Assignment and Due Date Etiquette


#1

What is your team’s etiquette around assignments and due dates? When someone is assigned a task and due date, is the default team expectation that the person accepts it unless they push back, or do they have to affirmatively accept it with a heart, comment, or otherwise?

We had our first conflict the other day where something didn’t get done on time and the person who was expecting it said “But I put it in Asana!” The assignees said they didn’t have enough time to do it, and a unilateral assignment is just a request. We discussed this as a team yesterday and decided that a person should be deemed to have accepted an assignment and due date unless they push back by the next day. We also discussed how this means it’s important for everyone to keep up with Inbox and notifications throughout the day so they know what they’ve been assigned.

How does your team approach this?


Feature Request - request a task
#2

@Craig_Fifer Agree with your approach. To me the Due Date assigned by somebody else is the date they need/want it done by. It is me the assignees responsibility to go back to the person if I don’t believe I can achieve it.

However I need something done by a certain date, and I don’t follow up to make sure that the person I need to do it is okay with it, via a Standup, Messaging, Phone call etc. Then I share some of the responsibility if it doesn’t get done.

Jason.


#3

Ooh I like this conversation, thanks for starting it @Craig_Fifer! I take for granted that at Asana our so-called Asana conventions are built into our culture. It takes a lot of trust to assign and receive a due date, and a lot of trust to request a due date change, as well.

If I have to choose a directly responsible individual for the due date, I’d say it’s the assignee. If a person feels it’s unrealistic for them to complete something by a certain due date, then they need to speak up and say it. However, that means that a team’s culture needs to encourage openness. If I had a scary boss (and I’ve had them), I’d be very afraid to say hey, I actually have too much on my plate to complete this at this time, can we move it a day/a couple days/a week?

That said, I agree with you @Jason_Woods that if I need something done by a certain time, it is 100% up to me to be on top of it. First, I can assign the date and in a description or comment say, does this timeline work for you, do you have bandwidth? And really, if I’m asking someone else to get something done for my due date, then really they’re doing me a favor and it’s up to me to ask how I can help them move things along so we can get things done on time. This is silly, but it makes me think of the bumper sticker, “I’m not in your hurry.” The assignee isn’t in my hurry - I am.

My biggest takeaway with assignment and due date is the importance of setting expectations. I’d argue that managers need to set a precedent that encourages people to (kindly) speak up if something doesn’t feel right. When they do that, their use of Asana can really flourish because transparency and open communication lead to clarity. And clarity leads to productivity. Just my two cents. :slight_smile:


#4

Tough question, @Craig_Fifer! It’s not like there’s a “hard deadline” vs “suggested deadline” tag, and I wouldn’t want that feature anyway. Sometimes my colleague will ask whether I can take on a task, and when I say yes, she’ll tell me she’s assigning it to me with a due date of today so that I can reschedule it according to my current workload - that’s the ideal, when we’ve had a conversation about it before the task is assigned in Asana.

But then we also have situations when we use a template for a recurring, big task that contains many subtasks that get divvied up, and the one person in charge of copying that template and assigning and due-dating the subtasks may not know the most appropriate dates to assign to everyone. So it’s become the norm within our work culture that each of us move around due dates after tasks are assigned to us. And when there’s confusion it is brought up in person. But then… we’re privileged to have an open and trusting culture!


#5

Word! The etiquette is just speaking up! :+1: If you get a task with a deadline you can’t handle — say it. Or just change it, and if the person who assigned the task won’t agree, they can start a negotiation.


#6

Great question and discussion. I agree with @Jason_Woods; there needs to be an understanding between both people 1) the assignee should go back to the assignor to request a new date if they can’t do the work 2) the assignor should follow up if it’s a “strict” due date.

I like your suggestion of “accepting” a task request and you could do this by hearing the task at the top of the task pane. By hearing the task, the assignee would be effectively saying: “Task received and I’ll get this complete before the due date”. If the task isn’t accepted, they need to work out a more realistic date with the assignor.


#7

Meant to type “hearting” not “hearing”