- There is a Kanban-style workboard (think "To Do" and "Doing" columns, etc). The team uses this to get shared understanding of what's currently in-progress, or about to be, to gauge team capacity and coordinate with one another async.
- Tasks on this workboard all have to have a connected goal (e.g. "Objective for Q3"). In this case, I mean lower-case "goal," not the Asana feature. The general idea is that the team wants to know if in-progress work is relevant (or conversely, if a new goal needs to be created from emergent work).
Here's what I've tried (and the challenges I've had):
A custom field (e.g. titled "Goal") that allows for quickly
tagging a task
- This is convenient, as it's easy to do and see. It even shows up on the workboard view cards! And it is filterable on list views. An option exists for multiple tags.
- The problem is that it seems best used for things that never go
- For example, a category of work could be "Requests". This is specific enough to be different from something else (e.g. "Planned"), but broad enough that it will always exist (there will always be requests and planned work). When using this feature for goals, however, the options eventually become irrelevant. For example, "Objective for Q3" is old news by Q4 (and/or when it's completed). This leads to either a cluttered list of mostly-irrelevant options, or requires deleting old options and thus destroying goal completion data (as far as I can tell).
Subtasking larger, goal tasks (or conversely, giving parents
to emergent tasks)
- This relies on using a Section that has goals as items in that section (e.g. a "Goals" column/Section). It's useful because you can just click a goal card and it will show you all that needs to be done to resolve the goal.
- The problem I've encountered with this is that if something is a
subtask of another task, it is fused to that task. It can't be a subtask
of something else, as well, and it can't exist in another section. It's
more like a simple checklist a la Trello.
- For example, let's say I have Sections called "Goals" and "To Do" and "Doing". I have a card in "Goals" that represents a bunch of work (e.g. "Objective for Q3"). Each subtask on that card represents a distinct piece of work, and I want to do them one at a time, and represent that by putting a subtask into "Doing". As far as I can tell, this isn't possible without bringing in the entire task that lives in "Goals" and also all the subtasks. If I did that, it would remove the "Goal" Section moniker, and also force me to work on all the subtasks at once (or else drag this giant thing back and forth, as needed).
Separate projects per goal
- This tries to get around the problem with temporary custom fields. If each goal is a project unto itself, it is inherently resolvable, and it's clear what work remains on a goal as the tasks disappear from the project. Empty project? The goal is either met, or needs more tasks. Asana makes this possible by allowing tasks to exist on multiple projects (same as Phabricator), using a drop down similar to a custom field. Cards with other projects show up with a little colored line on tasks (on the board view).
- The problem I've encountered is that the UI is much more subtle
(compared to custom fields) for this.
- It requires using a color-coded legend to determine what workstream a task is in. More specifically, tasks on the board view have colored lines on them, and the left-menu in Asana shows all your projects with a colored square. Match the colors on the lines and squares and you can determine the connection. It's not user-friendly the way a Custom Field is.
- Additionally, the List view doesn't show other projects that tasks belong to (this may be addable, but I can't find how).
- On top of all that, this approach requires either A) each project to have "To Do" and "Doing" etc (which is a baaaaad practice, because it creates multiple sources of truth), or B) all tasks to be cross-added with another project. The latter is feasible (and how many teams use Phabricator), but best implemented with automatic controls, and Asana seems good at adding projects to tasks automatically, but not removing (e.g. when a task is deprioritized from the Kanban).
- TL;DR, this approach technically works but requires a ton of micromanagement.
Anything else I should try? Things I'm curious about:
- Asana has a Goals feature! I'm not really sure of the point of it, though, as I can't connect tasks to it, just projects, which doesn't seem to help my Kanban-driven scenario. This feature sort of seems ingrained in "Asana is for orgwide tracking more than just team tracking." As far as I can tell, this feature is really separate from tasks and requires manual interaction for its purposes. It's more like an OKR-tracking thing unrelated to tasks.
- Triggers: I'm intrigued by automation, but ideally automation that is set-it-and-forget-it, not something that needs to be implemented with each new workstream.
- Milestones: As far as I can tell, this is just a task type that stands out, but doesn't actually do anything.
Your wisdom is appreciated. :bowing_man:
(I think this is related to https://forum.asana.com/t/goals-in-projects/89103/6)