Understanding and adapting to Asana's project permissions update of 7/20/23

On July 20, 2023 (three days ago from this writing), Asana released an update changing project permissions.

The features will be nice long-term, but right now the change results in reduced project permissions, so I am offering suggestions of what you can do to avoid possible confusion.

What changed?

To understand the nature of the update, see the following two posts . . .

The announcement:

Update on July 26 (a few days after initial rollout):

The issues to be aware of are:

  1. Project members formerly with “Edit” permission (full project access to change both structure and content) may have been migrated to “Editor” permission and can no longer change structure, only content. See the post above for more details.

  2. Those with access to a project because it’s public to a team they’re a member of, but who are not a project member, and where the default project permission was formerly “Edit” may now have “Editor” permission with content-only rights–the same loss of structure edit rights as above.

  3. All new projects you create where you specify “Editor” permission either for a project member explicitly or for the default project permission for non-project members will now have content-only rights.

Regarding points 2 and 3 above, “default project permission” refers to the project’s Share dialog > Members list topmost entry, which is always of the form <team name> and task collaborators. This entry lets you choose project permissions for all non-project members.

Suggestions

If you’re on a paid Asana plan, have each user who is a project owner click Search box > Advanced search > type “me” in Assigned to > and click Search. Then, in the search results view, click the Projects tab, and then click Sort and choose Last modified. The list shows projects you own in rough order of use.

If you’re on the free Asana Basic plan, either go to https://app.asana.com/0/search?type=projects or instead use the left sidebar > Projects > . . . menu > Recent list instead of the above.

Starting at the top of the sorted search results, one by one open each project, click Share, and verify/update the project permissions for all the rows under Members which now show either “Editor” or “Project admin,” including the first row specifying the default permission, and all remaining rows for individual project members. Make any desired updates, remembering that “Project admin” will mimic the old “Edit” project permission of both structure and content, and that “Editor” will mean content-only permission. (If you’re wondering about no longer seeing here the indication of which project member is the Project Owner, that’s now found in the project’s Overview tab, and also in the Project actions menu > Edit project details dialog–if you have permission to see this.)

If you’re on a paid Asana plan, note that project templates allow you to set the default project permission for new projects you create from a project template. If your desired default project permission is different from what Asana uses as its default, you might want to get in the habit of creating your new projects from a standard project template with your default.

Updates (after original post made)

  • On July 26, I modified this post to reflect the new info received earlier today and quoted above
  • Once an ‘Editor’ or ‘Commentor’ is set as the ‘Project Owner,’ they are immediately upgraded to a ‘Project Admin.’ [Thanks, @Richard_Sather!]

Thanks,

Larry

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Very helpful, @lpb, thanks!

I might also mention, for anyone wondering if it’s possible to use the Asana API to programmatically adjust “Editor” to “Project admin” without having to do it manually in the UI, the answer is, sadly, “no”. While it’s planned for the future, the Asana API does not currently have any capability to adjust project permissions.

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@lpb Thank you for your great post as always.

  1. Project members formerly with “Edit” permission (full project access to change both structure and content) have been migrated to “Editor” permission and can no longer change structure, only content.

I just wanted to share the fact that regarding the point #1, in my Business plan env, project members formerly with “Edit” permission are all migrated to “Project admin”, and thus can change structure as well.

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Great post @lpb
I think for point, project members who has ‘can edit’ permission under the old setting have now migrated to project admin under the new setting.

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Thanks, @Masa_Hagiwara and @Rashad_Issa; we’re still waiting for confirmation from Asana about how the migration for point #1 is being handled because it’s not clear yet how this is being handled. I’ve added an italicized note in the OP.

Thanks, @Phil_Seeman, for including mention of the API which failed to make it in my original post though intended!

Larry

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Great post @lpb !

You may consider adding some additional info regarding the Project Owner role to your OP which I recently discovered and noted here in particular this:

:bulb: Once an ‘Editor’ or ‘Commentor’ is set as the ‘Project Owner’ they are immediately upgraded to a ‘Project Admin’.

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Good one, @Richard_Sather; updated; thanks!!

