What exactly is a "workflow" to Asana?

In another thread, @Noah_Tomlin asked:

I think this is actually a fantastic question, since Asana uses the phrase “workflow” often in writing and speaking - and even moreso now that their vision includes a future “Workflow Store” - and I have at times been unclear what they mean by “workflow”. (And as an aside, as the author of the Flowsana “workflow automation” integration, I’m not a disinterested party in this matter!) So I set out to see what I could find as an answer to this question.

I think the best answer I came across can be found here:

In other words, a “workflow” to Asana is a process for getting something done, for accomplishing some outcome or fulfilling some commitment. That process is then by definition going to involve some series of tasks which accomplish that outcome.

I think to Asana the simplest representation of a workflow in Asana is a project. (You can see that in their examples on the above-referenced page.) But I don’t think it will always be that straightforward; for example, sometimes a project could be said to consist of a number of discrete workflows, right?

So in summary, I think the Asana definition of a workflow is a set of tasks that accomplishes some discrete outcome.

What do y’all think? (Remember, the game here is not to identify what we think a “workflow” means to us, but what it means to Asana.)

@Marie and @Emily_Roman, is there perhaps some definition of a “workflow” that Asanas use internally?

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More on the above…

I just came across this page:

That page leaves me

(a) less sure that my above definition is an accurate reflection of what Asana considers a “workflow”

and

(b) less sure that Asana (the company) itself has one agreed-upon definition of “workflow”.

Many of the “everyday workflows” on that page do not fit my above definition, and frankly I’m left a little concerned that Asana (the company) is being a little loose with their use of the term “workflow”. (But I hope I’m wrong!)

Thoughts??

(@Joshua_Zerkel I’d value your input on how Asana defines “workflow” re. this discussion.)

@Phil_Seeman, Great topic, and great question @Noah_Tomlin!

Noah, Asana defines Tasks as manageable pieces of work, and Workflows are an agreed-to process for getting something done.

Phil, I don’t see it the same as you. By “…a workflow is a set of tasks…” did you mean Asana Tasks or tasks generally? I think it’s clearer to replace “a set of tasks” with “a process.” Also, I don’t think there’s an inconsistency in the Asana site/Guide pages you cite: the first presents team workflows and the second presents workflows a single individual for herself or by herself on behalf of her team.

At the bottom of each of the linked pages you cited is a footer column “Workflow Solutions” like “Agile and Scrum” and “Work Management.” I believe workflows can be processes that are quite vast, like these “workflow solutions,” and very simple “workflows” (minus the “solutions” part), even one step processes like (“Editor Approves task before publishing”).

That’s what I think Asana means and my sense of them too–we’ll find out how wrong I am!

Thanks,

Larry

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Hi @Phil_Seeman, I mentioned in my thoughts on the Future of Asana presentation that it seems like Asana is considering a workflow a collection of:

  • Projects
  • Forms
  • App integrations (i.e. complete this task, automatically publish on WordPress)
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