Asana helps people organize, manage, and track their work on various projects and different teams. Asana Inc, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 2008 by big tech brains from Facebook and Google, which included Dustin Moskovitz, who co-founded Facebook, and Justin Rosenstein, a former engineer at both Facebook and Google. This project management software was launched in 2012 and now has 1,080 employees. The company was valued at $1.5 billion in 2018 and brought in $142.2 million in 2019. Asana is used in 190 countries by more than a million people.
This guide will provide an overview of Asana to help you scratch some research off your to-do list.
What is Asana?
Asana is different from other project management tools because it is built for teams to help organize workflow. It is structured to track work, maintain organization in projects, and know which phase every project or task is in.
Asana users can assign projects, set deadlines, set up a project workflow, and utilize a chat function that’s associated with each task. Those using Asana say they are 45% more efficient than they were before. The vast majority, 82% of Asana customers, said it helps teams focus on priorities and another 80% said it has improved accountability and functionality.
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What are the pros and cons of Asana?
Most people love the Asana program but it isn’t without faults. There are both pros and cons to using it. Here is a list.
You can use it anywhere. You can access it on the web, through a desktop app, or on a smartphone through an iOS or Android app.
The mobile apps allow you to do almost everything that you would do through a web app. However, looking at the program on a smaller screen may be tiring. Your mobile app will also tell you when your work is synced, so you will know when your team has seen it.
The user interface is easy to use. It is responsive, efficient, and has a modern design with color and flair. It can be personalized also with things like celebratory animations on screen at certain goals, but these can also be disabled.
- Many features
Once you are signed into an Asana workspace, you can do all the things you would expect like create projects, have discussions with team members, and track work. Asana has templates you can use to get you started or you can make your own.
There are tons of features beyond the obvious. Many like the portfolios to watch for work on multiple projects. You can add tasks to multiple projects easily and the tasks can be seen by everyone from different perspectives, which can also be helpful.
Tasks and subtasks have tags as well as the due date, attachments, comments, and followers. Anyone who follows will receive an update when there is a change. Those who use Asana said the custom labels and tags are extremely helpful.
Comments are created the same way most social media comments are designed so they are easy to use and read. You can edit them after posting, add mentions and the program supports rich text formatting.
Those with permissions can get an at-a-glance assessment of team members’ work and progress by looking at assigned tasks.
Asana is also integrated with Google Drive and the rest of Google’s tools, as well as Dropbox and Zapier.
- Timeline view
The timeline has some cool functions in it including task dependencies. A task dependency is when one task can’t be started until another is finished. You can add that relationship between tasks to create a link in the timeline.
Asana’s timelines have a chart that puts those relationships into a visual. Users can see how everything is laid out for them in the Gantt chart. This helps you see how your work could affect your final deadline if there is a delay in one of the tasks.
- It can be complicated
Even though the program is touted as simple and easy, it will take a bit of a learning curve for most to use it correctly without frustration. Those who have some technical knowledge will fare much better in the beginning.
You will have some choices when you first join Asana. It will ask if you want to join an organization or a workspace. Your company is the organization and the workspaces would be your team, department, or brand you are working on.
Once you join a workspace, your team can create and work on projects.
- Limited for graphics
The best option for graphics is Asana’s board view. With that view, you can set cover images for tasks. The problem is you don’t get many other tools such as markup tools or tools to collaborate, discuss or see graphic files changes.
That makes it difficult for a team to work on anything graphic-related.
- Higher prices
Asana has always charged more than its competitors. Their prices went up in 2019 as well so their prices are above most, although not orbit-level high. Asana has a free version, but it isn’t as useful as the paid versions.
What are the best Asana features?
Time tracking helps teams avoid pitfalls and problems. The Asana timeline shows how work looks over the entire time of the project. This allows you to find risks, determine changes, absences, and other unexpected events that affect deadlines and help small teams make plans for goals.
This is one of the best features of Asana. It has a main window with tabs that opt for different views. Views include a board view, a calendar view, task list view, overview, messages, and files, which makes for easier task management and oversight. You can also filter each of these views by date or assignee or get details of tasks by clicking on the task’s secondary window.
Every task has a subtask that has all the details of the due date, attachments, comments, tags, and followers among other things. This is an easy way to keep up with all information about a task without needing to contact people individually about it. Having everything at your fingertips saves you loads of time from having to track down information from others on the team.
Completed tasks have everything attached to them from beginning to end, so you can look back on how it was done and any problems that came up to get a broader assessment.
