What is Asana?
Asana is a popular web based task management tool used by a number of companies in order to eliminate the chaos that ensues from exchanging copious email messages in a bid to keep team members informed of daily progress and plan changes.
Compared to a comprehensive project management tool like MS Project, Asana is a dedicated task manager. Asana encourages managers to break complex projects into simpler tasks and assign them to separate teams. These teams can leverage the user friendly Asana interface and its array of streamlined, essential features to boost productivity, consolidate conversations, and exchange relevant documents all in one workspace.
Asana has been built keeping the mobile workforce of the future in mind and translates well into its corresponding application. It allows employees to keep in touch with ongoing tasks and access the workspace on the go. The Asana coup has been the introduction of the convenient inbox where messages, alerts and notifications regarding updates, progress and changes are stored for easy reference. Thanks to this particular provision, Asana users claim to cut down email reliance by over 50%.
Even though the software is comparatively straightforward, Asana allow admins to set workspace access so that individuals can see, modify and use the data and collateral pertaining to the particular task(s) they are assigned.
Asana evangelists describe the tool as simple, interactive and real time data focused. It offers a free version for 5 projects and less than 15 members. The premium plans are tiered and thus affordable. Asana has also released its latest Enterprise flavor through which large and established businesses with thousands of users can also take advantage of this SaaS solution.
Who uses Asana?
Asana is the brainchild of Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and was born from the pain of spending too much time “working on things related to work”. Thus in short, Asana was created with a view to prune email usage in the context of group collaboration and reduce time spent on needless administrative chores.
Reviews from real life users collated from a number of rating sites and authoritative blogs peg it as ideal for an 8 to 10 member product team. It is a touch process oriented and for those who are suffering from Excel fatigue, the task sections may look like spreadsheets.
Asana is not meant to replace a robust alternative like MS Project and is an easy to use solution designed to cut down constant email exchanges and eliminate the collaboration void most conventional “closed” products like Project suffer from. Asana has a freely available API and integrates smoothly with services like Dropbox, Zendesk and Google Drive.
What is the learning curve to Asana?
Moskovitz intended to develop a tool to improve the productivity of the central Facebook team and the goal was a software solution which could be learned easily. Keeping in mind this motivation, Asana has an extremely simple user interface and baked in hotkeys or shortcut. A recurring complaint has been the apparent clutter on the home screen of the software but it is more than balanced by the fact that all possible Asana options and features are laid out on this single screen. Once users grasp this concept, they can use the screen to access the tasks they have permission to work on, check their inboxes for messages and notifications related to their tasks, and even add team members with tailored accessibility permissions as and when required.
As defined, Asana is an easy to grasp and learn web-based task management application. However because of its flexibility and lack of vendor recommended framework, mastering it is imperative if project and task managers are to put it to innovative use. Asana offers a few resources to help learn the product. User guides contain written guides, FAQ, user tips, and other pertinent information. Video tutorials offer succinct reviews and coverage of actionable information and tips. Direct customer support promises 24 hours reply back and social engagement and channels over which users can post small queries or clarifications and get instant replies.
Does an internal IT department need to help support Asana?
Not with the software, but Asana users need to maintain their own office equipment and general hardware in order to ensure that the task management tool works well. Asana encourages value added features like time tracking and Gantt charts to supplement its basic array of options. These are offered by other vendors and the 3rd party integrations are often points requiring IT maintenance and support.
In terms of deployment, the process is easier in comparison to alternatives like MS Project and Oracle. With Asana the only deployment task is creating a shortcut to access the tool and obviously import of data from 3rd party applications. Where information integrity is concerned, Asana stores customer data in SAS 70 audited data centers and allows point in time recovery going back to at least 8 days.
What are the features of Asana?
Asana has a number of basic features to aid task management and document sharing efforts. One popular feature is the ability to distinguish between work related and personal tasks with the concept of organizations and workspaces. The former is for a group of people with the same company domain email address and the latter is reserved for friends working on particular projects or students working on assigned activities. A second popular feature are tasks. Tasks in general are high level and can be created and assigned by any team member. Tasks have a number of attributes including the ability to add a description, append documents, initiate comments and assign tags. In addition, other popular features include templates for new projects, interview questionnaires, checklists, and color coded calendars.
What are the alternatives to Asana?
Alternatives for Asana can be both free and paid. This is largely because of its reputation of being “simple” and “streamlined” that allows even freeware to compete for its market.
Alternatives for Asana need to be organized into two groups. One pertains to applications with more or less similar features and abilities but with tweaks and improvements to make them flexible and the other pertains to more nuanced and richer tools especially for people looking to upgrade in terms of functionality yet stay away from the complicated hassles of MS Project or Oracle SAP.
Free & comparable Asana alternatives include Smartsheet, Asana, ActiveCollab, LearnDash, and Storm. Richer Asana alternatives include WorkZone, Wrike, Clarizen, Zoho, and CentralDesktop.