Project management

Every team uses Asana for project management a little differently, but regardless of what you’re working on, there are things any team can do to help projects run smoothly. Follow along with the article and learn more with our resources below.

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

Using sticky notes, whiteboards, and spreadsheets to plan a project seems simple—but they’re manual and get outdated quickly. Asana is easy enough for brainstorming and planning, and powerful enough to continue managing your work, projects, and tasks in one place when you turn plans and ideas into reality.

How to do it:

  • Create a project. Projects live within a team in Asana and store tasks. You can use them to track large goals, routine workflows and complex processes, manage deadlines, or even organize your ideas. You can choose from a list or board layout.
  • 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.

GIF of how to access project creation and templates in Asana

2. Organize your project

Once created, add structure to your project. When stakeholders are clear about who is doing what work, team members can get started on their piece and keep the project moving.

How to do it:

  • Use sections or columns to organize your tasks in a project. You can organize them by deadlines, work stages, timeframes, and more.
  • Assign tasks and give due dates. Projects get derailed when it’s unclear who’s actually responsible for what, especially if team members don’t know when their work needs to be completed. Not to mention all the time spent on work about work and potential for miscommunication.
  • Use custom fields to track stage, priority, additional task details, and more. As work moves along, use them to indicate the task’s status.
  • Use 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 and deadline to easily shift things around to avoid overlaps and conflicts.
  • Add project rules to automate manual steps like assigning tasks, updating custom fields, and more. You’ll save time and be confident the right process is being followed.
  • Sort and filter projects to organize tasks by priority, progress, and more (like spreadsheet columns.) 

3. Build a project schedule

Now that your project is built, set clear priorities, timelines, and expectations for your team. Asana has a lot of features to take your work from start to finish smoothly.

How to do it:

  • Mark 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. With Timeline, you can easily shift tasks around.
  • Create subtasks to break up work. If a task entails a lot of steps or several stakeholders, use subtasks so you can break it into more manageable pieces and show ownership in the process.
  • Streamline reviews and approvals with our approvals workflow. If visual assets are part of your project, make feedback easy to track with proofing.
  • To quickly see all high priority tasks in a project or project tasks organized by which stage of completion they're in (and much more), sort your project by custom fields.

SCREENSHOT of an Asana task showing clear assignees, due dates, expectations, and approvals between stakeholders

4. Share status updates

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. (It beats sitting in status update meetings or digging through long email threads.)

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.
  • Write status updates in the Progress tab of your project. Choose a status color and @mention teammates, tasks, other projects, and conversations to link to them in the status update.
  • Monitor updates across 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.
  • 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.

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

Portfolios also make it easier to ping Project Owners for status updates in one click. Just click into any project on your portfolio, then Request Status Update. Project Owners can also receive an automated notification to update their projects weekly to ensure all progress is up to date.

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:

  • 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 (likes, @mentioning) but balancing work and play with your team leaves you energized and inspired for your next big project together.

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
On-demand course Register for Asana Academy
Case studies & webinars See how customers of all kinds manage projects with Asana
Project management tips blog Read blog
Connect with Community Attend an upcoming training or start a thread on our community forum 

Sorry, we don't support this browser

Asana doesn't work with the internet browser you are currently using. Please sign up using one of these supported browsers instead.

Choose your language

Selecting a language changes the language and/or content on asana.com