Task dependencies

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

Dependencies are the relationships among tasks which determine the order in which activities need to be performed.

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 completedcompletedTo mark a task with a checkmark to indicate that it is done.Read more, it will notify the assigneeassigneeThe 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.

Dependencies are available to all Premium, Business and Enterprise customers.

Mark tasks as dependent on

Mark tasks as dependent

To mark a task as dependent on:

  1. Click into the task and then click on Add dependencies in the sidebar

adding dependencies

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
  3. This task will now show what task it is Blocked by

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.

precedent task blocking

The precedent task will now show the tasks it is blocking indicating other tasks are waiting on it to be completed. 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 assignee of the dependent task will receive notifications for the following actions:

  • The precedent task is marked complete
  • The precedent task has its due date changed or removed

notifications

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 your timeline view. This feature automatically skips weekends. You also have the option to turn off auto-shifting dates.

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

A precedent task has the due date of April 29th. It has two depending tasks: the first one has a due date of May 3rd, while the second one has a due date of May 6th.

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

If the precedent task is updated to May 3rd, the first dependent task will be updated to May 4th. The second depending task won't be updated, since there is no overlap with May 6th.

A precedent task has a due date of April 24th. It has two depending tasks: the first one has a due date of May 4th, while the second one has a due date for May 6th.

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

If the precedent task is updated to April 20th, none of the dependent tasks will be updated, since there is no overlap with their due dates.

A precedent task has a due date of April 25th. It has two depending tasks: the first one has a due date of April 29th, while the second one has a due date for May 5th.

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

If the first dependent task due date is moved to April 22nd, the precedent task due date will be updated to April 21st. The second depending task won’t be updated, since there is no overlap with May 5th.

Turning 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 from your Timeline view.

Timeline auto-shifting

From your Timeline view:

Click on the three-dot icon and toggle on or off the "Prevent dependency conflicts" icon.

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