Over the many years of working with teams and projects, I’ve never come across anything as robust as Asana. It’s my primary project management system and the one I recommend to every team. If you’re an individual that manages a lot of different projects, or you have a team of any size – Asana is the tool the for you. Here’s why.
Asana helps you organize your projects by creating tasks and assigning them to people. The problem I’ve seen working in many teams is that projects get delayed. There’s confusion about the status of a project and tasks fall though the cracks because people don’t know who’s responsible. Asana solves that problem.
Here’s a quick overview:
I won’t list all the features of Asana. You can find out everything Asana can do with their helpful guides and videos. Instead, I’ll tell you what has been most helpful for me as a freelancer and working on teams.
1. Organize Everything
If you balance multiple companies, teams, or projects, this is the most useful aspect of Asana. It’s got a ton of tiers of organization – though you don’t have to use all of them.
Organizations & Teams help separate companies and departments. If you’re just working on your own, then the equivalent to this is Workspaces.
Within that is Projects, which group together the tasks within a project. Tasks can also be grouped into sections, which can be organized by milestones or areas.
Tasks can also have subtasks, if there are multiple steps to getting something done.
The hierarchy structure is flexible enough to organize things however you want.
2. Someone Is Responsible
Asana is task-oriented. As a result, when you create a task you assign it to one person, and only one person can be assigned. The problem with other project management systems is that when you add multiple people to a task, it’s often uncertain who is responsible for it. That’s how things fall through the cracks.
You can add other team members as followers of that task, which allows them to comment and view the progress. But only one person is responsible for finishing it. If you adapt your work culture around this concept, I guarantee your productivity will go up.
You can also have individuals responsible for anything – tasks, subtasks, sections, and projects. This allows someone like a team lead to be responsible for a phase of a project, while their individual team members are responsible for the tasks.
3. Conversations in One Place
Asana’s tagline is “Teamwork without Email,” and they’ve stated that they’re on a mission to eliminate email. Emails is often what slows a project down and creates confusion. Emails get pushed down and you forget about them. It’s hard to find that one message that someone said about something. Sometimes people are left out of the loop, or included when they shouldn’t be.
In Asana, you can comment directly on a task, including uploading files to it. Everything pertaining to that task stays there. No more searching through endless email threads to stay updated – it’s all in one place.
There’s also team conversations which are a like a group chat for everyone in your organization.
4. See Anything You Want
Depending on your work style, or just the information you need, you can see your projects in anyway you like. Asana has a simple and easy interface with 3 vertical panels – your workspaces and projects on the left, your tasks and sections in the middle, and your task details on the right.
You can customize your task view by all tasks, completed tasks, uncompleted tasks, filter by date, by person, by due date, and a ton of other factors. For example, you can see what tasks Steven completed in the Web Design project within the past 10 days.
Another useful view is Calendar view, which puts all your tasks in a month calendar so you can visually see what your timeline looks like.
Other Great Asana Features
I can’t list them all, but here are some great ones
- Free for up to 15 members per team, have as many teams as you want
- Decide who’s on a team or project
- Tasks and sections can be dragged around
- You can view all tasks assigned to you in one place, even if they’re all in different projects
- Keyboard shortcuts that make your workflow super fast
- Create a template project with tasks, and duplicate to new projects
- Syncs with Dropbox, Google Drive, calendars and a ton of other apps
- Available on your browser, iOS and Android
- That incredibly satisfying feeling of checking off a task and having it disappear
If you’re on your own just working on one project, or want something simply as a to-do list for everyday life, check out my review of Wunderlist. It’s an amazingly beautiful and simple app I use for my life outside of work.
To make your team even more productive with your company documents, I recommend using the Evernote app for notes and documents.