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. And add project rules to automatically assign form submission tasks to a creative producer or team lead to make sure they get prioritized after submission.

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. Hit deadlines with clearer reviews and approvals

Being able to provide and incorporate campaign feedback more easily can be the difference between hitting or missing project goals. Instead, follow these steps to move work through approvals clearly and quickly:

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

  1. Add project rules so that tasks automatically get assigned to the right people, completed, or moved to different project sections as they progress.
  2. Use custom fields notifications to keep stakeholders in the loop about progress. They’ll get notified when fields are updated from “Feedback needed” to “Approved,” for example.

Tips for reporting on and staffing requests

Monitor project progress and manage staffing with Portfolios and Workload

To understand project progress and gauge team bandwidth, leads usually piece together information in meetings, emails, or spreadsheets, which can be time consuming and inaccurate. Instead, create a project portfolio with all key projects and an ad hoc request project to see real-time progress, deadlines, and priority all in one place.

Then use the Workload tab to visualize your team’s capacity based on tasks they’re already assigned in Asana. Workload helps you make informed staffing decisions to keep workloads balanced and important work on track.

SCREENSHOT of using Workload to see teammate who’s overloaded and reassigning their work

Workload defaults to task count, but we know not all tasks are created equally. You can set up effort custom fields across portfolio projects to get a better sense of the total hours or effort level going into each task.

Resources for tracking requests

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

Resources Link
Work request template Use template
Video tutorial Watch How to Asana
Case study webinar See how New Relic manages requests with Asana
Case study Read about how New Zealand’s largest private real estate company, Barfoot & Thompson manages their operations 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.

Add instructions and expectations in the task description field.

Type @ to link to other tasks, people, conversations, or projects.

When you @mention someone, they’ll be added to your task as a follower.

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.

Add comments to ask questions or give followers updates.

Heart a comment to let followers know you’ve seen it.

Add relevant files or irrelevant GIFs as attachments.

You can also attach directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box.

Create subtasks to break your task into smaller steps.

When you’ve added a subtask, press enter to add another.

Subtasks can contain all the same details as regular tasks.

Click the comment bubble to add comments or attachments to a subtask.

You can create tasks from any screen using your top bar.

Every Task has a unique URL to easily copy and share.

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 Recently Assigned.

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.

Click on the blue dot next to the task, to quickly sort it.

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.

Add sections to organize tasks in a list project.

Type Tab+N in any task row to create a new section.

Or, add columns to organize tasks in a boards project.

Drag and drop tasks between or within columns to reorder.

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.

Archive updates you’re ready to dismiss.

Click the X that appears on the right of an update to archive it.

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.