Resource scheduling and tracking in Asana?


#1

I’d really like to be able to schedule and track resources in projects and be able to see resources level of effort across projects. I’ve checked out Harvest tracking and it doesn’t seem to do what I want. The thing that comes closest to what i want is instagantt via the workload view, but I’d like to be able to do scheduling too like some other more advanced PM tools have. Does anyone know if there is an app that might be able to do this?


#2

Can you clarify what you mean by “resources”? Do you mean the amount of time people on your team have to spare?


#3

Hi @paulminors, yes. So I want to be able to allocate resources to projects and then be able to see their capacity utilised and remaining. I know there are lots of standalone tools out there that do resource scheduling and tracking as well as others that are built-in to a PM tool and this is the one area that Asana lacks I think. Unless there’s an app that integrates? Or some sort of workaround? (Apologies my org has just upgraded to Asana Premium and I’m really new to this community so please forgive me if I’m not following protocols or making myself very clear.)


#4

Do you use Macs or Windows PC because I may have a tool for you.


#5

Officially windows PC, but there are a couple of BYOD MAC users.


#6

Hi! I don’t know if this is too simplistic but we just use a custom field. We have a number field titled Time Spent, which people round to the nearest hour - this is only because our developments last months, with activity split into bits and pieces involving many stakeholders, so it’s difficult to be more precise. We can then run an advanced search for that custom field ‘With any value’, and narrow it down by milestone, project or individual. We have a couple of others for ‘Forecast Costs’ and ‘Actual Costs’ that do the same.

I’m sure you could probably tweak it to make it slightly more precise, but the possibility certainly exists within Asana itself.


#7

Hi Mark, that’s useful to know! We do actually suffer from the same problem in that our projects are difficult for people to allocate precise time to due to the nature of the activities, we’re also not very good at planning and effort is often guestimated, so I have a bit of challenge to get people to think about planning upfront too. So perhaps this would be a good solution to get people into the practice of it, keep it simple! I do need to play around with custom fields a bit more to see what I can do, and I’m still not completely au fait with the Advanced Search, so I will experiment a bit more and see how things can be tweaked.

Thank you for the suggestion!


#8

@Vai_Cheung @Mark_Hudson My answer may be a little long winded but later this week I am going to contribute a version of my gift to the community CSV To Asana Simple List Generator- My Gift To Community that I am adding two custom fields Est-Time and Act-Time and a calculated Difference. Having said that the direct answer to your question as provided by @Mark_Hudson is there is no resource allocation tool in Asana but my tool should help those with Windows PC machines. (If a MAC user or two like it I can get you in contact with my programmer and the whole tool will be very little cost to replicate). Here are my thoughts on Resource allocation to do it correctly. I think you need the following information and calculation:

  1. Total Estimated Task Time

  2. % of Assignee Time Available to the Task.

  3. So the Amount of Estimated Task Time is Multiplied by the % of Assignee Time Available to the Task to get a calculated Estimated Task Time-Assignee.

  4. The Assignee then keeps their actual time updated in a custom field Actual Time-Assignee

  5. Of course you could take this as far as you want but it could get complicated as we are trying to create with what is available. So for instance you could have a filed % of Assignee Time Available This Week multiplied by Total Estimated Task Time to do weekly scheduling.

  6. When and if Asana allows mathematics between custom fields this will be a major tool combined with the Advanced Report Writer.

  7. In the mean time you will at least have my CSV tool and the improvement request I have made to Asana. CSV To Asana Simple List Generator- My Gift To Community.

  8. Here is a sneak preview of what should be done this week. I will be adding subtotals at Project and Grand Total at the bottom of the page. I also am the creator of Sendana, a Microsoft Outlook Add-in for Asana www.sendana.net, if you use Microsoft Outlook. Here is the report, please let me know if you think this would help and @Mark_Hudson if you have any thoughts they are always welcome.


#9

The three best tools I know of that integrate with Asana and have capabilities for resource capacity planning are Instagantt, Harvest’s sister-tool called Forecast, and HourStack.

I’d recommend looking at Forecast first if you haven’t evaluated that yet. If those don’t work for you, I’m not sure if there’s anything else currently available.

