Track Anything with Asana: How 22 Teams Manage Projects and Get More Done

Kim Kadiyala
Kim Kadiyala / Published November 17, 2016

There are places where surprises are welcome. An out-of-the-blue text from an old friend, a parking space right out front, finding $5 in the pocket of your winter coat—these are bits of delight we embrace. But when you walk through the doors of your office, surprise can feel more like dread than delight. Unexpectedly overrunning your budget or forgetting about a 12 p.m. deadline is enough to stop your happy dance in its tracks.

To stamp out these surprises at work, you need a way to keep your projects organized and visible. Asana, an online project management tool, makes it clear who's doing what, by when, and why. It acts as central command, a hub for your projects and everything needed to move them across the finish line. Asana is flexible enough to adjust to any team's workflow so you’ll never again be surprised at what’s around the corner.

Asana
Organize your work from start to finish with Asana

Pair up Asana with app automation tool Zapier to bring the work from your other apps into that central command automatically. That way, whether you're tracking a product launch or onboarding new hires, you can track the status of all your projects in one place. Here’s how 22 professionals are using Asana with Zapier to create powerful workflows with their teams and tick off the tasks that move their business forward.


Use Asana and Zapier to:


How to Set Up Asana with Zapier

Zapier helps centralize your project management process by automatically passing data between Asana and the other apps you use to do your work, like Slack, Gmail, Google Sheets, Wufoo, and more. Follow along for a quick start guide to setting up an integration between Asana and any of the 750+ other apps with Zapier.

Let’s say you use Toggl to track your team’s time spent on projects. Every time you kick off a new project in Asana, you also need to set up a corresponding project in Toggl. Rather than set up these two projects individually, you can use Zapier to connect Asana to Toggl. Then, whenever a new project is created in Asana, it triggers an automatic workflow called a "Zap" that also creates a new project in Toggl. You’ll have everything in place to start organizing your work, tracking time, and billing clients.

To set up a Zap like this on your own, log in to your Zapier account or sign up for a free account, then click "Make a Zap." Start out by connecting your Asana account to Zapier. Make sure you already have a project created in Asana, and then tell Zapier which project you want to reference.

Example of an Asana Zap
Connect your Asana account to Zapier

In the second step, connect your Toggl account and customize the Zap. Then turn the Zap on.

Example of an Asana Zap
Connect your Toggl account to Zapier

Now every time a new Asana project is created, Zapier will create a corresponding project in Toggl—one less item to organize when kicking off new business.

There are tons of other ways you can knock out your to-do list by linking Asana to the other apps you use during your work day. Here are some ideas from professionals who are using Zapier and Asana to tackle their workday with a one-two punch.


Run an Online Store

Running an online store means tracking a million different moving parts. From processing new orders to managing warehouse inventory and acknowledging customer feedback, new bits of information are presented at every turn. Asana helps you organize these scattered bits into actionable tasks and manageable workflows, but it can take a lot of copy-and-paste effort to get them into Asana in the first place. One way to lighten your load is to use Zapier to pair up Asana with the other apps you use to fulfill online orders.

Prioritize time-sensitive tasks

For Chais Meyer, co-owner of custom retail apparel shop 24 Hour Tees lightening the load means transforming the data he collects in Typeform and Wufoo into assignable tasks. He's long used a form to collect bug fixes and customer feedback. While this worked well to compile a running tally of to-do’s, it left the team wondering which tasks were most important—and having to copy tasks into Asana manually. Meyer now has Zapier turn new form entries into tasks, with due dates assigned automatically to tasks to keep time-sensitive items moving forward.

"The value of this integration is tremendous for our small business," says Meyer. "By collecting data and turning it into a task to be managed we spend more of our time on money-making tasks and less on time doing busy work."

Route tasks with filters

Chris Carr, CTO at real estate website software company InvestorCarrot, keeps up with the flood of orders and help requests from customers by creating separate projects in Asana for each type of request. Carr built a Zap that automatically pipes new orders into Asana to track fulfillment.

"We used to receive email notifications of new orders and had to manually track those in our help desk. This integration saves us time and helps us make sure all orders are fulfilled correctly and quickly," Carr says. "Even when team members are out of the office, tasks are assigned and given a due date–nothing slips through the cracks!"

Keep customers happy

3dcart CEO Gonzalo Gil acknowledges the time saved with a Zap that sends new orders from Google Sheets to Asana, but finds the greatest benefit to be an increase in their bottom line.

