Structuring Asana for lots of sub-contractors


#1

Hi,

My company has <10 staff & we build houses using sub-contractors. I’ve been experimenting with the free version of Asana which seems very nice :slight_smile: We’re ready to purchase the Premium service if it meets our requirements. We usually have up to 10 project builds occurring at one time. We have up to 10 sub-contractors (companies i.e. they have multiple staff working for us) which work on multiple projects. And then we also have contractors which might only work with us for one project.

I’ve been trying to figure out how best to structure Asana and I would really appreciate your advice.

Say this is our subcontractors:
Bricklayer firm A - works on total of 5 build projects (Projects # 2,4,6,8,10)
Bricklayer firm B - works on total of 4 build projects (Projects # 1,3,5,7)
Bricklayer firm C - works on total of 1 build project (Project # 9)
Carpenter firm A - works on total of 9 build projects (Projects # 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9)
Carpenter firm B - works on total of 1 build project (Project # 10)
Electrician firm A - works on total of 10 projects
Plumber firm A - works on total of 5 projects
Plumber firm B - works on total of 5 projects

Each subcontractor might have anything from 1 to 30 tasks for each project they’re working on.

We have our own staff which need to be able to see all tasks everywhere, and be able to add/modify tasks and mark them as complete.

Each subcontractor needs to be able to see all their own tasks for all of their projects (and create their own tasks or modify existing). It’s OK if they see other contractors tasks if they are on the same project. But they must not be able to mark a task for another contractor as complete (or modify an existing task). All subcontractors use a different email address from our own domain.

How best would you suggest we structure Asana? How will the Premium service help?

Thank you,

Matt


#2

A premium organization of ten will be adequate for your paid seats consistent with your domain users. All others will be free guests. Extensive use of Saved Advanced Searches in premium will be helpful. Use your project, Sections and tasks wisely and you should have a good system. If a client has multiple projects back up to Teams. Also consider premium feature of timeline.


#3

I’m reading this as primarily a permissions issue.

You have a couple of permissions options at different levels of an Asana organization.

  • Team: Public to Organization, Membership by Request, Hidden
  • Project: Public to Team, Private to project members
  • Project Members: Can edit, Can comment

And you want more access control then Asana currently provides.
Here are a couple of suggested options. None of them give you exactly what you want. You have to decide between how much access to give your subcontractors and how much you want to manage in Asana for them.

  1. Open Projects
  • Teams: Membership by Request. Only add direct employees that need to see all Projects.
  • Projects: Private to Project members. Add direct employees and subcontractors as appropriate.
  • Project members: Set all Project members to Can edit
  • Results:
    • All Project members (in this case direct employees and subcontractors) can add, edit, delete, complete, and incomplete Tasks in the Projects they are members of.
    • On the plus side, most of what is done to the Tasks will be logged.
    • Logging can promote good behavior if your concern is foul play, but doesn’t help if your concern is user error.
  1. Less Open Project
  • Teams: Membership by Request. Only add direct employees that need to see all Projects.
  • Projects: Private to Project members. Add direct employees and subcontractors as appropriate.
  • Project members: Set direct employees to Can edit. Set subcontractors to Can comment
  • Results:
    • Direct employees can add, edit, delete, complete, and incomplete Tasks.
    • Subcontractors can see and comment on all Tasks in the Projects they are members of.
  1. Closed Project. Open Tasks
  • Teams: Membership by Request. Only add direct employees that need to see all Projects.
  • Projects: Private to Project members. Add direct employees only.
  • Project members: Set direct employees to Can edit. Do not add subcontractors.
  • Tasks; Add subcontractors as Assignee and/or Followers of Tasks you want them to have full access to.
  • Results:
    • Direct employees can add, edit, delete, complete, and incomplete Tasks.
    • Subcontractors can only see Task they have been added to. They will be able to add, edit, delete, complete, and incomplete only these Tasks.

Or you should be able to get most of what you want, but it will require you setting up and maintaining more Projects. You would need Projects in Asana for each of your build projects and a Project in Asana for each subcontractor.
You should test this, but I’m pretty sure it will work.
For the build Projects.

  • Teams: Membership by Request. Only add direct employees that need to see all Projects.
  • Projects: Private to Project members. Add direct employees and subcontractors as appropriate.
  • Project members: Set direct employees to Can edit. Set subcontractors to Can comment.

For the subcontractor Projects.

  • Teams: Membership by Request. Only add direct employees that need to see all Projects.
  • Projects: Private to Project members. Add direct employees and subcontractors as appropriate.
  • Project members: Set all Project members to Can edit
  • Tasks; Add Tasks for the subcontractor here and multihome the Tasks to the appropriate build Project.

Results:

  • Direct employees can add, edit, delete, complete, and incomplete Tasks.
  • Subcontractors can can add, edit, delete, complete, and incomplete Task in their subcontractor Project.
  • Subcontractors can see and comment on all Tasks in the build Projects they are members of.

#4

Thanks James. We’re now starting to use the Premium organisation.


#5

Vince,

Thank you very much for your comprehensive reply. It’s taken a while to both get my head around the permissions, and then trial with the various different settings.

We’ve decided to adopt (or at least pilot) a project for each subcontractor with permissions ‘Private to Project Members’. That way each subcontractor only sees their own tasks, with each building project separated by Sections. While this didn’t meet the exact criteria we’d hoped for, it will still improve the collaboration/communication on our task management.

Thanks again

Matt


#6

@MattB,

Glad I could help. I started typing up an answer and it kept growing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started.