We do Asana wrong — but it kind of works


#1

We’re a small PR/ comms agency, using Asana for almost four years across typically 4-6 clients today. I wanted to share how we are using it and see what people think, if we are really making any major mistakes (or if it helps anyone else in our situation.)

In our experience, clients have no appetite for more than 1x Asana project at a time — so typically we will lay out the next e.g. 6 months in one Asana Project, with each task representing a literal key project.

For example, at the top level of our 6 month project, we may have a list of:

  • Interview X
  • Announcement A
  • Paid amplification Z

and each will have subtasks in it and space to communicate around that project.

Now —obviously this is a bit wonky. Asana seems to want us to make every single “project” (see list above) into its own Asana Project. Certainly things like dashboards seems set up for that.

What do people think? Is this madness? Do others do the same? Should we think about transitioning?

Thanks for your time.


#2

Hey Max!

We have a very similar setup. However, for us it is not spread across multiple clients, but across multiple types of client requests (because the same team would work on the request, regardless who the client is).

Would it be possible to make your ‘Asana-sphere’ easier to grasp and track, if you create a team for each client? This way you could sort all of your projects as Asana projects and use the dashboard. At the same time, we implemented a team, which includes everyone in the organization and which holds all the projects that are not linked to a specific client, such as organizational matters and summary projects (Using Asana “summary” projects to view your most important tasks).

Would this make sense for you as well?


#3

Hi Tom — so, we do create a team for each client but it sends up acting more like an archive of the older projects, with just the current project live.

The real issue is: just about the only view that shows real value to us or the client is the “summary project” way of looking at things, that most people seem to create anyway. For us, the summary is much less intimidating to clients than clicking through each of the various other projects.

We do also create things like a search view that shows “tasks with resourcing, with changes in the last 7 days” — this is something we share with clients so they can quickly see what we’ve been doing. But again, it only really works because we have “project-like” tasks as containers, with lots of subtasks in them.


#4

Oh okay, then my suggestion doesn’t really make a difference :smiley: I am hoping that Asana will implement some better ways to organize and track projects in the near future. In my opinion, it is kind of annoying that everyone has to use the same work arounds, such as summary projects (which should show that this is something to improve upon).

What I realized though, is that solving something in Asana is not always the best solution. Sometimes it also make sense to adapt processes within the company to the new tool. Essentially, both should be optimized to reduce the ‘work about work’, not just the way one uses Asana. In your specific case, I am not sure what to change about your process to make this work better, though. :smiley:


#5

Well that’s good news for me I guess!

It may be that the way we have things at the moment is actually as good as it gets. We have certainly thought about it enough!


#6

This doesn’t seem like madness at all, and like @Tom_Suberg expressed, we see several agencies use this set up for client projects. We held a webinar about a year back with another creative agency, Crema, who uses a similar set up, and its one we recommend to customer often.

The great thing about Asana is that it is flexible to allow you to organize in the way that’s best for your team. I understand your and Tom’s concerns about adding more power to tracking your projects, and this is on our radar. In the meantime, it sounds like the set up you have is working for the team and your clients, and so I’d say you do Asana right :wink: Thanks for sharing!