Managing projects

Every team uses Asana for project management a little differently, but these tips will give you the best starting point to get the basics down, while giving you a glimpse of what you can do once you have a few projects under your belt.

To project, task, or subtask?

Before you build anything... we know customers have questions about whether or not to create a project, task, or subtasks when adding work to Asana. Here's a quick framework and visual to help you decide in a pinch:

  • Create a project for your large coordinated efforts with lots of steps and stakeholders and the need to see them across different views (like a campaign, launch/event, or an editorial calendar/pipeline).
  • Create a task if you're trying to capture a singular to-do for one person that can be achieved within a few minutes or work days (like writing a blog, or fixing a bug) that you also want to see across different views.
  • Create a subtask to break up a task into smaller pieces or divide the work (like a subtask to check blog SEO keywords or investigating bug frequency) and only need them in task view. (But be wary if you have more than 5 subtasks or multiple layers of subtasks!)
IMAGE of Asana hierarchy from organization to team to project to task to subtask with examples of each

Read more tips here if you want a more in-depth explanation of this framework.

1. Create a project

If you learn nothing else in Asana, understanding how to create and use a project will be a major improvement for your team to get away from outdated spreadsheets, confusing email threads, and long meetings to try and figure out the same information.

  • Create a project. Projects live within a team in Asana and store groups of related tasks. You can use them for just about anything, from deadline-driven iniatiatives (like a launch), ongoing processes (like managing an editorial calendar), or tracking information (like incoming design requests). You can switch between ListBoardTimeline, and Calendar View at any time.
  • Save time with a template. Our templates are based on some of the most tried-and-true workflows in Asana. They have recommendations about how to set up a project and move your tasks through the workflow. You can even create your own.

GIF of how to access project creation and templates in Asana

2. Organize your project

Once created, add structure to your project to keep it organized and easy to skim.

3. Build a project schedule

Now that your project is built, Asana can help you create a project schedule and workflow so your team can move work from start to finish clearly and smoothly.

How to do it:

  • Map out project plans with Timeline for a Gantt-style view to help you plan and visualize each step in your project. You can easily see each task’s duration, deadline, and dependencies to easily shift things around to avoid overlaps and conflicts.
  • Make sure work starts at the right time with task dependencies. If you’re waiting on a teammate to finish their work, Asana can help you keep track of its status so you can start your portion at the right time. That also means you spend less time checking in on the task, or not realizing when it was ready. Easily set task dependencies with Timeline.
  • Break up work into subtasks (if needed). Lots of customers ask why tasks can only have one assignee. That's to make sure responsibilities are clear. But if a task entails pre-work, extra steps, or you need a quick ask from another teammate to complete it, subtasks help you break it into more manageable pieces and show ownership in the process.
  • Create a project overview so you can share the project brief with your team right where the plans and tasks live, and clarify project roles for easy reference at any time.
SCREENSHOT of an Asana task showing clear assignees, due dates, expectations, and approvals between stakeholders

4. Move work forward

As your team begins to collaborate, Asana becomes even more powerful for project management. You can easily provide status updates in context with the work your team is doing. And you’ll only get notified about what matters most to you.

How to do it:

  • As tasks progress (or get blocked) comment on tasks to give updates so followers know where work stands, or answer questions and provide feedback.
  • Provide status updates using project data for burnup charts and progress. You can also @mention teammates, tasks, and projects in the update for easy reference and giving kudos. All project members will be notified and can comment on the update.
  • Create task milestones to mark major project goals and show important phases of project progress. This way, your team knows what goals they need to hit, and project managers can see how they’re tracking against milestones.
  • Streamline reviews and approvals with our approvals workflow. If visual assets are part of your project, make feedback easy to track with proofing.
  • Add Rules to automate manual steps like assigning tasks, updating custom fields, moving completed tasks, and more. You’ll save time and be confident the right process is being followed.
  • Monitor updates across multiple projects with Portfolios. Portfolios are ideal for anyone that wants to manage multiple projects or monitor progress towards specific initiatives all in one view, in real time.

GIF of sorting a portfolio in Asana by priority custom field to spot where projects are on and off track

5. Prepare for your next project

Hurray! You’ve successfully managed a project in Asana. But before you jump right into the next project, take a moment to reflect on this one.

How to do it:

  • Keep in mind that as Asana continues to launch new features and improve the app, your team will also make new discoveries and iterate on how they use Asana—that's normal, and actually ideal!
  • Take any learnings from the project and incorporate them into a template. That way, you can avoid repeating the same mistakes and make your plan even stronger for next time.
  • Archive the project. Now that you’re done with the project, archive it so you can focus on priorities. Archiving a project doesn’t delete any of the information, it just removes it from your project list.
  • Celebrate with your team. There are lots of small ways you can express gratitude in Asana with appreciations and likes.
SCREENSHOT of a unicorn flying across the screen in Asana to celebrate a task complete and job well done

Resources for project management

Want more tips? More of a visual learner? Want to see how customers like you manage their projects? Check out these resources:

Resources for project management Link
Project management template Use template
Video tutorial Watch How to Asana
Training webinar Register here
Case studies & webinars See how customers of all kinds manage projects with Asana
Project management tips Learn about the benefits of project management and how to manage multiple projects.
Connect with Community Attend an upcoming training or start a thread on our community forum 


Want to learn more? Check out all Asana project features.


Was this article helpful?

Thanks for your feedback