Task dependencies

With task dependencies, you can mark a task as waiting on another task.

Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work.

When the first task is completedcompleted To mark a task with a checkmark to indicate that it is done. Read more , it will notify the assigneeassignee The person responsible for the task or subtask. Asana allows one assignee per task or subtask. Read more of the next task that they can start on their task.

Mark tasks as dependent on

To mark a task as dependent on:

  1. Click the three dot icon from the right paneright pane The right pane holds the details of a task or Conversation. Read more
  2. In the drop down menu that appears, click Mark as Dependent on…

Next:

  1. Begin typing the name of the task you wish to be the precedent task
  2. Select the task in the typeahead that appears

The dependent task will have a banner in its right paneright pane The right pane holds the details of a task or Conversation. Read more indicating it is waiting on another task.

The indication banner will only appear in the dependent task’s right pane.

Drawing dependencies on your Timeline

You can set dependencies directly on your Timeline by clicking the connector icon that appears when hovering over a task and then dragging to another task.

Drawing Dependencies Gif

To draw dependencies on your Timeline:

  • Click on the connector icon when hovering over a task.
  • Drag the connector over to the task you wish to mark as Dependent On.

Multiple dependencies

A single task can be dependent on multiple tasks and multiple tasks can be dependent on a single task.

multiple dependencies

If a single task is dependent on multiple tasks, each precedent task will appear in the dependent task’s right pane.

To remove a dependency, hover over an existing indication banner and click the X symbol that appears.

Notifications

The assigneeassignee The person responsible for the task or subtask. Asana allows one assignee per task or subtask. Read more of the dependent task will receive notifications for the following actions:

  • The precedent task is marked completecomplete To mark a task with a checkmark to indicate that it is done. Read more
  • The precedent task has its due datedue date The date that a task or subtask is due. Read more changed or removed

If a task is dependent on multiple tasks, you will only receive one notification when all precedent tasks have been completed.

Auto-shifting dates for dependent tasks

Dates for precedent and dependent tasks can automatically be updated if a change occurs that results in an overlap in the dates of any of the tasks. This can be done from timeline view can be turned off. This feature automatically skips weekends.

For auto-shifting to work it is necessary that:

  • A task has been marked as dependent to another
  • The precedent and dependent tasks have due dates set. It can also work if tasks have start dates set along with a due date
  • The change in any of the tasks causes an overlap in the dates
  • The date change has been made on Timeline. If the update on a task is made from My Tasks, Inbox, or any other project view that is not Timeline (like List, Board or Calendar), the affected tasks won’t be automatically updated.
  • Tasks are marked as not complete. Changes in dates will not have an impact on completed tasks

This functionality does not apply to subtasks by default. You can mark subtasks as dependent on the parent task if you want to use auto-shifting for subtasks.

How auto-shifting dates work

You can use auto-shifting while updating dates from your project Timeline.

Gif that shows how dates are automatically updated in timeline

Auto-shifting dates will work for precedent and dependent tasks:

  • A change on a precedent task’s date will update the date of dependent task when it causes an overlap.
  • A change on a dependent task’s date will update the date of precedent task when it causes an overlap.

Any change to start date as a result of the auto-shifting dependency dates feature also changes the due date of that same task (and vice-versa).

The auto-shifting dependency dates feature automatically skips weekends. In addition, it works for changes that move the dates back or forward:

  • When a date is pushed forward in the future, a precedent task can move dependent tasks forward as well. However, if the date of a dependent tasks is postponed, it will not affect the precedent tasks.
  • When a date is pushed back in the past, a dependent task can push a precedent task back as well. However, if the date of a precedent task is moved back, it will not affect the dependent tasks.

Tasks can be marked as dependent of tasks that are themselves depending on other tasks, as well. Auto-shifting dates will also work for tasks under those dependency chains. In addition, milestones and subtasks will be updated too if they are part of a dependency chain.

Examples of auto-shifting in action

Example of a precedent task moved forward

A precedent task has a due date of July 20th. It has two depending tasks: the first one has a due date of July 21st, while the second one has a due date for July 24th.

Animation of timeline where a precedent task is moved and one dependency is updated

If the precedent task is updated to July 22nd, the first dependent task will be updated to July 23rd. The second depending task won’t be updated, since there is no overlap with July 24th.

Example of a precedent task moved back

A precedent task has a due date of July 20th. It has two depending tasks: the first one has a due date of July 21st, while the second one has a due date for July 24th.

Animation of timeline where a precedent task is moved and no dependency is updated

If the precedent task is updated to July 13th, none of the dependent tasks will be updated, since there is no overlap with their due dates (July 21st and July 24th).

Example of a dependent task moved back

A precedent task has a start date of July 20th and a due date for July 21st. It has two depending tasks: the first one has a due date of July 21st, while the second one has a due date for July 24th.

Animation of timeline where a dependent task is moved and precedent is updated

If the first dependent task due date is moved to July 13th, the precedent task will be updated to start on July 9th and have a due date of July 10th (in this example, July 11th and July 12th fall on a weekend). The second depending task won’t be updated, since there is no overlap with July 24th.

Turning off auto-shifting dates

Screenshot with focus on option to turn off auto-shifting dates

Date shifting is set for Premium Asana teams and Organizations by default. If you wish to prevent dates from being automatically updated, you can turn it off for specific projects:

  1. Click on the three-dot icon in your project header to display a menu
  2. Click on the Resolve dependency conflicts option to toggle off date shifting for your project

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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.