To Subtask or not to Subtask


Hopping on a super old thread here but I’ve found a subtask feature not mentioned here helpful so I thought I would share.

If you create a Task Template with subtasks that are have been added to additional projects (some with headers) it will automatically keep those projects when copied and sort them by header. I’ve set this up to have a client project view with the master task, a single project with an overview of master and subtasks for all clients, as well as projects for each platform we use with just the relevant subtasks from each client. I’ve included some screenshots in the below comment to show what I mean. For reoccurring tasks I think creating a task template has helped a lot on cutting down how much info needs to be entered - getting it set up took a minute but now everything happens automatically. I still have some subtask challenges but I found that solved quite a few of my problems.


Hi there,
In favor of sub-tasks.

Our company is dealing mainly as a public sector supplier. We are attending several public tenders every week.
We have a Project called tenders and we put each tender as a task and every process for the the tender as a sub-task. 90% of the tenders have the same processes/sub-tasks. So we have a Template Task that we copy every time we have a new tender.
We do not use Projects for tenders because we have more than 30 tenders running and they get lost in “More projects…”

It would be nice though to be able to use features of tasks on sub-tasks like:

  • Dependencies
  • Custom fields


That’s great, @Giorgos_Noulikas. And I agree 100% that’s a perfect use of subtasks, just like the original post said:


I’ve read this thread a few times but I still can’t wrap my head around why one would or would not use subtasks. Given the limitation (feature?) of subtasks not inheriting things from its parent task, I’m not sure why anyone would use subtasks. Does anyone have a guide on how to use subtasks in a meaningful way?

For us, currently on Basecamp but wanting to move to Asana, we use Basecamp milestones as our client deliverables and Basecamp todo lists/todo items as internal tasks to accomplish each milestone/deliverable.

I can get behind Asana’s concept of tasks only (no milestones), and when I discovered subtasks I had a clear path to how to somewhat duplicate our Basecamp structure. Now that I understand subtasks more fully, I’m back to thinking Asana cannot work for us. What I had hoped was…

Project A

  • Task 1: client deliverable with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 1: internal task with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 2: internal task with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 3: internal task with due date and assignee
  • Task 2: client deliverable with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 4: internal task with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 5: internal task with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 6: internal task with due date and assignee
    Project B
  • Task 1: client deliverable with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 1: internal task with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 2: internal task with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 3: internal task with due date and assignee
  • Task 2: client deliverable with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 4: internal task with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 5: internal task with due date and assignee
    – Subtask 6: internal task with due date and assignee

Any insight would be most appreciated!


Hi @cfen, I’ve helped a lot of businesses switch over to Asana. There aren’t cut and dry right and wrong ways to use subtasks. I think the best use for them is with “Task Templates” that systematize smaller workflows (like creating a new blog post or marketing email, for example).

For the example you listed, I think you could use Sections for the client deliverable and tasks for the steps to make it happen.



The only reason I’m using the subtasks is for nesting, Putting everything in the main project with each line item shown is too overwhelming even with sections.
Asana please make sections collapsable but then be sure the collapsed tasks under a section will still show up on “task sort by project” ect…

But then you might say well just divide up the tasks into separate projects so you don’t have 100 line items in a project. Well good in theory, but then I have a long list of projects under a main project so would need to nest projects…

Asana please just work on adding a nesting function and stop with all the work arounds… :slight_smile:

And please don’t misunderstand me, I know it’s not so easy to just implement a feature and it takes time. All I’m asking is that you decide this should be done and consider making this a priority,


@Craig_Fifer do you use some sort of time tracking on subtasks? Like harvest or toggl. If so: how do you make sure time entries are associated with the correct project?


Repeating my comment here (from the thread regarding a tree view of tasks/subtasks):

Definitely need this! My teams needs 3 levels of organization, forcing us to use subtask. I hate that subtasks don’t associate with the parent task or project. And when you do “assign” the subtask to a project (so it stays organized in your task list), it repeats the subtask by creating a new task in the project that you then have to reposition under the correct parent. I do love the Instagantt interface…just need that to be mimicked in my Asana task list!


