Should I use Workspaces or Organisation?


#1

Hi all, I hope I can get a little advice.

I am part of a nonprofit volunteer organisation that has many members that come and go very frequently.

I have set up a trial of Asana Workspace and it is working well but we would like to grow the usage to other groups who could make good use of the task assignment and conversation features. It seems sensible to create an Asana Organisation and create teams rather than another Workspace for this.

We have an email domain so we can do it. But the problem is that the email domain is mostly only used for “generic” mailboxes (eg, info, secretary, webmaster, etc) and those mailboxes might be shared depending on who is rostered in that role that day. So they can’t really be used. In general, most members use their own personal email address for internal (direct) communication and the domain mailboxes for official (external) communication.

I know I can add foreign email addresses as a guest to the Organisation, but I am struggling to figure out if they will be too limited compared to being a member of a Workspace. Really I want the foreign addresses that I add to be just like a normal member of the team and create tasks and see other projects in the team preferably without explicit sharing.

What do you think, which direction do you think I should go? And if I decided to create an Organisation, is it hard to delete and can it be created again in the future if I change my mind?


Noobie set-up question re Workspace vs. Organization
Noobie set-up question re Workspace vs. Organization
#2

@Marty_Potter I would definitely use an Organization versus a workspace. It gives you more flexibility and another hierarchy with Teams. I say this because I am working with a church and we are finally drawing volunteers (guests) into the participation. Project members as guests can do many things and Asana does have options regarding what they see. I think reading these links in the Asana Guide are helpful but others like @Alexis will certainly have some other thoughts for you.

Team Settings:

Projects

Public Projects

Private Projects


#3

Excellent question, @Marty_Potter. Thanks for sharing your experience @James_Carl.

While James raises some helpful points that are based on his experience, I recommend that you move ahead with a Workspace, Marty. “A Workspace is a collection of people that collaborate on projects and tasks. Workspaces can be used by any group of people and do not require a common company email domain.” A Workspace will give you the flexibility to add and remove people and change their guest status as needed. You’ll still be able to collaborate on projects in a Workspace. Ultimately, because Organizations are largely based on email domains, it sounds like getting your volunteers together in an Organization will be difficult. I also recommend that you do not attempt to create, then delete, and create an Organization.

Take a look at these two very helpful guide articles on setting up your team in a Workspace vs. an Organization.

Please reach out if you have any follow up questions. :slight_smile:


#4

@Marty Potter. This question combined with what people can see, security etc is of deep enough variables, I would love to see Asana make a training video discussing all these things including the question you asked. For instance my testing of a free Workspace indicates that you cannot assign a task to a guest even if they are not a project member without them seeing all the tasks of the Project. In my paid version I can assign a task to a guest without them being a Project member and that is all they see. I can’t remember if I could do this when I was a free organization. @alexis makes good points and apparently there are things that you can only do in workspaces as noted in the first URL @alexis gave you on workspaces. “This option is only available in Workspaces. In Organizations, the Member/Guest distinction is automatically identified by the person’s email address.” I am an admitted user that wants as many levels as I can get ie. Organization-Team-Project-Section-Task-Subtask but this may not be applicable to what you are trying to do. I think the Asana employees are going to have a perspective of what they see across their users, a better understanding of Asana and what works. Good thing to have interaction like this.


#5

@Alexis Do you think @Marty_Potter would be well served to go to the 5 member paid version for $250.00 per year and build off that. I believe this would give him even more privacy for his turnover of guests. Just a thought


#6

I’ve had a bit of a think more about the problem, and I’m leaning toward an Organisation. If we didn’t have an email domain, it would be a non-issue :slight_smile:

My indecision stems from the two guides mentioned by @Alexis where the rights of a Workspace Member and Guest are outlined, but the rights of on Organisation Guest are not broken down into bullet points, so a side-by side comparison can’t be made.

Take as an example a person with a @yahoo.com address. In a Workspace, they are a Member unless explicitly made a Guest. For me, that’s ideal. In an Organisation though, the same user is a Guest. But are their rights to create new tasks/projects etc the same as a Workspace Guest? It just says they can only see what is explicitly shared with them, which might be OK but I can’t test its behavior. Our users are VERY non-tech savvy. I expect less than 15 active users at any one time, so managing users and sharing/privacy by an admin-type shouldn’t be too much trouble.

