Bonus Ebook: Managing distributed teams
Asana is most effectively used with multiple different projects running in unison. Organising and tracking all of these projects at once is essential to mastering the tool. Asana project management can be handled in many different ways. Control over projects will allow you to more effectively manage resources and time.
Having just a list of all your different projects creates clutter than can become unclear and confusing for a user. This article will teach you how to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
Different types of Asana project
There are many different types of successful projects you can make in Asana. We like to place each project into three different categories. Deadline-driven, Ongoing process and Planning and reference. These three styles of projects cover the different ways you can construct a project.
A deadline project has a clear event or end date that the project is working towards. Examples of this include a quarterly meeting, product launch, public event, or employee recruitment. All of these projects you will create tasks that are required to be completed in a specific order over a certain time period.
Setting up a project such as this is simple, outlining all the different steps for the project to take place and assigning deadlines for all of them. We recommend using the Timeline view for projects such as these. Projects such as these can have either strict or flexible due dates.
The ongoing process can be many different things. Examples include, weekly agendas, intake requests and feedback form responses. These projects include tasks going through different stages.
These stages can be: New, Assigned, In progress, Ready for review, Reviewed, Complete.
These projects therefore display the progress of these groups of task, allowing for managers to see how each task is progressing. This process can be optimised further through the use of rules and custom fields to keep these tasks up to date within the project.
Planning and reference:
Planning and reference projects are often checklists. Tasks are simple tickboxes that you mark complete to demonstrate you have finished that part of the process.
An employee handbook is an example of this, with a list of tasks. It can also be used to brainstorm. Putting tasks as ideas in different sections makes it most visually absorbing.
How to manage Asana projects in different teams
Bonus Ebook: Managing distributed teams
In Asana, teams are the different divisions or subsets of your company. However large your business is, you will want to divide up projects and work with the people whom it is relevant. Therefore, setting up teams in Asana will share projects with the correct people and help filter your different pieces of work.
Each team has its own set of members, projects and messages. Each team can be public or private, so work can either still be visible to everyone or hidden to everyone but the relevant people. Controlling team members allows you to control visibility within the business.
Mastering teams is a great way to gain further control over all of your projects.
How to use Asana portfolios
Portfolios are an essential way of managing the progress of various different projects. Setting up a portfolio will allow you to track any range of projects in various different ways. This allows you to manage multiple projects at the same time.
There are several features that facilitate multi project management. Task progress is tracked as a percentage of tasks completed within a given project. Deadlines can be set for whole projects to inform the viewer of the timeline of work in a project. Providing consistent status updates for each project will show what parts of each project are being completed.
The workload tool is very useful as it will show each person's number of tasks or hours across all the different projects that are within the portfolio. Therefore having different portfolios for different areas of the business is critical to see how widespread your or someone else's work is. If it becomes evident an individual has too much or too little work, you can reassign work from within the portfolio.
Therefore, using portfolios is a great way to gain insight into how one project is progressing at any given time. It also allows you to be working on multiple projects in real time. Integrating them into your business is, therefore, essential to managing all of your projects.
Status updates make it possible to report on the progress of a project very effectively.
Asana has its own reporting tool. Found on the top left-hand side of the screen, reporting allows you to see the statistics of all of your Asana projects. You can report on just one or any number of projects in a singular report.
You will be provided with default statistics such as the number of tasks, complete, incomplete and overdue. Or the number of incomplete tasks by project and upcoming tasks by assignee this week. But you can add to or edit these tables accordingly.
Other examples include the average time to complete a task by the creator or the percentage of tasks completed for each project. This is a really useful feature for you to explore and personalise for your own projects.
Top 5 Tips for using multiple projects
- Multihome repeated tasks.
Multi-homing tasks mean that one task can live inside several projects. This means that if two separate projects require the monitoring of one task, you can track them within both projects. This stops the chasing of task updates from other projects and teams and consolidates all the information you need into one place.
Use project templates.
When creating a project, you have the option of either starting from a blank project or from a template. Asana provides its own templates that you use at your own discretion.
You can save projects that you want to use again (e.g. a quarterly review project) as a template. Therefore, you will never waste your time recreating a project you have made before.
Colour-coding projects is a simple way to categorise them. When looking at a project, a coloured symbol appears in the top left of your screen.
You can change its colour by simply clicking on it and selecting what colour you want it to be. Having the consistency of project colour can help you arrange the projects into different groups within your teams.
Set up a project form.
Setting up a project form allows you to let someone else fill out the tasks of the project for you. If you have a project that is for requests or feedback, setting up a form is perfect.
You can assign all the bits of information, including custom fields you want to fill out in the form. Then you can send a link to the form where someone can submit their response. Once filled, a task will be created in your project.
Use the Advanced Search tool.
Advanced search allows you to view a selection of projects across a set of parameters that you set in the search tool. Examples include tasks assigned by you, tasks due across the next seven days, and tasks you are a collaborator for across x number of projects.
Advanced search means you can see any specific set of tasks you wish across any project. You can save these searches so that you have access to them at any time. Have a go yourself, and see which searches can suit your specific needs.
Managing projects can be a real hassle if you let them get the better of you. Therefore, using this guide will help you to stay on top of your projects and know who's doing what in your organisation.
Luckily, as outlined, Asana has various features to enable the time-saving control of all your projects. These means that you won't need to constantly chase people for updates on their work, ever again.