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Not for me. Everyone got changed to “Project Admin”

  1. I have a day+ work to manually correct this at the project level. Is there an easy way to make bulk correction at a user level?

  2. At an organisational level why isn’t the default project permission defined when a user is created in Asana?

FYI, I edited my original post here to reflect updated info received from Asana about the migration. Click the title to scroll to that updated post.

To @Otto,

Not currently, but the quoted content above indicates this will be possible via the API in the near future.

I could only speculate on this, so you’d have to ask Asana for sure. There’s some additional configuration available in the Enterprise plan but not necessarily what you are asking for here.

Thanks,

Larry

The lack of a Bulk update option is killing our organization right now. We have hundreds of active projects and we have key stakeholders who don’t have the ability to edit project descriptions. The manual 3 step process of becoming a Project Admin (become member, reach out to existing Project Admin, being given proper access level) is quite a chore with the amount of projects we have in Asana. Not a fan of that update.

At the ver very least, a Workspace Admin or Owner should have the ability to change permission levels on projects, without needing to be a Project Admin first.

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Thank you so much for the clarification on what you changed. I think that it was patently obvious to everyone what those changes were, as so many of us can now not do things we used to be able to do, as we were unaware that the changes were going to take place. We now have hundreds of hours of work to change the permissions of all of our users on all of our hundreds of projects to Project Manager in order to use Asana the way we were, which sort of negates the three access levels that are now in place.

And I can only agree with Dave 21:

At the very least, a Workspace Admin or Owner should have the ability to change permission levels on projects, without needing to be a Project Admin first. Workspace Admin or Owner should trump Project Manager. How do you change the permissions when a Project Manager leaves the business and nobody else can access those portions of the project?

Hi @Alison13,

Since your reply was to my post, I just want to be clear that I don’t work for Asana (I’m just a volunteer here in the Forum) and tried to highlight the issues by creating this thread.

Until/if Asana makes the change you and others are requesting, I wrote this post previously to address your question:

Thanks,

Larry

Hi @lpb

Thanks for the info. As you can probably tell, I am quite a newbie in the forum space.

I didn’t really want to know about removing a user, I was more trying to point out or question (not very well) that if someone became disgruntled and removed themselves, could there potentially be serious issues with accessing their projects with the new roles structure?

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The new “editor” feature unfortunately messed up our whole portfolio. We have hundreds of projects that we all need full access to.

This means the project admin, which can be different for every project, has to assign each editor the project admin role in order for us to be able to delete the project.

If Asana could roll this feature back it would be much appreciated, our whole workflow was destroyed unfortunately.

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Same here. In our workflow, every new project is created through Zapier and an “Asana Bot” account, which is now the owner of all projects and no one can archive any projects. Now we have to log in through the bot account and add other admins for every project.

Hi @Aebi , does your ‘Asana bot’ account create projects based on a project template?

If so, your issue could likely be resolved by checking the settings of the project template.
In the template’s editor, step 1 Project content, in the upper right corner you will either see:

or

Either way, click on these and in the pop up menu for ‘Project member’ you will see a choice to set Members as default. Perhaps this is set to Editors for some reason, whereas you Asana bot is set to Project admin. Change members to ‘Project admin’ so that these are the default project settings when a project is created using your template(s).

Let me know if this helps!

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Hi @Richard_Sather
Thanks for your inputs.
We don’t use templates. Yet. Maybe this is the workaround I was looking for.
Thanks again.

Can an official Asana Ambassador representative weigh in on this? Seems like a lot of us have the same concerns/issues with the updates that were rolled out for project permissions.

Has anyone responded to you on this? I see the volunteer responded to you on something unrelated. AT THE VERY LEAST … AN OWNER SHOULD HAVE THIS ABILITY. We are already working around the clock to fix this challenge instead of earning billable hours, and I just dont have the hours to read through this forum because I am busy fixing this chaos.

I complained on a “what do you think of this” pop-up that came up. Support were very helpful. You have to be a Super Admin, and then you can request that all of your staff/members are changed to project admins in a global change for all of your projects.

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