"Since implementing this integration, we have not missed processing a single order," Gil proudly says. "Normally we would find that 2-4 orders per month would have to be canceled and refunded because they were simply overlooked."

Extract order details from emails

If your online store receives new order notifications via email, make sure those orders make it into Asana for fulfillment, too. Email parsers, like Zapier's Email Parser app, are designed to extract information from auto-generated notification emails and turn it into actionable data. For example, you can create Asana tasks by parsing order emails for the information you need to deliver the order–like item, quantity, and size– just like you can with a form tool.

Create new tasks and projects from templates

If your team regularly runs through the same workflow to fulfill orders, you can copy existing tasks and projects in Asana. That way, you can save time and make recurring work even easier.

Amy Seidelman, director of operations at the National Speech and Debate Association, iterates on this feature with a Zap to order trophies and awards to give out at their tournaments.

"Using Asana with Wufoo gives us an easy trigger to build out a template for each order," says Seidelman, "From organizing the design and creation of the awards to generating invoices and conducting satisfaction surveys with customers, the growth of our business is now more manageable."

Use custom fields to track anything

With Asana’s recently added feature, custom fields, you can track more information on tasks in your Asana projects. You can create a custom field for stage, priority, cost, or anything else that’s important to your workflow. Custom fields let teams move beyond one-to-one task management and allow for tracking things like inventory and shipments.

Asana
Track anything with custom fields

Patrick Parro, eCommerce and warehouse manager at Avid Apparel uses Asana to manage the comings and goings of an entire warehouse. "Our warehouse team tracks what moves in and out of our warehouse in a Google Sheet," Parro says. "Whenever a new entry is made to the Google Sheet, it triggers Zapier to create a task in Asana."

For Parro, tracking shipments in Asana means getting paid on time by their customers. Before implementing this workflow, shipments were missed and invoices were forgotten. Now, the accounting team can easily prioritize invoicing and any unsettled accounts are clearly visible.

Automatically turn tasks into invoices

Your tasks can trigger entire workflows that actually accomplish your work—like sending out invoices so they're never forgotten. Just choose an Asana tag for Zapier to watch (like "invoice"), then whenever that tag is added to a task, a new invoice will automatically be prepared and emailed to the client for payment.

Turn Notifications into Action Items

"Our action items used to slip through the cracks. Now, we don’t lose the tasks that naturally develop from our Slack conversations."- Sam Dillenback, lion tamer at Rusty Lion Academy

It’s easy to fall victim to notification overload. The pings and beeps from email, chat and the other apps you use to get your work done can leave you feeling scattered. One of the most effective ways get these notifications into your workflow is to pair Asana with the messaging apps you use day to day.

Use chat to assign tasks to a department

Levi Petrone, vice president and executive partner at Hudson Wealth Management uses a Zap to add action items to a department or individual’s to-do list straight from Slack. When there’s a task to assign, they post the task to the dedicated Slack channel, like #Operations or #Finance. Zapier watches for new messages in a channel and posts them to Asana as assigned tasks. That way, new tasks are in front of the right person to get the job done without them needing to switch between apps.

"Who wants to log in to several different systems just to add an action item to a project list?" asks Petrone. "If salespeople forgot their password or couldn't remember how to add tasks to other Asana users, they would write their action item on a sticky note, send a text message, email, or forget about it altogether. This Zap makes it easy. By simply opening the correct channel in Slack, team members can add an action item without having to remember an extra username and password. With this automation, overall efficiency improves because salespeople can stay focused on sales, and operations gets things done."

Keep your task list out of your inbox

If you don’t need every message in a channel added to your to-do list, you can add a star to the messages you need to follow up on. Then, Zapier will add these messages as tasks in Asana. As a self-proclaimed "die-hard GTD-er," Linda Moyer, director of customer education at EventBooking.com uses this Zap to build a centralized to-do list on the fly.

"I want to have everything in one place, so I don’t forget anything," says Moyer. "I often get Slack messages that I have to follow up with later, which can be frustrating to keep organized. This automation makes it so much easier! I have a Zap set up so that whenever I star a message in Slack, a task is created in Asana. I love that I can do this straight from my phone."

Sam Dillenback, lion tamer at business and life coaching company Rusty Lion Academy uses this same Zap to create tasks without interupting her workflow.

"Our action items used to slip through the cracks," says Dillenback. "It was interruptive and clunky to have to switch between apps while we chatted in Slack. Now, we don’t lose the tasks that naturally develop from our Slack conversations."

