How To Use Asana As Localization Project Manager

Is Asana any good for localization project managers? In this video, I'll show you how to use it to schedule your projects. Together, we'll plan two simple projects and try to create one dashboard.

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Is Asana any good for localization project managers?

Welcome to another episode in this series, where every month we’ll check out a new project management platform and see how viable it is for localization. All online software will be either free or with a free trial, so you can try it on your own.

In this video, I’ll show you how to use Asana to schedule your localization projects. Together, we’ll plan two simple projects and try to create one dashboard.


Andrej Zito 

I’ve just created my account and here we are at the, sort of like the onboarding tutorial when you first access Asana. This is like a simplified version to help you get started. So, we just follow this tutorial. What’s your full name? What kind of work you do? What’s your main objective in Asana? Project Management. Yes, thank you. Let’s set up your first project. So, we’re going to start with a very simple project here. I think we started with project name. So project A, what are a few tasks that you have to do for project A? Translation, and then we have 30,000 words. Then we do review, 40 hours. And finally we do delivery, which is sort of like a milestone, another conclusive project. So, this is a very simple one. How would you group these tasks into sections or stages? So this is where when I first tried out Asana, I was a little bit confused. The tutorial is suggesting to you that you’re grouping it by sort of statuses, right? To do, doing and done, these are typically the statuses. But as I learned, after we get into the full UI, this is really just to group the tasks together. This doesn’t represent statuses. So, I’m actually just going to delete these things. I’m going to say that this is an old group. So, continue and what layout works best? And we’re going to start with list and then, we’re going to switch into the timeline once we have it set.

Andrej Zito 

Congratulations, you’ve created your first project in Asana. Who’s working with you? I’m just going to quickly add few people that we’re using just to demonstrate assignment to different. And, take me to my project. And here we are, this is our project A. Your 30 day trial starts today. Well, thank you. The next thing that we’re going to do, and I’ve just noticed this that, even though we said that we don’t want any more sections, Asana created these sections by force. They force me to do this. So, we don’t need any sections. I’m going to delete the sections from this project, because we just need one group or one section for our three simple tasks. Then, of course, the first thing that we do is we sort of set up this layout and properties, or let’s say, the different columns that we’re going to be tracking for each task. And priority, we don’t need priority. So move field from project, done. And I’m going to move status to the front. Assignee, after that, that’s fine. And then, we have due dates. So this is, again, where I was confused by Asana, the due date. As you can see here, for the first one, due date, you can also select a range for due date. So, it’s not just due date, as in one particular date by when you need to complete a task. But you can also specify a range here, as you can see here. The thing is that this is actually a default column, cannot rename it. There’s no option here to rename it. And, I also cannot add any new column or a field, which I could use to set up the date range for a certain task. So this to me is very, very limiting.

Andrej Zito 

And you will see and hear from me, as we go through this sort of tutorial, that Asana I think has so many limitations compared to the other project management software that I tried before. I’m going to leave it for now. Next thing, what we’re going to do is we’re going to play with the statuses. So, I’m going to status and edit field. And here, we have the different options. So right now, this sort of gives you like a high level, I don’t know, indicator I would say. Maybe status is the right word for where the each individual task is. But as you can see here, in Asana, I guess by default, it’s like, is this task on track? Is it at risk? Or is it, is it, I don’t know, delayed? But what we want to track as a status like we did previously is, is there something to do? Is it in progress? Is it done? And then we have our statuses for the subtasks. This is, I guess, just the different way how Asana treats it by default. What I just mentioned to you so, to do doing or in progress, they, I guess by default want to use it here as a section for this group, but I’m going to put it here. So let’s start with to do and we’re going to have in progress. And then, we’re going to complete, done.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, to do, I’m going to pick the blank one. Done will be the grayish thing and in progress, we can leave it as yellow. Then, we’re going to add the sub-statuses or statuses for the sub-tasks. And this would headsup sent. And here, I think only with monday.com, you can specify or I mean, set up a set of statuses that are used for sub-tasks. Asana, we don’t have that option here. So we just want to, we need to put all of the different statuses, whether it’s for domain level of tasks, or the sub-tasks, into this one pool of statuses that we have here. But just like I did for Clickup, or I think Notion, I’m going to prefix them with, with an arrow, so that we know visually that these statuses sort of belong to a sub-task. So heads up sent, heads up confirmed, handoff sent, handoff confirmed. Allow me to organize them. So these are technically part of in progress, except statuses, and that should be all that we need to get. So we have set up our statuses. We have the assignee field, we have the due date field. Now all that’s left to do is to add the subtasks, and then set the dates and correct statuses. So I don’t know how to do it from, from here. But when you open up the task, you can add a sub-task. Say, that this one is German translation. Now that it’s added here, I can expand it.

