Would you create multiple tasks or just one with sub tasks?

subtasks
tasks

#1

Sorry for asking such a silly question, but wanted to throw this scenario at you all to see what you guys would do?

I do Web Dev and had a client request a few alterations and fixes they’d like me to make.

These tasks will probably make no sense, but here’s what they asked for.

  1. Add 3 number inputs to 3rd party fees section.
  2. Add ability to add two additional charges to 3rd party fees section.
  3. Hide ‘Payment Section’
  4. Fix ‘Total Cost’ estimate section not calculating correctly.
  5. Add 3 input boxes to capture additional information.

In total, it’ll probably take me about 1.5 - 2 hours to make and test the changes they’ve requested.

My initial thought was to create a single task called ‘Make Changes For XYZ client’ and add those 5 things above as sub tasks. Or would it be best creating a ‘Section’ in the project called ‘Alterations Needed’ and list those 5 things above as individual tasks?

I’m probably really over thinking this and it might not matter, but curious as to when you’d use multiple tasks over a single task with Subtasks.


#2

Hi @Paul. That’s not a silly question at all. In fact, it’s a topic that has come up a few times already in the community.

I personally don’t like subtasks, firstly because I think they can make a workload look deceptively light. I like being able to see each individual task, rather than have them hidden from view.

Secondly, a subtask doesn’t automatically inherit the parent task’s project, which puts them in a strange limbo.

Finally, and this is the real killer for me at the moment, custom fields can’t be used with subtasks.

That’s just my 2 pence. Check out this thread for many more opinions:


#3

I suppose it depends on how the rest of your Asana tasks are organised.
Personally I would let it depend on the following:

  • Are you going to do all of it right now? (-> don’t bother with creating tasks)
  • What do you like the overview of your to-do’s to look like
  • Do you want to log even more specific subtasks
  • Do you want to post comments etc for the specific (sub)tasks
  • If you use Asana exports for your invoices, keep them apart
  • If you are linking tasks to e.g. JIRA (no idea if this is possible), keep them apart
  • How much do you like the Asana unicorns flying by upon completing tasks

#4

Personally I would recommend creating subtasks. Sections are generally used for more ongoing parts of your project. To me it doesn’t make sense to create a section for a task thats going to take a few hours to complete.

I like to think of subtasks as a way of breaking down your work into smaller steps (just like you’ve identified).

Please let me know if you have any more questions. If you’re interested in improving your use of Asana further or want to discuss team training, please feel free to book a free 30-minute introductory call with me to discuss consulting options.


#5

Thanks Paul.

I actually went with your approach and it working well.

I also tried your tip of using tasks as projects with subtasks as tasks and sub-sub tasks as the sub tasks. It’s a great way of cutting down projects, but I struggled with those sub-tasks and sub-sub tasks getting buried.


#6

@Mark_Hudson I totally agree with your comment about subtasks. They are hidden. Out of sight, out of mind. I like how it makes the task list look cleaner, but boy can you get in trouble in a hurry. Use with caution.


#7

Great to hear @Paul.

I’m not sure what people mean about subtasks being hidden? You mean you can’t see the in the main project window? That’s the whole benefit in my mind…


#8

Hi @paulminors. I can see the benefit of having a cleaner project, but I don’t like the lack of distinction between tasks with or without subtasks. If there were a symbol of some kind, like a subtask count (I know this has come up elsewhere in the Community), or a way of collapsing tasks with subtasks, that would make me more more likely to use them. At the moment, I have to rely on remembering which tasks have subtasks, unless I want to click through each one and associate them with the parent project.

It’s probably more to do with Asana’s current display, rather than subtasks themselves.


#9

Yeah, that’s a good point. A subtask counter would be great!


#10

@Paul
I would probably do a mixture.
I would have a project per Client. And the have sections for different information about the client e.g. information, Leads, Projects, Enhancements, Bugs.
Then as each one of those things are individual tasks in there own right I would place the in either bugs or enhancements. Then use subtasks as aspects related to that specific task.
If you have premium then using custom fields and template projects can help with the status, time estimate, and simplifying creation of a new client.
You could also utilise seperate projects for Bugs and Enhancements and have your tasks sit in multiple projects.
There was either a blog post or it is in the help on how Asana uses Asana to track its bugs and deploy new versions to production. Will see if I can find it and will post back here as it might give you some other options.

Jason…


#11

In my opinion a kind of tree view in the task list to open and close the subtasks within the tasks would be great. You could have the full overview on one hand and the compressed view if you need it.