Asana Projects, Teams, and Portfolios


We structure our work into projects. We have common standards for how projects should be organized and configured, but PMs are also able to adapt individual projects to suit any given use-case. Projects may correspond to a written SOW, but more commonly, we create multiple “Projects” per written SOW. A “Project” is a set of work that makes sense to group together logically, and to itemize on an invoice.


🎉 Project Setup

To create a new project, use the Ongoing Project Template in Asana (Soon we will also have a one-off version of that template; for now, use the Ongoing template and remove the irrelevant sections/rules). There is a Project Setup task that will be automatically assigned to the PM that contains some key next steps in setup.

🗃️ Sections

For an ongoing project template, the default sections are:

  • 📥 Inbox: Where new incoming requests will arrive
  • 🏃‍♀️ Active Work: Work that is being worked on or is scheduled for a future week
  • 👩🏽‍💻 Project Management
  • 🪵 Backlog
  • ✅ Completed

Some projects may also need a “Client Tasks” section, a “Milestones” section, etc. Use your discretion.

For a one-off project, the sections should represent phases of the project, for example:

  • Phase 1: Initial Setup (June 1-15)
  • Phase 2: Design (June 16-30)
  • etc.

There is no need for a “Completed” section in a one-off project. Keep completed tasks from each phase within the relevant section. Then when the phase is complete, you can add a “✅” emoji to it and close it by default so the completed tasks don‘t clutter the list anymore.

🗣️ Weekly Updates

Per our PM

guidelines, we provide a weekly report for every project every week. There are two sides: Internal and External. The internal weekly updates can be easily generated in Asana using their status update feature. Our standard templates include settings to general the weekly report in our style (Overview, Last week we... etc)


Currently we only have internal team access to Asana so these status updates are only for the internal team.

A best-practices approach to weekly updates in Asana is:

  • Do a full sweep of the project tasks to make sure that all the statuses are up to date
  • Create an internal status update using the Asana weekly status tool.
  • Use that as the basis of a weekly update to send to the client, by email or their preferred communication method.

Client Access

We are still formalizing our approach to client access in Asana, but two features are easy to add to any project now:

Asana also has public links for projects which show a high-level view of what the tasks in the project are, and the overall schedule. They can’t see the conversation on individual todos. This is a great thing to provide clients.


Asana also supports Forms. These are custom-built web forms that automatically create a ticket in the Asana project. This is ideal for retainer clients who have frequent requests. Our templates automatically include a client request form:


These automatically feed into the Asana project.

🐑 Teams

We use Asana teams to represent groups of people at the company who work on a similar thing. Almost everyone in the team is a member of the Production department, so that is the most commonly used. Other internal projects/templates go into the other teams. We don’t tend to use Teams for much communication or discussion.

🖼️ Portfolios

Portfolios are a separate way to organize projects and view them at a high level. They can be used to view a full “pipeline” of projects across a specific client or company department, see the combined schedule for multiple projects at a glance, and add notes and weekly updates to the overall suite of projects rather than individual ones.

All production projects should be added to two portfolios:


Golden Rules

During setup and after, PMs are responsible with making sure that…

  • All projects should be in the appropriate team.
  • The project is in the correct portfolios.
  • The project should have a unique project code which matches the appropriate Project in Harvest. There should be a 1-to-1 relationship between Harvest projects and Asana projects at all times.
  • Tasks should almost always be in a single project, plus the big board.
  • The Overview tab should be complete, with a description of the project, a project brief, and the correct project team.
  • The Project should have status updates on a regular basis, typically weekly, though for some clients monthly is fine.
  • In the project “tile”, the color should correspond to the PM (each PM has a color which they should know). The icon should be the normal “List” icon for most projects, or the “Star” icon for Core Coverage: