—and you read up about how to Deprovision an account. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel!

Now for the head-scratcher: the account is no where to be found. You confirm that it is not a member of any team or project in the organization. So, how can you Deprovision this phantom account?

The solution: counterintuitive, but effective

  1. Here’s the key: to Deprovision a phantom account, you must first temporarily reinvite it to a team that you manage, misspelling and all.
  2. Then, find the phantom account listed in the Team Settings > Members tab of the Team
  3. Hover your mouse over the name of the phantom account
  4. Click Remove
  5. Then, click Remove Access
  6. Finally, click Deprovision

Let’s review. That is a total of three clicks: Remove, Remove Access, and then Deprovision.

The second click removes the account from your Team, and the third click completely removes it from your Organization.

A big thanks to Scott in Asana Support for helping me troubleshoot this issue.

Now enjoy clean lists of Assignees and Collaborators in all your Organizations and Workspaces!


Nicely explained, @David_Nelson!

And this is the recommended approach for deprovisioning correctly-spelled users too, though first you might want to find and reassign all of their work (tasks, projects, etc.) to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks or become inaccessible/uneditable.



Thanks @lpb! Those are some important reminders about off-boarding to fill out this topic.

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Thanks for this post. Have a similar issue where people assigned task to a Google group email address. Now there is a phantom account, and no-one knows how to access it.

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Thanks for the post!

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Thank you for this information! :slight_smile:

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