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 @LEGGO, 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.

The advantage of creating a division in large groups is that it avoids increasing the bill with each new employee who logs in. The new users will then have access to the free orga and not to the paying division. The free orga then remains in unlimited access.

: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.

A plan cannot be above another plan. That’s why a free organization can have a paid-subscription team without a division, while an organization on a paid plan cannot have a separate paid-subscription team without creating a division.

If there are multiple divisions within the organization (yes, you can have more than one), a user can belong to more than one division but they must pay for a license in each.

Is it possible to have several divisions, but with the same billing owner? or do we have to choose different ones? => To be the billing owner, you have to belong to the division, then if you want to be the billing owner of several divisions, you’ll need several licences.

: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.

A team belongs to only one division at a time.

All teams appear in the left sidebar (org + division) if they are in “Membership by request”.

There is no indication whether a team is in the organization or in the division, unless for example the organization is free because in this case the projects do not have custom fields.
One trick is to add an emoji at the beginning of the team name to distinguish between free and paid teams. Otherwise, you will have to go to a project of the team to check if it has paid features or not.

: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:

  • Cannot have service accounts; must use personal access tokens.
  • Admin cannot deactivate feature where a user can invite another user.
  • Options such as SAML, Division Guest Invite, File attachment, edit a user’s profile, are no longer available without contacting Asana Sales, as these changes impact the entire domain name, not just a division, so validation is required with Asana prior to any changes.

:bangbang: Some other important points
It is possible to create paid teams. What are the reasons, if any, that someone would want to create a separate team but not a Division?
There are not really a good reason to choose a Team instead of a Division.
A Division can have as many teams as needed, but you could have “only” one Team if you want.
Division unlocks the Admin Console which makes the process way easier when it comes to managing Users.

Can someone just be a member of a Division, or do they also have to be a member of the encompassing org as well?
In order to be a Member of the Division you need to be a Member of the Organization too.
As soon as you will be invited to a Division (even if you are not using Asana yet), you will be added to the Organization itself too.

Divisions only exist in Free Organizations, it is impossible to have a Division in a paid Organization.

Also, if a Team belongs to a Division, it will not be possible to have a specific plan on this Team.
In this case, your only luck would be to remove the Team from the Division (the Team becomes Free again) and then, to upgrade the Team to a paid plan.

if an Organization has a paid plan you will never be able to have a Division there.

If, for example, a Premium Organization is asking to have a Team xyz Business, Asana offers to move the Premium plan to a Team, convert it into a Division, ask Billing Owner to add all Teams to the Division but the one(s) they want Business and then, Asana creates a Business plan on the remains Teams (a Division).

Who can deprovision users?
In a division, a user can deprovision another user. This is not limited to the free teams that are in the free organization.

Users cannot remove members from an organization only when the paid plan is implemented on the entire organization.


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 @Phil_Seeman ,@LEGGO, @Bastien_Siebman, @lpb and others for helping to understand all this :slight_smile:

Link to the Asana Guide: Les divisions • Guide produit Asana

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Excellent overview @Julien_RENAUD!!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thanks for this. Bookmarking this post!

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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.
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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:

@Phil_Seeman and I were able to attend a meeting with an Asana expert from the divisions, which confirmed the information in the first post above.
We also learned some additional information. Thank you @Phil_Seeman if you can double check :wink:

:question: Why would one WANT to use divisions?
The advantage of creating a division in large groups is that it avoids increasing the bill with each new employee who logs in. The new users will then have access to the free orga and not to the paying division. The free orga then remains in unlimited access.

:moneybag: Billing
A plan cannot be above another plan. That’s why a free organization can have a Premium team (without a division) while a Premium organization cannot have a Business team without creating a division.

A person who belongs to both the organization and the division must pay for 2 licenses.

:busts_in_silhouette: Teams
A team belongs to only one division at a time.

All teams appear in the left sidebar (org + division) if they are in “Membership by request”.

There is no indication whether a team is in the organization or in the division, unless for example the organization is free because in this case the projects do not have custom fields.

:computer: Admin Console
Options such as SAML, Division Guest Invite, File attachment, Rename are no longer available without contacting Asana Sales, as these changes impact the entire domain name, not just a division, so validation is required with Asana prior to any changes.

(All of this information is added to the first post.)

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To be the billing owner, you have to belong to the division, then if you want to be the billing owner of several divisions, you’ll need several licences.

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Just to cover all the bases, this also applies to other paid subscription levels; i.e. you might want to say it as something like:

That’s why a free organization can have a paid-subscription team without a division, while an organization on a paid plan cannot have a separate paid-subscription team without creating a division.

In the latter case of a paid organizational plan, a person who belongs to both the organization and the division must pay for 2 licenses.

If there are multiple divisions within the organization (yes, you can have more than one), a user can belong to more than one division but here again, they must pay for a license in each.

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Thank you @Phil_Seeman , I just replaced my sentences with yours, perfect :+1:

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Another update :point_down:

What are the reasons, if any, that someone would want to create a separate team but not a Division?
There are not really a good reason to choose a Team instead of a Division.
A Division can have “only” one Team.
Division unlocks the Admin Console which makes the process way easier when it comes to managing Users.

Can someone just be a member of a Division, or do they also have to be a member of the encompassing org as well?
In order to be a Member of the Division you need to be a Member of the Organization too.
As soon as you will be invited to a Division (even if you are not using Asana yet), you will be added to the Organization itself too.

Divisions only exist in Free Organizations, it is impossible to have a Division in a paid Organization.

Also, if a Team belongs to a Division, it will not be possible to have a specific plan on this Team.
In this case, your only luck would be to remove the Team from the Division (the Team becomes Free again) and then, to upgrade the Team to a paid plan.

if an Organization has a paid plan you will never be able to have a Division there.

If, for example, a Premium Organization is asking to have a Team xyz Business, Asana offers to move the Premium plan to a Team, convert it into a Division, ask Billing Owner to add all Teams to the Division but the one(s) they want Business and then, Asana creates a Business plan on the remains Teams (a Division).

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Do guests work the same way with Divisions?

Yes @Jack_Zenert

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@Julien_RENAUD I think I spotted an issue in the text above:

This isn’t correct, right? We learned in our Asana conference call that you can’t have a paid team on top of a paid org, right?

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Yes, but you can have a paid division and a paid org, right? In my sentence, it’s à paid division, not a team.

No, you can’t - that was the shocker that none of us understood.

Here’s a quote from the Asana salesperson we spoke with:

A plan can’t be applied on top of another plan. It means that you will never be able to have a Division if the Organization has a plan. Divisions only exist in Free Organizations, it is impossible to have a Division in a paid Organization.

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