Getting Started In Asana: Fostering Common Team Habits

If you’ve recently selected Asana for your project management needs, there are a few things to address before you jump into setup.  I know getting started with a new project management tool can be exciting!  Visually, Asana is so much better to look at than your Excel sheets, email threads and post-it notes.  You’re probably imagining implementing Asana and suddenly boosting your productivity and efficiency.  But if you don’t start off with the basics, you can find yourself going around in circles, wasting more time than before and frustrated it’s not all you imagined. 


Making decisions up front about how your team will use Asana and how you’d like to incorporate other processes and platforms will set you up for long-term success and help you get the most out of the tool. 


Before you get too far along in your Asana setup and before individual use-habits begin to set in, gather your team to agree on a few conventions to follow.  When everyone works within the tool in the same manner, greater understanding and integration will flow more smoothly across your entire team. 


Here are a few suggested conventions your team should discuss.

How to name a task – Creating a standard naming system will enable team members to sort through tasks faster with a better understanding of what lies ahead and produce better search results.

When to use a parent task vs subtask – Being able to visualize workflows easily is one of the main perks of using Asana. Making sure tasks are located in the appropriate place and at the appropriate level is a main component of task visualization.

How to write a good task description – Defining the context and details required for tasks leads to the empowerment of the assignee to complete the tasks.  What does your team need to include so the assignee can accomplish the task without further follow-ups?

When to use @mentions – This is a great way to foster team collaboration within Asana, but can often become overwhelming when used too much and can clutter the Inbox.  Address when to use @mentions and when other notifications will suffice.  Be sure to remember you can link relevant work by @mentioning tasks, projects and conversations.

When to use sections and milestones – Visually, these help organize your project, provide clear delineation of phases and ensure you’re hitting major goals.

Project conventions, including: creating, naming and managing – Selecting proper workflows, list or board views and rules for management are the basis for setting up your team for success.

When and how to update tasks and statuses – Keep your team up-to-date while moving work forward.  Set expectations for how and when to inform team members of progress via task updates, @mentions, comments, conversations, status reports and custom fields.

How to name and store templates – Use templates for repeatable and predictable workflows.  A labeling system will make it clear to teammates how to find and when to use an established template.

Email conventions – Foster team collaboration inside Asana by reminding your team to use conversations and @mentions rather than switching back and forth to email.  Discuss how to reduce email clutter by turning off email notifications and quickly turn email conversations into tasks directly from your inbox using integrations.

Reinforce your conventions – Once you establish your Asana conventions, store them in a project for everyone to reference, as well as future teammates. This way, everyone can be on the same page and refer back to them later if necessary.

Need more tips and advice regarding Asana implementation or would you like to take a deeper dive into the suggested conventions above?  Contact me today to see how I can help you and your team move work forward with Asana.

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