Should Asana Listen to its Customers and Allow Multiple Assignees to Tasks?

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My team was using Asana when I joined them. They were not using the task management system to its full potential. The majority of their planning and tasks were being executed through Slack. We were a fully remote team and I wanted us to adopt a primary communication channel and keep Slack as our chat channel.

When going remote, the primary form of communication should shift from voice to text, and from synchronous to asynchronous.

Read more about primary and chat channels on Automattic’s blog

Asana is a fantastic team collaboration and work management software. I’ve used it in previous roles when working solo or with small teams. They definitely had an early mover advantage along with Basecamp. Their UI is slick and fast. There wasn’t much to complain about.

The Nagging Issue of Not Being Able to Assign Multiple People to Tasks

We had a number of tasks that needed more than one person to be responsible for. An example task could be one where two people needed to chase-up a partner to make a decision. Another could be three colleagues working on a single landing page. We needed these tasks to appear on the daily summary of all responsible people’s home screens. We needed this.

We learnt that Asana doesn’t have this feature.

Currently there is no way to assign multiple people to the same task, and this is by design to ensure there is always a directly responsible individual. You can read more about this decision here: Why one assignee?

https://forum.asana.com/t/assign-multiple-assignees-on-one-task/1176

I’ve built database systems and this seemed very strange to me. It’s not hard at all! My assumption was that Asana was designed as a task management system for solo persons in it’s early development and changing the design would mean a massive undertaking. Still, shouldn’t multiple assignees be a standard feature with any task management system?

Customer Feedback is Powerful

I figured that we were not alone with this feature request. There’s a Product Feedback Forum thread here: https://forum.asana.com/t/assign-multiple-assignees-on-one-task/1176

At the time of writing this, the thread has:

  • 1729 votes. This is the highest number of votes for any product feedback on their forum.
  • 612 replies. This is the highest number of replies for any product feedback on their forum.
  • 151K views. This is the highest number of views for any product feedback on their forum.

Reading through the replies, some people seem to support the ethos of why tasks should have only one assignee while others explain why they need the feature.

One user has presented a workaround. A workaround is still a workaround. It takes more time to achieve and is still not the right solution to the problem. In their reply, despite offering a workaround, the user still urges Asana to listen:

There are numerous replies that recommend other software alternatives to switch to. Should Asana hold on to their philosophy or accept that a number of its users have a different need? That’s something for Asana’s product team to think about.

What Did My Team Do? We Moved Away From Using Asana.

While researching alternatives (Monday and Basecamp), I came across ClickUp. ClickUp offered the multiple assignees per task feature and tons more than Asana, and for a lower monthly price! The switch happened within a month and my team adapted in no time. I could write an in-depth article on everything that makes ClickUp shine.

The way I saw it, ClickUp arrived late to the party, but by fixing the biggest issues that people had with the other players in the market sector. Disclaimer: ClickUp isn’t trouble free. It has some speed and UI issues they need to sort out and they are working on it.

So, Should Asana Listen?

It depends on their business strategy and what is most important to their customers. We were paying for 5 users when we were with Asana. We’re 25 people now, but investing in ClickUp instead. How many other teams and companies might have moved away from Asana?

However, you cannot please everyone. The number of people demanding the feature might be a small minority. Making changes to the software to please them might mean a change in focus and that could have other negative consequences.

If moving away from Asana is not an option for you, watch this video for a workaround solution:

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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