What I learned about divisions 😅

Workspace, organization, division, we’ve all heard about it!
But “division” is not the easiest one to understand :sweat_smile:

:loudspeaker: So here is a summary of everything I have discovered over time on the subject!

As an introduction, here is a quote from my friend @Jerod_Hillard, which is both a good summary and a good teaser for the rest of the post: “a division is like a collection of teams within an existing Organization, but with some exceptions”.

:question: Why would one WANT to use divisions?
Several reasons:

  • having a division allows for a family-owned business to exist within a larger conglomerate
  • need for separated invoices
  • this is the only solution to have teams from various paid plans with the same email domain
    ** A “free” classic organization can have a Premium or Business team, but only 1. From 2 it creates a division.
    ** A “paying” classic organization cannot have a team from another tiers, except by creating divisions.

:question: Why would one NOT WANT to use divisions?

  • when groups of people need to collaborate. With divisions they would become separated through this structure. The end result is either they don’t collaborate or you’re stuck paying for them to inefficiency operate in two places.
  • hard to manage

:moneybag: Billing
A division has its own billing and billing owner, separated from the organization.

:busts_in_silhouette: Teams
In a division you can create 2 types of teams: private or membership by request.
You can’t create a public team like you could in an organization.
You will have to manually invite everyone if you want to create a team open to everyone. This will also have an impact on who can see what, as access rights will limit or not the visibility of portfolios, projects, tasks, … This requires a single dedicated effort to make sure everyone has the right level of visibility.

You can delete a team that you have created but you must first remove it from the division through the Admin Console. Once it is no longer associated with the Division you are able to delete it from the ‘Advanced’ section of the Team settings.

:white_check_mark: Assigning a task
You can assign a task to someone from another division (in the same organization), and the person you assign a task to will not count as a member of your division. Then you will not pay an extra license. The autocomplete will show everyone from the entire org.

:rotating_light: BUT if you invite to a team or a project a person from another division then he/she will count for an additional license.

=> Collaboration is not easy between divisions, because if you don’t pay extra licenses then the others see only the tasks they are collaborating on, and not the whole project.

:books: Portfolios
A portfolio can’t see the projects of another division, because you are not member of the project, or you have to pay for an extra license, which means that you have to pay in both divisions.

If you want to create a Portfolio with projects from “only” the division you belong to: you just need to be a member of the team or a member of the project. No impact on the number of licenses.

If you want to create a Portfolio with projects from “several” divisions:
To add a project into a portfolio, you need to see the project. But in a division, you have to be a member of the project to see it (if it is in the other division: as explained above :point_up_2:).
Thus, you need to be members of the projects, meaning you have to be in both division, and then have to pay for 2 licenses.

Jerod’s tips:
Once you have added all the projects into a portfolio, the boss has to be in all the teams of the projects he wants to see if he wants them to appear in his portfolio view.

So as it pertains to Portfolios, we have a system (somewhat manual) where we add necessary projects to a variety of Portfolios. Depending on the users and their role within a Team/Project they may (or may not) be able to see what they need to see.

For a boss, they are usually a full team member so they always see what is in the portfolio.

For an individual contributor, we will often make them a project-specific member. This way they only see the projects they are associated with in the navigation pane and from the Portfolio.

As you work up from the bottom (individual contributors > managers > directors) the visibility widens. Managers will often be Team members of their team but not others. So they too only see their work. Where the boss, can see all teams. All of this often managed in a single Portfolio that just happens to only show what the user needs to see… with the boss and other leaders having full visibility.

This reduces the noise and makes the navigation and use of the Portfolio better for users as well.

So it all just boils down to making sure the project-specific members and full team members are set correctly across everyone. The rest really works itself out.

:computer: Admin Console
Almost the same as for an organization, except that some features are not available:

  • Can’t do some of the little things like edit a user’s profile)
  • Cannot have service accounts; must use personal access tokens.
  • Admin cannot deactivate feature where a user can invite another user.

I invite you to comment if you have other information or corrections to make, and I will complete my post as I go along.

Thanks @Jerod_Hillard, @Bastien_Siebman, @lpb and others for helping to understand all this :slight_smile:

Link to the Asana Guide: Les divisions • Asana

:mag:Ongoing investigations

  • is it possible to have several divisions, but with the same billing owner? or do we have to choose different ones?
6 Likes

Excellent overview @Julien_RENAUD!!!

2 Likes

Excellent post, @Julien_RENAUD!

One clarifying question and one suggestion…

Question:
Everywhere in your post where you say “another division” or “both divisions” or “several divisions”, that also equally applies to “no division”, is that correct? Meaning that in your illustration above, the teams “Finance” and “HR”, and the projects within those teams, behave relative to the “Marketing/IT” division exactly the same as would teams and projects in some second division in that organization, yes?

Suggestion:
I would love to see a section in your post detailing “Why would one want to use divisions?” I think it’d be valuable to see what some of the factors and use cases are that might cause people to consider setting up divisions.

2 Likes

I think this is a great recommendation, @Phil_Seeman.

If I may, in my experience, the true value of a division is it makes Asana more affordable for large organizations. In many cases you’ll find corporations offer a plethora of products and services to a variety of markets through a handful of operational models. In just as many cases, the supporting divisions that work on said products and services are completely siloed, by design, and there is no real loss due to such. In situations like that… “having a division allows for a hypothetical family-owned business to exist within a larger conglomerate.”

Where I wouldn’t advocate for divisions is when groups of people need to collaborate yet they become separated through this structure. The end result is either they don’t collaborate or you’re stuck paying for them to inefficiency operate in two places.

Good point, I’ve just added this new section completed with Jerod’s message.

I would say no, because Finance and HR are in the org, not a division. I’m checking this point with Asana Team, and I will confirm as soon as I know more.

1 Like

Thanks for this. Bookmarking this post!

1 Like

Limitations I have noticed about divisions

  • Cannot have service accounts; must use personal access tokens.
  • Admin cannot deactivate feature where a user can invite another user.
2 Likes

Thank you @Andrew_Gross I just added those points :+1:

Additional questions I have for you @Julien_RENAUD , in order to really make you the worldwide expert on divisions:

  • is it possible to have several divisions, but with the same billing owner? or do we have to choose different ones?
  • based on Jerod testimonial, high managers and CEOs would require to pay multiple seats for each of them correct?

Suggestions:

  • inside the “why divisions”, I believe you could add something around the fact that this is the only solution to have teams from various paid plans with the same email domain?
  • you could add that the autocomplete will show everyone from the entire org, you can guess by reading the post, might be worth it to make it more obvious
  • the “why not” could include something about the fact that it is hard to manage for Asana themselves and support requests might get more complex to resolve?

Awesome post!

I have added a section for ongoing investigations in my post.

If they want to create a portfolio with projects from the 2 divisions: yes

Thanks for the suggestions that I added in the post :+1:

Are you sure this is true? My understanding is that a Premium organization could have 1 or more individual Business-level team(s) set up - each team would be at the Business level and would have its own billing and administration but would just be Business teams, no Divisions involved. Is that wrong?

2 Likes