Asana is a simple web-based task management solution developed by former Facebook executives Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein in 2008. The 2 gentlemen developed the software to solve a common internal productivity frustration. This frustration was in regards to too much time performing tasks about work instead of focusing on the work itself. The former Facebook executives believed that writing and reading emails, attending meetings, and tracking updates slows down output immensely and distracts from the bigger picture.
Asana's bills itself as a teamwork communication manager. It's product supports a multitude of features, including projects, tags, notes, discussions, workspaces, tasks and an inbox that keeps track of information on a real-time basis. The main focus and design of the product is to allow team members to collaborate on projects from the planning stages through its ultimate completion without having to use email. Teams using the product are furnished a workspace, which in turn contains projects, which in turn have tasks. Users on the team can add notes, comments, attachments and tags to the tasks they are responsible for. Team members can then keep track of the project and task status, and they are made aware when any status is changed.
Asana also boasts a feature called Inbox. This is intended to keep team members from having to use email. The Inbox updates items for which ordinarily people use email.
Asana was made available for public use in 2011. It has been used by Dropbox, Pinterest, and more. The company boast 50+ employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
- Dashboard design
- Unique features
- Keyboard shortcuts
Asana put careful thought into the design of its dashboard to make it incredibly easy-to-use. The screen is divided into 3 main sections to give a comprehensive overview at one glance. When you click on your task list, it displays in the central window to give you the ability to sort and prioritize. The tasks can be clicked and dragged up or down to change order prioritization.
Asana has some unique features not typically found in other similar project management programs offered by competitors. One such feature is its hypertext capability. It allows you to provide relevant useful links to teammates concerning any project or task through note and comment fields in the platform. All a user has to do is to put the @ symbol in front of any information the user desires to connect. This process is similar to sharing information on Twitter.
Asana also provides users with a list of keyboard shortcuts for commonly used functions such as adding followers, deleting tasks, posting comments, and setting due dates. Projects may be color-coded for custom work categorization. Asana can be used for both personal and business task use, while keeping both separate from one another. Asana also integrates well with 39+ third-party applications.
Asana is completely free of charge for teams up to 15 users with unlimited projects and tasks. The software is affordable for all business types and sizes. However, it is designed to best suit small to medium-sized businesses when it comes to its features. Larger enterprises might find a different management software solution available on the market that better suits them in regards to their project management needs. Asana is limited when it comes to these features.
Asana provides a few extra features in its paid version for more complex project management needs. These perks include extra customer support and unlimited guests. Asana also gives guests visibility and access to a project.
- Role permissions
Asana is primarily a task management tool. This means that it does not come with many of the features a business would come to expect for the monthly cost. The software lacks planning, budgeting, resource management, and risk tracking functions. There are no Gantt chart capabilities either.The software is not suitable for large enterprises for these reasons.
Another downfall to the software is there is no way for managers to track tasks and projects. The easy-to-use interface is a bit messy and disorganized.There is no file system in order to organize documents. There is no way to move a task from one project to another. Deadlines cannot be assigned to projects. The ability to assign contingencies for subtasks and sequential projects is also missing from the software platform.
Users would also like to see Asana provide a downloadable app that can be used while offline. The free version is limited in features and the number of projects a user can create. Asana also does not handle visual content well. The software integrates with many third-party applications. However, it does not integrate well with other software platforms.
Built similar to Facebook, Asana can get confusing for users when it comes to team collaboration. Asana does not have chat features or a message board. Providing these simple tools would vastly improve team collaboration. Comments and shared content gets lost easily because it gets attached to specific tasks. Users have to remember where this content is located and filter through tasks and projects to find the information.
The mobile app for the Asana software does not come with the calendar that is available on the desktop version. You can sync Google Calendar on the desktop version first. This calendar will then be available on the mobile app. However, you have to go into the Google Calendar's settings and toggle the option to make sure it shows up on your device.
Managing individual role permissions is a major annoyance Asana does not give administrators the option to set this up effectively. Project managers report huge difficulties keeping up with teams larger than 20 people while using this software.
The Bottom Line
Asana is trusted and reliable solution for smaller companies and individuals, such as startups, as a task management solution. The easy-to-use user interface gives managers a comprehensive overview of all projects and tasks on one screen. However, the software is severely limited in its functional capabilities for anything other than tasks. Sorting and prioritizing tasks can be performed quickly through drag-and-drop capabilities. The software cannot handle visual content in an appealing way and has no system for file management.
The software is free for teams under 15 people, and paid plans are very affordable for most business types and sizes. The company provides a free trial with no credit card information required.