The fundamental way in which Workspaces are independent suggests that Organisation is better for us, since multiple Workspaces mean not seeing everything in one place (eg multiple “my tasks”). Similarly, moving a Task from one group of users to another would mean copy/delete between Workspaces. I think Workspaces is better if that group works as a silo with little collaborative involvement with other groups, and might eventually be limiting in flexibility for us. Our active group is so small I could even do everything in one Workspace and break the groups up with Projects as “team” areas, but since we have the option to make an Organisation, I’m exploring it.

So my problem is how to test an Organisation and make sure all users are able to do what Members can with little intervention?

  • If I create an Organisation, can I have it removed if I decide it’s not the right style for us, and recreate later?
  • Does the email address of the “first in my company to sign up” become permanent, or can I later hand over the rights and notifications of that account to another email address?
  • Can I add a Workspace to an Organisation later and have it converted to a team?
  • If my only choice is to request a Workspace converted to an Organisation, can I revert it back to a Workspace at all? (by backup/restore for example; i’m only in testing phase still)

I like the way Asana defines the two user types by email address, but our little group doesn’t fit that definition :slight_smile:


#7

Hi @Marty_Potter. Thoughts on your questions:

  • You must have a unique email domain to create an organization. Due to the issue of generic mailboxes with your domain, it does sound like a workspace might be a better option for you. However, if the email domain issue is resolved and those mailboxes can be used, then an organization is a good bet.
  • If you convert a workspace to an organization, you can’t convert it back to a workspace. Your only option would be to start over if you wanted to go back to a workspace format.
  • You can do email domain name changes for “first in my company to sign up.” All you have to do is send a request to Asana support.
  • Yes, you can add a workspace to an organization later and have it converted to a team.

Let us know what you decide!


Noobie set-up question re Workspace vs. Organization
#8

@James_Carl has assisted me greatly in allowing me to join his “Test” organisation.

I’ve worked out that Organisation Guests can pretty much do most things anything a Workspace Member can do. I now try to think about it from the perspective of a Organisation Guest being just another member but without the “openness” of being about to see the whole organisation.

A guest of a team can create a project/task, and add a guest from a non-related team to that project/task. The other guest will see that item in their list but not belong to the other guest’s team. They can also see other people’s names who are assigned to that project. It’s pretty much how I want to work.

The only limitation that might affect my users appears to be that guests cannot see other people in the organisation if they are not in your team. Therefore, if they want to assign a task/project outside the team, they will need to know that person’s name in order to start typing it in the assignment field. Its not really big deal since I will only really be dealing with small teams and cross-assignment like this will happen rarely (most of the time a special guest will belong to 2 teams). Projects will be generally things like “IT Faults” and be constant so have the same people assigned continuously, but it’s a small thing that might trip up the non-savvy user.

Anyway thanks again, I’ll convert to an Organisation, but what’s the best way to do a backup of everything first, and restore to a new workspace if I need to?


#9

@Marty_Potter it looks like you’re finding some clarity. That’s great!

As I mentioned, if you convert a workspace to an organization, you can’t convert it back to a workspace. As things are right now, you wouldn’t be able to do a “backup” and restore to a new workspace. However, if you were interested in doing a bit of leg work you could use the Kothar workaround - create a new Workspace and use Kothar to move your data over to it.

Any thoughts?


#10

Thanks @Alexis I might take a look at Kothar

I see I can also export to CSV per project. At least it’s another form of the data, even if it’s not importable. Since I am just starting up we don’t have masses amounts of data and could always start again by hand :smile:


#11

I have used Kothar and it worked well but no guarantees


#12

@Marty_Potter that sounds good! It’s been fun collaborating with you on this.


#13

So, it seems my tests were somehow flawed. A guest cannot search for another guest in another Team and therefore cannot @mention or add them to a project/task. At least that’s what Tech support have told me when I added a new guest recently.

After changing to an Organisation type, an existing guest was moved into another team but still shows in searches, however a new guest that has been added since converting to an Organisation cannot be searched for.

This breaks my workflow. Badly. Everything I was testing was dependent on what a guest could do whilst keeping a concept of Teams with separation. I was under the impression that whilst a guest could not browse other teams or see other guests in a list, they were still searchable and therefore could either request team membership or @mention other guests by name or add them to tasks etc. They can’t. Only Organisation members can. Conversion from a workspace to organisation is not the same for everyone

Another annoying limitation is that @mentions of Teams or Tasks by Org members may show as “private” so there is no way of the guest knowing what the reference was and therefore ask an Organisation member to add them.

As a minimum, I need to figure out a way to allow guests to find other guests in other teams so they can be added to tasks as followers. Adding everyone to every Team defeats the purpose of having separate Teams, and I really want to avoid having to set up an Organisatonal email for everyone that joins because of the nature of our non-profit.