Exactly - those 2 simple changes will definitely increase the usefulness of subtasks - they will became priceless feature imho


This is exactly what I’ve been hoping was possible. Is there a feature request anywhere for the second point?

Don’t allow a task with incomplete subtasks to be completed, while providing a meaningful error message.

I’d like to go lay down some votes if there is…


100% agree with this as well!


Someone already created a Product Feedback topic that included this. It received several votes and was closed being over 6 months old.


You can already add subtasks to the project which shows up alongside regular tasks. Also, any subtask assigned to a person will show up in their my task view. This allows you to only show pertinent subtasks and not all in project views.

You could take this a step further and create a section titled the overall task and add all the subtasks to the project, then moved to that section. This would allow you to use the functionality of the main task list while keeping them subtasks, including custom fields, multi task assigning, etc

At some point though, you have to question your overall structure and see if your utilizing teams/projects/sections/tasks/subtasks appropriately. I’ve found that when I run into a wall with Asana… there is usually a better more elegant way of doing it that doesn’t involve a million subtasks…

If your main problem is that employees don’t know they have subtasks assigned to them… because they only looked at the top level task… that’s an employee training issue. To make it easier on them, you could have a pseudo “tag” for each task that has subtasks like [ST] at the start of a task name containing subtasks?


In order for subtasks to be useful they need to “complete” when the main task is completed!!


Yeah, I keep finding orphan subtasks that were never completed by the team and then clicking to see it was a subtask and the parent was completed. You shouldn’t be able to complete a parent task w/o subtasks completed or it should auto-mark all those sub-tasks completed. Super messy we are finding now.

Really wish more care was put into sub-tasks.


Here’s a use-case in support of leaving subtasks unchecked even if the main task is marked complete: We are waiting for someone to reply to an email. Everything else related to the task is complete, and only one person needs to keep track of the remaining task. We mark the main tasks complete, and make sure that the person in charge of follow up is assigned to the “outlier” - this way our boards stay clean with the most current events and the smaller, less important (but still need to be checked on) subtask can still be monitored.

I can see why others would want everything to be checked off - and, to be fair, there are probably going to be some projects where i DO want everything checked off in order for a task to be marked complete. This seems like another feature that should be allowed to be toggled on/off on a per project basis.


The utter lack of support for subtasks is a dealbreaker for our 200-person organization, which had hoped to move off of Basecamp and on to Asana.

Many basic features have been requested in this thread, which would bring them from nearly useless to being very valuable. At a minimum we need:

  1. ability to see that a task contains subtasks from the project overview
  2. connect subtasks to their parent task for My Tasks view
  3. prevent task from being completed with incomplete subtasks
  4. show subtasks on timeline (optional)
  5. give basic subtask information via API (number of subtasks existing for a task, at least)

Please help! We would gladly send you $10,000+ per month for these features. We really need functional subtasks but right now they are too hidden and easy to miss.


@Hot_Choco My company is developing an outline-based Asana client, Treesana, which provides almost all of what you’re looking for and we think makes subtask usage much more practical. (It works offline, too.)

You can see more about it here, or PM me if you’d like to discuss further.


I second these requested features. I’m on the market for a project and team management solution and this is something I would consider basic. Many of the competitors have these features.

I am starting to use Asana just now and I am already identifying a few key issues which may in the end let us to choose a different solution for our teams.


Is there a way to know which new features are being seriously considered by Asana? I have been using Asana with my team for a few months now. We like it (especially paired with Instagantt) but the BIGGEST annoyance is the lack of subtask nesting in the Asana view. We want to expand Asana/Instagantt company-wide, but I’m afraid this issue will stop people from wanting to use it. If we know the feature is coming, that would help a ton.