Add movement to your workflow


Once you have your workflow set up, how do you add the handoffs and automation that bring it to life? How do you get your workflow to flow?

This article is part 3 in a 3 part series. If you missed the first two, you can find them here: Article 1 and Article 2.

Workflow builder

Get started by using the workflow builder.


Find the workflow builder as a tab on your projects. This feature helps you build the steps that your work moves through from beginning to end. The workflow builder helps you build your workflow, not run it. Once you’ve built the workflow in the workflow builder, then use one of the other project views.

Four types of movement

Whether using workflow builder or not, look for four different types of movement and connect them to the right features in Asana.

1. Initiation

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Every workflow has an initiation point where the work kicks off. Depending on your workflow, you’ll kick off work in one of the following ways:

Manually: In some cases, your team manually initiates work, like when you decide to publish a new blog post for an upcoming launch. In these cases you create a new project or task.

  1. With a Forms: Some workflows involve an intake process -- where actionable work is prompted by input from others, like a request. Intake processes are an ideal use case for Forms, which let you streamline and standardize work requests.
  2. With a task template: Teams that run the same set of steps through their workflow over and again use task templates. These are an ideal use case when you want to pre-build a task with links to relevant information and a set of subtasks such as when tracking candidates.

2. Handoffs

In many workflows, work passes from one person to another until it reaches the finish line. Teams follow these common practices for handoffs:

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Manually re-assign

Make sure that work is actionable by adding assignees to tasks. In some workflows, a different teammate owns the body of work at different stages.

For example, when a creative producer hands off a request to a designer for action. In these cases, reassign the task.

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Add subtasks

When you need to break down a task into smaller steps in order to hand off aspects of the workflow, add subtasks.
For example, a team that manages requests tracks each deliverable as a task in their project. They add subtasks to organize steps between each stage of their workflow.

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Add dependencies

In some cases, one task is blocking another from moving forward. In these cases, use dependencies. Dependencies allow you to show that one task is being blocked by another.

For example, a team that manages product feedback from customers needs to wait on the development team to process work before circling back to the team that submitted the feedback. So they add a dependency to show that one task is blocked by the other.

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Use approvals

Many handoffs require approval before moving forward. These are great cases to use approvals. Approvals are a type of task that gives the assignee options to "approve", "request changes", or "reject". For example, a designer needs different stakeholders to review and approve an asset before completing the deliverable.

3. Intersections

In some workflows, your work intersects with another team or tool. When you encounter an intersection, consider the following:

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In Asana, tasks can be added to multiple projects at once without being duplicated. Updates to the task will appear in both projects. This is called multihoming.

Use multi-homing to create shared visibility into the same task across different projects and teams in Asana.

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If your work intersects with another tool, check to see if an integration exists. If so, you can connect your workflow between tools.

Check out our list of integrations here

4. Repetition

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In many workflows, you’ll find yourself taking the same action over and again to move work forward. These are great places to incorporate rules -- simple automations that streamline manual steps. Rules are a paid feature. Learn more about rules here.

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With the workflow builder, you can seamlessly build rules at each stage of your workflow.

In fact, you can automate each of the types of movement already discussed in this article. For example:

Triggers and Actions

Initiation → When a new task is added to a project through a form submission… → Add subtasks to the task for immediate follow-up

Handoffs → When a custom field is updated… → Re-assign the task to a specific teammate

Intersections → When a task moves to a particular section… → Add the task to another team’s project

Some other common rules for workflows:

Triggers Actions
(When you want all new tasks to move to a specific section) When a new task gets added to a project… Move the task to a specific section
(When you want tasks to automatically complete themselves when you move it to a section for complete) When a task moves to a section for completed work… Mark the task complete.
(When you want to ask for an update for upcoming work) When a due date is approaching… Add a comment to the task.
(When you need to refer an assignee to a project task) When a task moves to a particular section … Add a comment to the task with that project template @mentioned in the text.
(When you want an approval to move to a different stage based on the approvers response) When an approval task is marked as "approved", "changes requested", or "rejected" Move the task to the relevant section.

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