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Background

My team uses Asana for all of our project communications and task management. We're very agile and lean focused and therefore our project plans are changing all the time. We love the flexibility and ease-of-use Asana offers.

However, as project coordinator, Asana has poor support for overall project management features specific to resource allocation and stacking. The need for this is important since we do multiple projects at the same time. As a result, our team is reliant on input from team members as to how projects will stack. It's worked so far, but as my team grows, it may not be the best long-term solution.

What We've Tried

I've played around with OmniPlan and have experience in MS Project. However, these are too detailed for our agile and lean work environment. I'm currently using a "Master Project Schedule" Calendar on Google Calendar to outline the project roadmap using tags such as "[Tentative]" for projects we are waiting to get signed. Unfortunately, while the "Notes" section of each event is flexible, it does little to remedy calculating effective scheduling.

Question

With Asana at our core, how can we manage resource allocation and project stacking at a high level for an effective master project schedule?

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    I've refactored your question to prevent it from being closed as a tool-recommendation question. Hopefully, this still addresses your core concern without forcing closure; feel free to edit further if you feel that it no longer captures your intent. – Todd A. Jacobs Dec 3 '13 at 20:51
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I have used Asana, as well as several other tools, on multiple projects. In my opinion, Asana is a great tool for keeping track of TASKS, but not terribly robust at keeping up with project management requirements as a whole. Asana really excels at tasks creation and outlining, especially when you've already honed in on a specific project. However, it lacks features that make it a great tool for keeping track of a very high-level view of pending, current, and past projects. Its tools for resource allocation and management are also almost nonexistent.

My honest opinion would be, if possible, use another agile project management tool other than Asana. There are some great free options that might get you closer to where you want to be than Asana. Try some of these:

http://www.pivotaltracker.com/‎ --- This one only offers a free 60-day trial, but is one of the best I've ever used

http://www.versionone.com/ --- Free for teams of up to 10 team members

If you simply MUST use Asana, my best advice would be to develop a syntax/system for adding comments to Asana tasks that are meaningful to time, resources, etc. If you can get everyone on the same page and using your documentation system for determining all of these aspects of the management cycle, then you could use the comments section at a high level to delineate timelines, resources, and whatever else you can fit into your abbreviations. For instance, from a technical standpoint:

(total # of resource hours allocated to project/total # of technical resources to be assigned to project/projected start date/projected end date) (360/4/1-29-2014/3-1-2014)

This is a very basic example, but something like that might work out for you.

If nothing else, just making a block chart in Microsoft Excel might work out well too. It really just depends on how robust you want to go with it.

I hope I have helped, even if only a little bit.

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I would recomend MS excel to help you in this matter. Nearly every software you use has support for exporting to excel. You can use pivot tables as a rollup summary for high level task management. You can go as detailed as you want it to be, adding additional information regarding to resources and tasks. You can use vlookup tables to quickly fill information regarding the resources to your task lists. As last step you can use charts to show your schedules graphically. Once setup it will help you greatly.

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Check out Instagantt.

It turns your asana tasks into a gantt chart, which you can resource level etc.

http://instagantt.com

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I second the idea that it is impossible to use Asana for this purpose. It's simply orthogonal - like saying, how can I use email as a calendar. You just can't. just as you can use email as a communications tool, you can use asana to track subtasks, but as far as project planning, you will have to go outside of it.

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From what I am reading in regards to your Agile and Lean environment, I would suggest using a light management and portfolio visualizer like Clearly.io or even a physical Kanban board with release train schedules as suggested by SAFe in addition to your current tools.

As others have mentioned, versionone and other tools do have long term roadmap features but overhead bloat in actual alignment practice and resource capacity planning may be too much if you are coordinating across multiple projects. Otherwise, there is always resource leveling with good old spreadsheets if you need to get down into budgeting, head count, cost centers, OpEx vs CapEx and all that fun stuff.

Short Answer: Clearly.io or Physical Kanban Portfolio Board

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