I made a comment on another thread that I’m not a big fan of subtasks, and @Alexis asked me to elaborate—so here we go! It’s not that subtasks don’t have value, I just think they are easily overused by people (especially when they are new to Asana). They actually have a number of limitations, so I try to use sections and tasks instead of tasks and subtasks.
Here’s a list of some of the biggest negatives in my opinion:
It is MUCH harder to access information at a glance when using subtasks. You can look at a project contains only a few tasks in it that appears nearly complete, but there could be a LOT of work if each of those tasks as a dozen subtasks. You have to click on every task one at a time to try to get a better understanding of the scope of work. This can make it really difficult for project managers since there is no other visualization built into Asana like Gantt charts.
Subtasks don’t automatically inherit the assignee, due dates, tags, or some other information of the parent task. This is VERY confusing for people just learning Asana, and I know this from training dozens of organizations when they are deploying Asana. They think the parent task is assigned to Bill, so the subtasks must be, too. Or that they obviously need to be done before the due date of the parent task so they don’t add due dates. This leads to major #fails
Subtasks don’t appear in a project calendar view. Again, if you rely on subtasks as a major part of your workflows, then your project calendars are pretty much worthless because they’re missing half of the information.
You can’t create subtasks via email. This adds additional time to classify tasks.
Subtasks can’t contain custom fields. Now you’re limited about what you can do with them once you’ve committed to an organizational structure reliant on subtasks.
Subtasks aren’t exported in JSON. This probably doesn’t affect many people, but still another shortcoming. (I think this is still accurate?)
Recurring tasks can’t create recurring subtasks with proper dates. This was covered in this thread, but the gist is that basically if you’re using subtasks in a recurring task you can’t have your subtasks update to new dates in the future when the recurring parent task is created. For a lot of use cases, this makes them ineffective as part of recurring tasks.
Now I’m glad there are subtasks because there are cases where they are very helpful. My favorite two scenarios are as Task Templates for small workflows and when using Tasks as a representation for something else (like a person’s name as part of a CRM project). But 90% of the time, I think Sections + Tasks works better.
Any thoughts? Any reasons I missed?