Tags make searches for tasks easy, which is helpful as a collaboration tool, especially if multiple people are working on a project simultaneously. It also has interactive checkboxes to use when tasks are completed. They can be unchecked too if something was overlooked.
This is one of Asana’s best functions. It allows you to look for a task or conversation, who it’s assigned to, projects and followers. It can be customized for people, tags, subtasks, and dependencies.
How much does Asana cost?
Even though pricing for Asana is higher than many of its competitors, it is still worth budgeting for.
- The basic plan is free and perfect for those just getting into project management. The next level is the Asana premium plan, which costs $10.99 if paid annually or $13.49 if billed monthly.
- The business plan is best for companies or teams that work on several projects or departments. That plan is $24.99 if paid annually or $30.49 if billed monthly.
The main differences in the Asana pricing are the paid plans have the timeline, reporting across multiple projects, advanced search, portfolios, proofing, and some advanced integrations with other applications like Salesforce, Tableau, Power BI, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
Small businesses that want additional security, support, and more control over management can go with the Asana Enterprise. This is a customized plan that gives you more control over data and additional personalized support.
Project managers who want this plan must contact sales for a customized version and price. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
What kind of customer support can users expect?
There are several support systems offered through Asana, but most of them require you to research on your own.
There is Asana Help, which is step-by-step instructions for how to use certain features and the Asana Forum allows you to ask questions of others in the community. There is also Asana Academy which has webinars, training sessions, interactive classes, and tutorials, which are hosted by Asana’s Customer Success team.
There are also Asana Use Cases where you can look at other teams who use the program and learn how to use the system for your specific team.
There are different guides too that will teach you how to onboard your team and how to customize your user experience and leverage your data.
What are the benefits of Asana?
Asana has many benefits, especially for those focused on work management. Some of the benefits for team collaboration include:
Asana allows team members, particularly managers and leaders. to closely monitor tasks to keep the entire project on track, and to be able to change tasks to meet new demands or unexpected events.
Asana helps with communication and visually seeing a record of all comments and discussions on tasks helps cut down redundancy in conversations, memos, and work. This also helps as people brainstorm for collaboration. It’s a messaging system that’s similar to Slack, but the comments are most useful when they’re tied to a project.
Customization of views helps everyone on the team see the project from different perspectives, which means anyone can catch a problem before it starts.
What are the disadvantages of Asana?
Two primary disadvantages exist for those using Asana. Those are:
Those who aren’t as familiar with these types of platforms are going to find the beginning stages difficult until they learn the system. It is slightly different from other drag-and-drop programs so there are new things to learn, even though the interface is clean and fairly simple.
No personal service
While Asana has plenty to offer as far as a knowledge base, webinars, and other educational tools on using the program, it doesn’t have live chat or phone support unless you get one of the higher-paid plans. That can be frustrating for those just getting started.
Is Asana always free?
The basic version is free forever but it is highly limited in features. It is a good way for you to introduce your team to Asana, to help them onboard, learn to use it, and take some of the educational classes before going to a paid version.
The paid versions have a ton more features that will truly help your team reach goals in projects.
Who is Asana good for?
Asana is good for companies or groups with larger teams of more than eight people and those with multiple projects. Smaller teams or those working on a single project will find it is a bit of overkill and could be overwhelming.
Can Asana be used for CRM?
Yes, Asana can be used as an easy tool for customer relationship management (CRM). In this case, customers become the task or project. Then, you keep all your notes on them and their needs as attached to the project so all information remains in one place.
A useful way to implement Asana as a CRM is to put products your customer purchased in the past as part of their portfolio. You can also put personal observations in there, their likes, dislikes, and even things like birthdays. That way, you know what they will like in the future for targeted marketing and can also send them cards and things on special days.
Can I have two Asana accounts?
Yes, many have two accounts associated with different emails. You can add both accounts to your apps on your computer and phone. However, it may be better to just have different workplaces or project templates to handle multiple projects.
Is there a big difference between the free plan and the paid plans?
There is a significant enough difference that you will want to look at all the plans before deciding when one best fits your needs.
The biggest difference between the free plan and the next level up, the Premium plan, is that the Premium plan includes better resource management with start dates, task dependencies, a timeline, custom templates, milestones, forms, and Jira Cloud and server integration.
It also includes advanced search, progress views, and priority support.
Who are Asana’s competitors?
There are other workflow management tools on the market. Platforms like Wrike, Basecamp, and Trello, for example, are collaborative project tools, but Asana has some of the most robust features and is aimed more at large teams of people who need to collaborate on projects consistently.