Thoughts welcome!


#14

Good to see you, @Marty_Potter!

I have a few workaround suggestions for you and I’m curious to hear from the rest of the community, as well.

Some ideas:

  • Advise and empower guests to add other guests to projects as outlined here: https://blog.asana.com/2012/03/guest-accounts-asana-for-clients-contractors-and-consultants/
  • Weekly recurring tasks for yourself to see who belongs to which teams and projects, and add guests accordingly. This would take a bit more effort on your part, but it could help resolve confusion. You can see the projects and tasks to which each guest belongs by using the “export member data” option outlined here: https://blog.asana.com/2016/03/new-admin-functionality/
  • I’m a big fan of creating reference projects, as well. Each task in a reference project would link to a referenceable project or task (ex. Task name: Product roadmap; task description: link to product roadmap project + and description that reads: The product roadmap for this quarter. Request to join this if you’re on the product team, marketing team, or you just want to be in the loop.). Then, if people want to join any project in this list, they could add a subtask request to be added to the project and assign it to you.
  • If you want people to know who the other guests are, you could also create a reference project that lists team member names.

Any other ideas for Marty, folks?


#15

@Alexis thanks for these tips.

I am working on your concept of Reference Projects and considering other ways of doing it to minimise administrative overhead.

What I have discovered (I think) is I can add and immediately remove every guest to just one Public Project for everyone in that Project’s Team to be able to search guests.

As long as that Public Project remains active, it doesn’t matter if a foreign Team’s guests remain connected to that project or not. They stay searchable to that Team. Or at least that’s how it seems :slight_smile: I want to do more testing to be sure first.

If it’s true, in my Organsiation, every Team will have ongoing Projects (eg Tasks of current computer faults) that will never close, and I’ll just have to add/remove every new Guest to such a project in every Team. Not a big ask with 5 Teams and a relatively stable list of Guests!

I’m not sure how you use a reference Project to list Team member names, @Alexis. Wouldn’t that create a lot of duplicate visible projects for each person?

More to come after testing further!


#16

Glad you’re testing out the concept! I hope this works out for you. It’s been a journey and I’m eager to hear what you come up with.

Regarding your question about a names reference project: I had simply thought you could create a project that lists the names of everyone you’re working with. It could create more administrative overhead, however. Maybe avoid it unless absolutely necessary :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#17

What I’ve settled on (for now at least) is creating a new Team that I’ve called “Everybody”, but only myself (as a supervising Organisation Member) is part of the new Team.

I’ve then created a new Project called “Contact List” and added everyone from all Teams, particularly Guests, to this Project. This allows everyone to search who else is joined to Asana, and thus do @mentions etc of other Guests in other Teams to invite them to collaborate.

The “Everyone” Team now appears in each user’s sidebar. This gives some flexibility in that other Projects can be created for other purposes, like a “Social Hub” Project to allow less work-centric conversations for those that want to opt-in whilst being able to control these types of notifications separately from their real Team.

You’re probably thinking “just give everyone an org email address”! Its not as easy as it sounds. Trust me, for our organisation, it’s currently impractical.


#18

That’s a great work around Marty, I did something similar with one of our teams, but I just added them all to the team rather than a project. It’s not as clear as what you did with the Contact List project though…

And you’re right, not everyone can get an organization email address. They cost money, companies have multiple domains (like mine =|) and not everyone has xyz email, etc.


#19

So glad you’re seeing success with this, @Marty_Potter ! It’s been a journey. We’ll welcome any insights you can share with the Community as you spend more time with this process.

@Caisha I (humbly) believe the Contact List project Marty is referring to relates to this suggestion. :blush:


Differences between Personal Projects & other Workspaces (free version)
#20

Hi Asanaers!
So I’m just starting my set-up and haven’t found a definitive answer to my few parts question which is:

If I am an individual who intends to use Asana to manage my personal life, two personal small (aka just me and one or two others) businesses, and one or two other small businesses; would it be best to sign up with my personal gmail as a workspace or organization? Or with one of my business emails as a workspace or organization?

Do I set up the businesses I’d be managing as Organizations, Workspaces or Teams?

I am also an “employee” at one of the businesses I would be Asanaing for. So I have an email with that company.

And finally, If I want to manage all of these businesses and my personal stuff, am I the only one who needs a premium account if I want to take advantage of those benefits? Or do any and all team members working in those businesses need a premium account for themselves as well.

Long question I know! I appreciate any and all help!

Thanks!