Project proposals and ad hoc requests

Requests and project ideas can come from all directions in an organization, making it easy for work to slip through the cracks or overwhelm teams. Instead of trying to do everything or adding it to a backlog to be forgotten, teams can build a work request project.

How to build a work request project

You can use this process to manage ad hoc requests (like fixing a typo or asking a question you can’t answer immediately) and submissions for new project briefs—all in the same place. To get started quickly, you can:

  1. Start with the work requests template.
  2. Import an existing spreadsheet where you currently track incoming requests.

How to access all Asana templates

GIF demonstrating how to access templates in Asana from the +button in the top bar

If you’re a free user, prefer to build your own request project from scratch, or want general best practices for Asana projects, get started with these project creation instructions.

Tips for managing and completing requests

Now that you’ve built your project, these tips will help you manage it as work gets underway.

1. Templatize requests to action them faster with forms

Going back and forth on basic request details or not starting with a clear project brief slows work down. Instead, create forms to capture the right details every time for any project brief or ad hoc requests. Forms are directly connected to your request project to ensure your team starts with the information they need (in terms they understand.)

SCREENSHOT of a creative request form created in Asana

Forms can be submitted by anyone—even if they don’t use Asana—by sending them the form link. Once submitted, the form response becomes a new task in your project so it can get prioritized and assigned to a teammate with all the information they need.

Set up a form by following the steps outlined here.

If a request for a large, cross-functional, or complex project/initiative comes in, you can turn the task into a project to manage it more effectively.

2. Keep requests in conversations and emails actionable

If you get a lot of requests via chat or email, you can always send the requester the link to your form, but you also have the option of using integrations to quickly action the conversation.

SCREENSHOT of Outlook and Gmail email integration with Asana

For email, use the Asana for Gmail, Outlook, or other email client add-ons. For chat, try the Asana for Slack integration.

If you get chats or emails with actionable work or questions, you can add them to Asana right from your inbox or message to assign them as a task, add to your request project, and more.

GIF of creating an Asana task from a Slack message with integration

3. Prioritize and organize requests with custom fields

Once you’ve set up a form, custom fields will help you prioritize incoming requests and sort them into categories. If you’re used to spreadsheets, you might do this by filtering and sorting columns. Custom fields are a more powerful replacement, because they track this information in context with the work (instead of a place only a project manager or team lead can see.)

If you add a “team” field in your form, you can map it to the same custom field in your project. Then when submitted, the new task will specify which team needs to help with the request to quickly gauge its scope and stakeholders.

A “priority” custom field can help the manager prioritize requests relative to other work to keep their team on track, instead of letting a frantic requester jump over bigger priorities.

4. Have smoother, faster approvals with custom fields notifications

Many teams are overloaded, so unclear handoffs or confusing review cycles on requests are costly. Instead, keep all working files, feedback, and expectations clear with an approval workflow:

GIF approval workflow with custom fields in Asana to show when work is ready or already approved

  1. Add the Asana-created “approval stage” custom field to your project by clicking the blue Add Custom Fields link at the top of your project.
  2. Once the asset is ready for review, the creator sets the field to Ready to review and assigns the task to the reviewer.
  3. The reviewer will get a notification that they can now start their review.
  4. Once they’re done reviewing, they set the custom field to Approved or Changes needed and reassign the task to the creator.
  5. The creator gets notified that their work is approved or needs to be updated. From that notification, they can see the feedback, and jump back into the file where they need to incorporate it.

Resources for tracking requests

More of a visual learner? Want to see how our customers track requests? Check out these resources:

Resources Link
Work request template Use template
Video tutorial Watch How to Asana
On-demand course Register for Asana Academy
Case study webinar See how New Relic manages requests with Asana
Connect with Community Attend an upcoming training or start a thread on our community forum

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Asana Lessons

Learn the Asana basics in less than 15 minutes with these quick lessons

Tasks

Tasks Lessons

Track all of your work

3 Minutes

My Tasks

My Tasks Lessons

Always know what to do next

3 Minutes

Projects

Projects Lessons

Work with teammates

3 Minutes

Inbox

Inbox Lessons

Communicate even faster

3 Minutes

You can use tasks to track, collaborate on, and organize all your work.

Tasks can be to-dos, ideas, notes, or reminders.

Assign a task to yourself or a teammate.

Press Tab+M to quickly assign a task to yourself.

Add a due date so your deadline is clear.

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Followers get notified when new comments or attachments are added.

Add anyone who needs to stay up to date on your task as a follower.

They can always unfollow to stop getting notifications on your task.

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Congrats! Looks like you’re up to the task.

On to the next lesson!

Always know what to do next with My Tasks.

My Tasks is a list of every task assigned to you.

It makes managing your work simple.

Click on your My Tasks list and start typing to add tasks.

Like a text document, add a new line for each new task or paste in any list.

Forward to x@mail.asana.com to turn your emails into tasks

Asana will translate your email into a task, including your attachments.

New tasks will appear at the top of your list in New Tasks.

Tasks you add to My Tasks are private to you.

Click Make Public to share them with your team.

Prioritize tasks as Today, Upcoming, or Later.

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Mark the tasks you’ll have time for Today.

Teammates can view your My Tasks list to see what you’re up to.

They’ll only see tasks you’ve made public or shared in a project (more on projects later).

Mark tasks due within a week as Upcoming so you can see what will be due soon.

On its due date, your task will move from Upcoming to Today.

Just like magic.

Mark tasks due in more than a week for Later.

They’ll be out of your way until their due date approaches.

Your tasks will move from Later to Upcoming a week before they’re due.

Keep My Tasks prioritized to always know what to work on and what’s coming next.

Now you know how to track and plan your work!

Next, learn how to work with your team in Asana.

Work together on groups of tasks with projects.

Projects help you track and organize the steps in a process or initiative.

Like an event plan, product launch, or editorial calendar.

Like My Tasks, simply click and type to add tasks to your project.

If you have your steps in a document or email already, paste in that list.

Add tasks to your project from email.

View your project’s unique email address from the project dropdown menu.

Add your tasks to other related projects.

Tasks can be included in multiple projects.

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Type : at the end of any task title to make it a section.

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Assign your tasks and set due dates.

Never miss a deadline with your project calendar.

Drag and drop tasks on your calendar to change their due dates.

Add everyone who needs to stay updated on your project as members.

Project members will get notified of new conversations, statuses, and tasks.

Post conversations to make announcements or start discussions.

Your post will be sent to all project members.

Use Progress to see how your project is moving forward.

Set a project status to update your team on how it’s going.

The Project Owner will be reminded to set a status once a week.

Open and organize projects from your sidebar.

Favorite projects to pin them to the top of your sidebar.

Click the star button on the left of your project name to favorite it.

Create new projects from any screen using your top bar.

Now you can move projects forward with your team.

Just one more lesson before you dive in.

Communicate and coordinate faster with Inbox.

Check Inbox to quickly read and respond to your latest updates.

Inbox will notify you when you have a task due…

and when teammates update tasks, conversations, and projects you follow.

Open and respond to updates without leaving Inbox.

Click an update and you’ll have all the context you need to respond.

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Open Archive to move dismissed updates back to your Inbox.

Click the arrow that appears on the right of an archived update to move it back to Inbox.

Unfollow tasks or projects to stop receiving updates about them.

In the end, you have control over the updates you receive (or choose not to receive)

When you’re ready, you can turn Asana’s Email notifications off.

Most communication with your team can be more easily managed from Inbox. Just remember to check it often.

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to have a great work day with Asana.