Establishing conventions for your team

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Task Conventions

Asana is most useful when individuals can contribute ideas and move action items forward. This article will help you become more comfortable with assigning tasks.

Naming tasks

We advise making task names specific, clear, and action-based. Use a verb where possible. For example, instead of titling a task “Blog post,” title it “Write [title] blog post” and create a second task called “Publish [title] blog post.” 

Writing task descriptions 

A task description should give the assignee all the necessary information to complete the task. Here are some tips:

  • Link to relevant work in the task description by @mentioning related people and hyperlinking relevant tasks, projects, or messages.
  • Add links and attachments to include external work, centralizing information.
  • Mark a task as dependent upon another, so teammates start that task when the prior task is completed.
  • Use rich text in task descriptions to clarify your message with formatted text and lists. 

Adding start and due dates

Set realistic due dates for your teammates as soon as they are known, or add an estimated due date as a rough guide. Due dates make sure work gets prioritized, ensuring deadlines are met.

Add start dates so it’s clear when someone should start on the work to complete it by the deadline successfully.

Add collaborators

Add teammates and relevant stakeholders as collaborators so they can stay up to date on task progress.

Collaborators will receive inbox notifications and can receive notifications via email, depending on their settings.

Updating tasks assigned to you

When someone assigns you a task, you are in charge of moving that work forward.

  • Like the task so the requester knows you have seen it.
  • If you have questions or updates, comment directly on the task.
  • If you change the due date, add a comment to explain why.
  • Pin the most relevant comment to the top; this makes it easier to find, without reading through every comment.
  • If you don’t have the bandwidth to take on the work, assign the task back to the creator or use
  • @mentioning to ask teammates if they can take over it.
  • If the task has custom fields, fill them out accordingly and continue to update them as work progresses.

Using subtasks

When you assign a subtask, be sure the assignee has enough context from the parent task or within the subtask description. Avoid burying subtasks under too many layers. You can always convert subtasks to tasks.

Naming template tasks

Duplicate a template task or project for repeatable and recurring workflows. When you create templates, name the task or project appropriately so it’s clear to teammates that it is a template (e.g., “Template” or “Duplicate me”). This also makes the task or project easier to locate through search.

Project conventions

Creating and naming new projects

Projects allow you to organize all tasks related to a specific initiative, goal, or significant work in one place. Similar to tasks, anyone can create a project.

Give projects a concise name and keep the name consistent with previous projects of a similar nature, making them more searchable for your team. E.g., the FY24 Content Production Calendar would be followed by the FY25 Content Production Calendar.

Using project templates

Create a custom template or use an Asana created template to standardize common workflows and projects. Templates help get projects off to a quick start and ensure you haven’t missed any vital steps.

Adding custom fields

Set up custom fields so you can track all necessary information on every task created in the project.

When establishing conventions, define the standard custom fields your team will use across projects.

Sending status updates

Status updates clarify how the project progresses. The project owner or dedicated teammate should send regular project status updates

  • Set the status of your project to keep stakeholders informed on whether the project is on track or at risk.
  • Teammates can reply to status updates when they have questions and feedback or want to create a follow-up task.
  • The project owner can turn on a reminder to update the project status each week.

Completing and archiving projects

Completed projects should be marked as Complete in the status update. We recommend completing projects before archiving. Archiving is only possible for project admins.

More project tips

  • Set the project description with goals and objectives to remind teammates what each project is for.
  • Set up the project overview so your teammates can always find the project brief and see project roles.
  • Add sections sections to help organize your project and delineate phases or categories.

Managing a project

When you create a project, you become the project owner by default. You can change the project owner in the progress view. 

  • As new tasks are created, ensure tasks have an assignee and due date, move them to the appropriate sections, and update their custom fields.
  • Add project rules to automate workflows and save time.
  • Set milestones to keep tabs on key markers of progress.
  • If you manage multiple projects, add them to a portfolio to organize and monitor them.

Collaboration best practices

Create a convention project for your team

Create a reference project with a list of conventions and best practices for using Asana. This way, everybody can be on the same page and refer to your team conventions.

A convention project will also become a valuable onboarding resource to quickly update new hires on how your team uses Asana.

Email conventions

Using Messages

We recommend using messages to  communicate within Asana with your colleagues and easily link to relevant work instead of email for all internal communication. Gently remind your teammates to use Asana instead of email when necessary. You can send messages to individuals, teams, and projects.

Using email notifications

Asana sends email notifications for new activities so that teammates who aren’t using Asana all the time can stay in the loop.

We suggest keeping email notifications on until you and your teammates are accustomed to checking Asana often. You can turn them on and off via My Settings.

Reducing email within your team

Email is great for reaching someone outside your organization, but it’s not equipped to plan, manage, and prioritize work.

With our Asana for Gmail Add-on and Asana for Outlook app, you can quickly turn emails into action right from your email inbox. Using these email integrations can be an easy way to get your team into the habit of moving work from email into Asana without changing how they work.

Slack + Asana

You can easily take action on tasks from Slack using the Slack + Asana integration without switching tools constantly. 

Additional resources

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