Andrej Zito 

One quick tip for you that I learned when I was doing this for the first time. If you do any sorting, let’s say by due date, you can see that the arrow to expand or collapse a task is gone. And you just have an indicated there, there’s a certain amount of sub-tasks in this. But it disappears from your table, which again, I think is a huge limitation. I don’t know why it wouldn’t be able to sort first the main level of tasks and then the sub-level of tasks. So I’m going to remove it so that here, I have my arrow back. Here, if I enter in the tasks, I can create more, okay. And since we’re here, also going to add it for the view. We have our three main tasks translation, review, and delivery. And we have the sub-tasks to track the status for each language. What I’m going to do now is I’m going to set the dates. So due date. Today, I’m recording on Tuesday. But, what we’re going to do is we’re going to start from Monday. Let’s say we started on Monday, so from Monday, and it’s 30k. So, that should be with one translator, three weeks. Okay. And here, I don’t know if I just don’t know how to do it. So here, as you can see, I’m using keyboard. In the due date, the due date is highlighted by press Control C. If I go below, and Control V doesn’t do anything. So, this again is to me, another big problem, is that Asana cannot copy the values in these cells, or in these fields or columns, or what you call it. Now, maybe I would understand that if it is, that it has problems copying the range, the time range, which by the way monday.com can do just fine. But what is even more frustrating is that it cannot even copy the simple status, like I’m doing Ctrl C, Ctrl V, but nothing happens. It’s frustrating. Now what I have to do is manually go through each one of these and set the range. And as you can see, I even have to click at the start date. Now that I have the due dates, I’m going to do, I’m going to set the statuses just to sort of demonstrate how it can look like. So we can say that for German, I don’t know, they confirmed handoff. These guys still haven’t done it and this guy’s confirmed as well.

Andrej Zito 

Right, and review this will be to do and now I have set to do for everything manually because I can’t… There. Now, what I can just quickly show you is how to assign things. So, the main tasks I typically assign to myself because I’d say, I’m the owner. And I’m monitoring these things, I’m responsible for getting done. But the actual sub-task, let’s say, German is done by Christian. And Japanese is done by Ai. So, this is very simple, how to select people. And we actually test if I can at least copy the person. No, I cannot, like I told you, quite limiting. Now that we have our project setup, let’s go to the timeline. Like I mentioned to you many, many times before, I think timeline and again, chart is the best way how you can monitor your project where you are, especially if you’re dealing with multiple projects at the same time. So first glance over the timeline in Asana is absolutely beautiful. I really like it, you can see that it’s yellow, because translation is in progress. And I like this that when I hover over a task, it also highlights the date, the date range year on the top. And I think it just beautiful, you can also drag and drop to create the dependencies between these things, but I’m not going to do it. And here it displays the owner and the information about task.

Andrej Zito 

Now here you can see that it displays that it has four sub-tasks. Problem, again, a big problem, I think, is that you cannot expand this main task on the timeline. I have no idea how to do it. If by any chance you have some thoughts, please let me, please let us know below in the comments. Because, I checked through everything here and nothing here it looks like you can actually set up. To me, being able to drill down into the sub task is quite important. Because like I mentioned, we, you want to have, you want to keep an eye on each individual language, right? Because your translation could be in progress, that’s fine. But maybe on the granular level, some of the languages still haven’t done what you want them to do. For example, here French. They haven’t confirmed the handoff. So now what we’re going to do is we’re going to create the more complex project. But, since we already set up this whole layout here, like what are the different statuses? What are the fields that we want to use? And so on. What I’m going to do is I’m going to convert this project A to a template. And then, we’re going to use the templates. I go to home, okay create a new project. You can use template. And here is my project A right here. So project A and this time we’re creating project B and go next. Final deadline, or I don’t know what is my deadline. I’m just going to pick something, create a project. Okey dokey, because this one. So we have our project B, let me quickly give you a breakdown on what it is that we do for project B. So project B consists of the same four languages: German, French, Japanese, Korean. But the difference is that we do a few more tasks for German and Japanese. And we do a little bit less tasks for French and Korean. So ideally, I want to split these different tasks and group them for these different, let’s say language sets, for German, Japanese, right? Let’s say those would be the priority languages. And then we have French and Korean, let’s say tier two. So this is where we’re going to utilize the sections. And then we’re going to also have one extra section, which is sort of language independent or applies to all. So maybe I can leave all here. And that will be used for pre-processing. So without talking too much, I’m actually going to add LI, or language independent, drag it to the top. And we’re going to add pre-processing, and our pre-processing is for 10 hours.

