Establish Asana conventions

Now that you’ve introduced your team to Asana you’ll want to make sure everyone agrees on a few key conventions. Making decisions up front about how to use Asana will set your team up for long-term success, and help you get the most out of reporting features like Advanced Search and Dashboard later on. Agreeing on a few conventions will also help everyone on your team feel comfortable with Asana.

We recommend discussing team conventions soon after you introduce Asana to more teams. That way, everyone has time to get familiar with Asana, but they haven’t necessarily established their use patterns yet. See what works for them and how they like to use it. Host a conventions meeting and create an Asana conventions project before your meeting:

Establish Asana conventions with your team using a project

Every team will have unique preferences, but here’s some guidance to help get you started on defining your team’s conventions.

Task conventions

Creating tasks

We recommend encouraging everyone to create tasks and assign them to anyone on the team (even direct reports should be able to assign tasks to managers). Asana is most useful when anyone can contribute their ideas and move action items forward.

Naming tasks

We advise making task names specific and action-based. For example, instead of “Blog post,” create a task called “Write [title] blog post” and one called “Publish [title] blog post”, so there’s no question about what needs to get done.

You may want to establish naming conventions for a specific project if tasks move through a specific workflow.

Writing a good task

Your team should define what details are necessary to make a task “good”. Every task has space to add a description, due date, assignee, followers, subtasks, and comments. We recommend including context and important details to ensure the assignee is empowered to complete the task:

  • Link to relevant work in the task description by @mentioning related tasks, projects, or conversations.
  • Attach files when referencing a document.
  • Set realistic due dates for your teammates as soon as they are known, or with your best guess so they’re on the radar.
  • Add teammates as followers so they can stay up to date on task progress.
  • Mark a task as waiting on another so teammates only start that task when the prior task has been completed.

Updating tasks assigned to you

When someone assigns you a task, it means you are in charge of moving that work forward. Here are some suggested ways to keep teammates informed of your progress:

  • If you have questions or updates, comment directly in the task.
  • If you change the due date, add a comment to explain why it was moved to reset expectations.
  • Pin the most relevant comment or conclusion to a discussion to the top of the conversation.
  • If you aren’t able to prioritize the work, assign the task back to the creator or use @mentioning to ask teammates if they can take the task.
  • Heart the task to show that you have seen it and are OK with taking it on.
  • If the task has custom fields, fill them out accordingly, and continue to keep them up to date as work on the task progresses.

Using subtasks

When you assign a subtask, be sure the assignee has enough context from the parent task or within the subtask description. Avoid burying subtasks under too many layers. You can always drag subtasks into the main pane of your project to convert it from a subtask to a task.

Naming template tasks

Copy a template project or task template for repeatable, recurring, and predictable workflows. When you create templates, label the task or project name so it’s clear to teammates it’s a template and it’s easily found through search (e.g., “Template” or “Copy me”). Provide clear instructions on how and when the task or project should be used in the task or project description.

Project conventions

Creating new projects

Similar to tasks, anyone can create a project. You might designate one person on the team to do this so that everything is organized similarly.

Creating a good project

  • Decide what kinds of workflows will use lists, and which will use boards.
  • For each major workflow, initiative, or meeting, write a descriptive project name and keep the naming conventions the same.
  • Set the project description with goals and objectives to remind teammates what each project is for.
  • Add sections to help organize your project and provide clear delineation of phases or categories.
  • Set up custom fields so you can track all necessary information on every task created in the project.
  • Use an Asana-created template. We have pre-made templates for different workflows based on our recommended practices. It’s a foolproof way to create a great project.

Managing a project

When you create a project, you become the Project OwnerProject Owner Every project can have one Project Owner. They are able to set status updates for the project. Read more by default. You can change the Project Owner in the Progress ViewProgress View Progress View helps you track task completion in a project over time and get status updates from Project Owners. Read more . The Project Owner or a dedicated teammate should keep the project organized and post weekly status updates.

  • As new tasks are created or work moves forward, ensure tasks have an assignee and due date, move them to the appropriate sections or columns, and update their custom fields if relevant.
  • If tasks become overdue or do not have due dates assigned, follow up with the assignee to get work back on track.

Sending status updates

The Project Owner or dedicated teammate should send regular project status updates from the Progress View of your project.

  • Status updates provide clarity for your team and cross functional teams about how the project is moving forward.
  • Set a color for your status update to green, yellow, or red to indicate how your project is moving along.
  • Teammates can reply to status updates when they have questions and feedback, or when they want to create a follow-up task.
  • The Project Owner will receive reminder tasks to update the project status each week.

Asana tip: Add projects to your Dashboard to see a high level view of your most important projects in one place.

Email conventions

Using Team Conversations

We recommend committing to using Conversations for all internal team communication instead of email. Gently remind your teammates to use Asana instead of email when necessary.

Using email notifications

Asana sends email notifications for new activity, so that teammates who aren’t using Asana all the time can stay in the loop. People who use Asana all the time usually prefer to use My InboxMy Inbox My Inbox displays activity on tasks, projects, or conversations a user follows. Read more (and not email) to stay on top of updates.

We suggest keeping email notifications on until you and your teammates use Asana every day. This decision can be left up to each teammate individually.

Reinforcing your conventions

Setting conventions with your team will help keep Asana organized for everyone, establish clarity, and ultimately help everyone contribute in the most effective way. Remember to share your team conventions project with new people as they join your team in Asana.

Try using Asana for your next team meeting and take some time to reiterate your team’s Asana conventions.

Once you establish conventions with your team, store them in a project for everyone to reference later on, as well as for future new teammates. That way, everybody can be on the same page and refer back to your team conventions after you’ve decided on them together.

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