Collaborating in Asana

This article will help you discover the key components of successful collaboration in Asana. From writing detailed task descriptions to effectively using comments, likes, and appreciations.

Assigning tasks

A task represents the smallest actionable piece of work that serves your ultimate goal. As core building blocks of Asana, tasks are where most of your collaboration will take place. One of the best ways to collaborate is to assign someone a task.

Assigning tasks isn’t just for managers, team leads, or those who manage large projects.

If you need something from a colleague, assign them a task. If you need to distribute work amongst your team, assign that work with tasks.

Where to begin with assigning tasks? A well-crafted task will answer three questions: who is doing what, and by when? See the article Creating effective tasks in Asana for more on how to write great tasks.

Task descriptions

Getting a task’s title right is a great starting point, but the task description is where the context about the work to be done lives. Write detailed instructions, quick bullet points, insert tables and images, or just link to important resources, spreadsheets, and even other Asana tasks.

Adding and removing collaborators

Add collaborators to your tasks by clicking the + at the bottom of the task pane, below the comment section.

Another way to add a new collaborator to a task is to @mention them in a comment or in the task description; type @ and immediately begin to type their name or email address. Your chosen collaborator’s profile will appear in the typeahead - click on them or hit enter, and your colleague will be added to the task as a collaborator. They’ll receive inbox notifications about any updates on this task going forward—more on @mentioning below.

Commenting and @mentioning

Commenting on a task is a great way to move work forward. Use comments to ask questions and share updates or resources. When you comment on a task, all its collaborators receive an inbox notification to keep them in the loop.

Make sure your message gets seen by @mentioning a colleague in your comment. This way, you’ll force an inbox notification on their end. As a rule of thumb, if you @mention someone, they will likely see it. Think of it like CC’ing someone on an email.

If a task is no longer relevant or is too noisy due to frequent updates, a collaborator can click the bell icon in the bottom-right corner of the task pane and select Leave task. They won’t receive inbox notifications about the task anymore.

You can also @mention other tasks, projects, portfolios, and goals in your comments and task descriptions. Asana will replace the URL with a vanity link so the work item’s name will appear wherever you @mention it, instead of a URL that's impossible to recognize.

Likes and appreciations

What are likes for? Likes don’t have a concrete meaning, but are often used to signal your approval or quickly let someone know you’ve read their update. You can like tasks, comments, and even the fact that someone has completed a task. 

Likes are a great way to say “I’ve seen this,” “I like this,” “Good job,” or “I agree” without having to type anything at all. You can even conduct a simple poll by asking colleagues to vote on different tasks in your project - the more likes, the more votes.

Appreciations are another way to celebrate a win or make a big deal about a significant update. Getting a big chunk of work over the line might call for a surfing yeti, or you might choose to celebrate someone’s achievement with a narwhal jumping through a hoop. Choose from twelve different animations by clicking the Appreciations button in the comment toolbar.

What does collaboration look like in Asana?

If you’re a collaborator on a task, you will receive updates about that task in your Asana Inbox

Some tasks only require passive collaboration, like keeping an eye on how work is progressing by receiving updates when custom field values change, or reading stakeholder comments as they discuss their next move.

Some tasks will require more active collaboration, where you’ll need to write comments, @mention colleagues and other tasks, update the task description, change the task’s due date, and maybe even the assignee. While you’re taking action inside the task, your collaborators receive updates about your actions in their inbox - just as you receive them when someone else moves the work forward.

Completing tasks

Don’t be afraid to click Mark complete. If you think the work is done, complete the task; the task can be reopened if more work is necessary. Completing a task doesn’t delete the task or remove it from your project. 

Depending on how the project filters are set, a completed task might not appear for you anymore, but it’s easy to find it again if needed. Set your filter to Completed tasks or remove the filter altogether, and you’ll see completed tasks again.

Task collaborators will receive an inbox notification when you complete a task. They might like the notification, send you an appreciation or a comment, or if they think there’s more to cover, they can reopen the task by clicking ✓ Completed in the task pane.

Fitting Asana in with your other tools

Asana integrates with your existing tool stack. You can pull the most important information from emails, documents, and other applications into your Asana tasks and projects where you can most effectively collaborate on the work to be done.

Asana offers multiple ways to use Asana and email, from turning emails into tasks to emailing messages to Asana teams to integrating directly with your favorite communication tools.

Emails contain a lot of information, and sometimes important action items can get buried in long threads. Use the Gmail or Outlook integrations to create clear, actionable tasks in Asana without leaving your inbox.

Communication isn’t restricted to email, of course. Many teams use different tools like MS Teams and Power BI from Microsoft or Google Drive and Looker from Google throughout their day. Whatever the combination, Asana integrates with hundreds of such applications.

 

Additional resources

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