Using subtasks because a project looks too big is usually not a good reason

This is really a trend with Asana users: they create a project will all the steps, and then look at the project all freaked out. To make the project less intimidated, they move a bunch of tasks as subtasks.

I call this “hiding work under the carpet”.

Yes, your project is complex because your work is! But don’t use subtasks to hide this complexity.

Instead, use sections or custom fields to break the project done into phases. And uses dependencies to show the relations between tasks. And create milestones to represent achievements. Finally, make sure to hide completed tasks, so the progress is obvious, and the project gets smaller over time!

Did you ever find yourself using subtasks to “hide” work?

:fr: Version Française


:laughing: Bravo!

Good post!


That’s the equivalent of “I cleaned up my room” but put everything in drawers :slight_smile:


I’m working on striking the balance between tasks and subtasks. I think of subtasks as the checklist or drivers to the parent task. For example, delivering a project proposal includes the subtasks of drafting, editing, and delivery, along with the subtasks of updating the client record on the activity. It all deals with the proposal delivery (parent task) and the subtasks track our progress before and ensure systems are updated after that delivery.


@Mandy_Sponholtz - I also think of subtasks as a quick checklist!


Yeah, the subtask also is a place to distinctly home the hours an individual committed to a specific task within the project.

@Bastien_Siebman and I collaborated on this #tips:tips-forumleaders post about subtasks usage which also may be of interest:




My suggestion is to support hierarchy. Like 2+ levels of sections.


@Juan_Diego it kinda does already, doesn’t it?

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I don’t see this to necessarily be the reason that users migrate items to subtasks. The problem with subtasks is Asana’s refusal to implement subtask reporting in a way that its users want.
If Asana gave equal weight to subtasks, instead of telling us not to use them, we could run our projects the way that we want to. Asana just shortcircuits the use of subtasks, instead of allowing for a proper hierarchy according to each business’ own existing project management structure.


Given that so many people use sub-tasks as checklists, I reckon having a ‘checklist’ option would be really useful - especially if the checklists could be named and used wherever needed, either in the originating task or in others.


I did not mean to restart a debate on subtasks, I just wanted to share my advice :grimacing:

@Bastien_Siebman I understand your intent, and part of me agrees with the suggestion. Even recently, I was removing subtasks and moving them to the mail plan.

But, if I have a large project, and there are steps that are dependent one after another, I will have to set up dependencies. This is time-consuming, and prune for manual errors (someone will have to always remember to link tasks with each other). In such situation, a subtask is faster & more natural way for my brain to process.

I will not mention that when we are focusing on using tasks only, the timeline view will not be easy to read. Collapsing sections does not generate any useful view/information, and therefore I will have to use other tools (like Instagantt) to visualize the timeline.


Great way to explain this concept, Mandy!

Agreed! My org uses subtasks the same way and it helps to make Asana less unwieldy. Since it is offered as a feature of the program and we integrated the use of them into our Asana design, it would be more ideal if Asana could focus on giving better functionality to the subtasks (especially the ability to copy and paste them) so that they could be used in effective ways.


I agree. Hard to track subtasks too!

Totally agree with original post Bastien.
Similiar to “hiding” Action-tasks in a project that contains mostly Information-tasks :innocent:

edit: Of course I have never done this myself :see_no_evil: but I’ve heard that it can be done :joy:

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Thank you for sharing! Very Informative

If each subtask could easily be made part of another Project, that could facilitate tracking, since the tracking responsibility also falls in that other Project, closing the gap.

But as of now, it is very hard to achieve this on the UI (don’t event ask on mobile app…). Even when you manage to make an existing task child of another one, it looses its original Project which adds to the confusion and makes the subtask fall into the cracks. This is my main everyday pain.