Todd
AsanaTraining.com


#11

Thank you Todd, I will take a look at Forecast and HourStack.:slight_smile:


#12

@Todd_Cavanaugh I use Harvest time and billing and like it. When I inquired about their Forecast tool they indicated that there was no direct Asana integration which I mentioned to them would be great. Maybe this has changed or maybe you can somehow use the direct integration Harvest and it integrates with Forecast to achieve the ends. Have you seen people do this?

Thanks


#13

Yes, I think since Asana integrates with Harvest, and Harvest integrates with Forecast, it achieves most of what’s needed. In general, I think resource planning normally requires a lot of manual effort anyways.


#14

I give @Mark_Hudson’s response a +1. This would be the easier to implement without having to set up another tool. But if you’d like something more robust, go with one of @Todd_Cavanaugh’s recommendations.


#15

Vai–

I had a chat with Asana Sales team this AM and they pointed me in the direction of digispoke.com which has a direct Asana integration. Its for task creation, but you can sync dates and estimated time forecasts in it.

There’s a second tab with a calendar/gantt chart type.

Also, Asana does have a calendar feature, but without start dates for tasks its pretty useless. I love the timeliness of your post. I am literally in the thick of trying to come up with a good task/calendar/forecasting tool to make Asana fork better for us. We are heavily into Harvest, but haven’t picked up Forecast yet because you also have to add every user to forecast in order to plan their time and I really just need the managers to do that, plus it doesn’t sync to Asana.


#16

Thanks @Noel_Howell1. This looks interesting. Will check it out.


#17

Asana Premium is introducing Start Dates for tasks, instagantt had them from the very beginning, they should start working together soon.

I expect that DigiSpoke will sync Start Date soon as well.


#18

@Myroslav_Opyr “Asana Premium is introducing Start Dates” is this in beta users hands or has it been confirmed on other posts. Thanks


#19

I have Start Date in my Asana already and I’d seen evidences that it is tested with select Asana customers.

It is a chance that my organization is subject for some A/B segmentation. For example in my case most probably one or both following criteria made us eligible:

  • Asana beta tester
  • Current instagantt user

#20

@Matt_Bramlage Is Start Date in the API or will it be added shortly, considering for Sendana.

Thanks


#21

@Vai_Cheung

Sounds like we are having similar problems with scheduling.

We are trying to work out how we can best use Asana for resource scheduling around our typical project run.

I have reviewed the calendar use and this thread which was the best I could find on the issue:

We run our projects in an agile way, generally with 4 main tasks and lots of sub tasks underneath.

Main tasks can be split across weeks, so not concurrent, and have multiple people working on the sub tasks which are generally assigned in scrums as the project moves on.

This is a typical scenario:

Phase 1 - Discovery
» 2 days: run concurrently
» 2 Engineers
» Both would work on shared sub tasks

Phase 2 - Build
» 20 days: Not run concurrently, typical scenario could be 5 straight days initially then blocks of 2-3 days as required until complete, i.e. mon - fri first week, then mon - weds the next week, tue & weds the week after etc until completion
» 2 - 3 Engineers
» All would work on sub tasks as required, some would be shared

Phase 3 - Implementation
» 5 days: run concurrently
» 2 Engineers
» Both would work on shared sub tasks

Phase 4 - Handover
» 3 days: Not concurrent
» 1 Engineer - 1 Support tech
» Handover documentation done by Engineer, (normally 2 days) and then 1 day both Engineer and Tech on site with client

We would prefer to be able to simply schedule at the main task level since the subtasks might not be clarified until later steps in the project.

i.e. Phase 2 - Build could have Engineer 1, Engineer 2 & Engineer 3 assigned to it, but would need to have the days broken and Engineers assigned at different days.

The problem we have with with Asana is that you can’t assign multiple people to a task and you can’t split the time to break across multiple days

Question:

  1. Do you have any creative suggestions on how we could setup and manage this through Asana for resourcing, we would prefer not to have to use a third party integration if possible
  2. If its simply not possible through Asana any suggestions on a tool that would be able to schedule in this way?