Andrej Zito 

Alright, and we don’t need to drill down. So for Project B, I usually don’t go that deep. For each language, especially pre-processing, we pretty much do it on the source for English files. So for status, I’m going to say that this one was actually done. And the date range was, let’s say, Friday to… Let’s do Thursday to Friday, last week. That was done by me. So this is another thing where I was a little bit confused. Here, you can see that the statuses I have selected done here, but to me the statuses seem to work more like labels. Because here you can see that this is highlighted in red, which, I guess means that it’s overdue. And to think, the reason why it’s overdue is that you have this check mark here, marked task as complete. Okay? So the thing is that the status is, and this is super confusing, because if you remember in the onboarding tutorial, we had by default, Asana was telling us that you can have, I don’t know, doing and done and to do stages, which are these sections. But, even if you put something into done, it still doesn’t mean it will be actually done. Because the task will not be completed. Unless you take this thing here. Or here, take this off, we have beautiful animation. But who cares? Who cares? Nobody cares. Because this status that I defined as done doesn’t do anything, doesn’t represent that the task was actually completed. You actually have to take this off, which is confusing. This sort of works like a, like a to do list. But then why do you have the default status of… but then why do we have the default field for statuses? Statuses actually don’t behave like statuses. No idea. In other tools, I think if you create certain status, you can have it be treated regardless of the name. So, I can call it done completed, finished, it can still, you can still somehow assign it that finished or completed or done status actually refers to the task being completed, regardless of how you call it. But in this case, with Asana, it sounds like it. Alright, anyway. So this is where I’m going to, let’s continue with our journey. So this is where I’m going to rename the all section for German, Japanese. And, no we don’t want that. And, we’re going to change these things. So we have our project B laid out. All the tasks, all the sub-tasks that I want to track, then we have the status set up, assignees, and due dates. Now, timeline, our beautiful project. And there we see it. And this is what I like here.

Andrej Zito 

So you can see here the, the nice grouping, according to the sections that we define. So language independent, German, Japanese, French, Korean. And you can see here the whole workflow, or German, Japanese, and this one is French, Korean, and see when we deliver. And here is the language independent tasks that we already completed. So, you can see it’s already sort of grayed out. So no complaints here, it looks good. But just like I mentioned before, problem is that you have sub-tasks. I just don’t know how you can play them here. Now let’s get to the final thing that I always do in this videos, is that if you’re a project manager, you’re probably managing multiple projects at the same time to sort of need a unified view of all of your projects, ideally, in this one nice timeline. But the problem with Asana is, and again, this could be just my lack of knowledge, but I tried many different things. You have the option to go into my tasks, which technically gives you a one unified view for everything that you have in your projects. And you can sort it by project. Here I can see project A and project B. Problem here is that it only shows the tasks that are actually assigned to you personally. So, if by any chance I go back to let’s say Project A, and I need to say that, I don’t know, delivery is done by someone else sure, I can just remove myself. I go back to my tasks, it will be removed from here. Okay, so this technically works only if you have all the tasks assigned to you. So, you can get a list of these tasks. But once again, I don’t see any way how we can display the timeline like we did on individual projects. You only have a calendar view here when it comes to reporting. You can create maybe some charts, but these are just aggregators. And as you can see, there’s no option here to display some anything like a timeline, or like Gantt chart.

Andrej Zito 

Finally, portfolios. This is where I thought maybe this is the right thing. So I’m going to show you that it’s actually not the right thing. So something is happening, portfolio, create it. So this is how the portfolio looks like, I have a portfolio of my two projects, which gives us hope. But here we can see the status. And the status actually only is depending on how you set the status for the whole overall project. So that says its project is on track. But again, the problem is that this really gives you a very, very high level view. So maybe this could be useful to, I don’t know, some team lead, or I don’t know, program manager, maybe even the client. But if you’re a project manager, who actually needs the details of project A and project B, in one view, you’re pretty much fucked up. So what you could do as a workaround is that we could have sections represent one project, but then it means that our tasks would need to go into a deeper level, especially for project like project B. Okay, if I wanted to separate it, I would have, let’s say this would be project B. And here, the main level of the task would be German, Japanese, and under that I would need to have a stationary view and so on. But problem is that then these tasks, which are main tasks for me, wouldn’t be displayed on the timeline, right? Because the timeline doesn’t show us the sub tasks. So it’s absolutely useless. There’s a way you could you could somehow create a workaround, like we did maybe for the, what am I doing for the sub statuses, right? That somehow you could indicate it with the arrow that it’s an sub task, while you still keep it on the main task level. So that could work. But again, it’s just something that’s workaround, I tried monday.com. I tried Clickup. I tried Notion. Everywhere, we were able to get some one unified view where you can extract the data from your project and see the details in one view. But here with Asana, it’s just not possible by default. So that concludes my… so that concludes my tutorial for Asana. So far, very disappointing. It looks very nice. At the first glance, the tutorial is pretty nice to get you started. But then when you need certain functionality, which is available in the other platforms, you don’t have it here. So before I sneeze again, that’s it for this video. Thanks for watching, and see you in the next one!

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