Get a summary of the updates you need

For a way to keep disruptive notifications at bay, Zapier’s Digest app can turn a feed of data into a skimmable summary delivered every day, week, or month. That way, you can catch up on the important events of your day when it’s convenient for you, rather than switching focus whenever there’s a new notification.

For example, you can get a digest of completed Asana tasks delivered to you in a Slack message every Friday afternoon. Then, you can review everything your team was up to during the week. Prefer email or want a record of the notifications in Google Docs or Evernote? You can tweak the digest to save the notifications the way you want.

Build a central command

One of the biggest pain points in managing multiple clients is finding a common project management platform. If your clients prefer Trello, but your internal team uses Asana, the feeling of notification overload can be off the charts.

In her virtual assistance company, Denise Dukette ran into that very problem. "Asana is my project management tool for both my professional and personal life. However, not all of my clients use it and it was causing some missed task issues," says Dukette. "Zapier came to my rescue. Whenever a client adds a new task to Todoist, it zaps over to Asana. Now, nothing gets missed."

No matter what project management platform your team uses, Zapier can help you build a personal command center to help track actionable items in one central hub.

Build Professional Relationships That Last

"When you have a startup, it’s easy to be pulled in many different directions, but automating these tasks saves times and limits the risk of a crucial step of our client process being dropped."- Guillermo Ortiz, founder and CEO at Geek Powered Studios

For repeatable workflows, you can go beyond using Asana as a list of items to check off and use it to move work through multiple stages. Asana's newest feature, Boards, allows you to visualize your work in columns on a board and move it around like sticky notes. With this in mind, you can use Asana to onboard new clients or move a blog from the idea stage to a published post. Here are some ways to pull that off.

Asana
Use Asana Boards to Visualize Workflows

Onboard New Clients

Onboarding new clients and customers requires ninja-level coordination. The flexible framework of Asana lets you track your team’s work for onboarding and managing clients. Set up Zaps to automate recurring workflows so your team is never wondering what’s next and your new relationships continue to grow.

Never again ask "What’s next?"
Thom Seddon, CTO at internet service provider Telcom Networks, uses this Zap between Google Calendar and Asana to make sure a new customer is onboarded smoothly and efficiently.

"There are many repeatable steps to bring a new customer on board," Seddon says. "This Zap watches for new installations to be booked and then triggers tasks in Asana for purchasing and provisioning. This ensures that when a new installation date is coming up, the correct equipment is in place to on board the customer."

Free up time to close more deals
Ryan Voorhis, director of customer success at Grow.com, automates their onboarding flow by connecting Salesforce and Asana. Whenever a new deal is closed in Salesforce, Zapier automatically creates a new project in Asana where they can add tasks for that customer's work. His team saves time spent on manual work, and the new customer benefits from a seamless onboarding experience.

Give clients the VIP treatment
Guillermo Ortiz, founder and CEO of SEO company Geek Powered Studios, also uses Zapier and Asana to automate client onboarding and ensure they give clients their full attention.

"Once our clients add their information to a Gravity Form, Asana tasks are automatically generated and assigned," Ortiz says. "Being responsive is something we pride ourselves on. When you have a startup, it’s easy to be pulled in many different directions, but automating these tasks saves times and limits the risk of a crucial step of our client process being dropped."

Build a more predictable pipeline
Even for custom projects, like design requests, there are repeatable steps that can be automated with Zapier and form tools. Beau Feeny, product manager at video engagement platform Prizma, uses Asana and Zapier to turn product mockup requests into a predictable workflow.

"Custom sales collateral is important, but time-consuming and better done in batches," says Feeny. "Since we know the requests will come in, we use a form plus Zapier to better plan for the flow of new work."

Digitize paper approvals automatically
Andy Lechlak, digital strategist at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library uses Zaps to get his internal team onboard to approve direction on new marketing projects.

"Before Zapier, we had an inflexible internal approval process," says Lechlak. "Managers approved marketing projects by signing a piece of paper. Now, new project requests are sent from JotForm to Asana, and approvals are granted just by commenting on the project."

If your organization grants approvals on paper, you can still kick off a new project and begin onboarding the team automatically. Take a picture of the written approval and add it to a new Evernote note. Then, use a Zap to create a new project in Asana with the approval attached.

Maintain Existing Customers

Customer retention is a crucial part of running a successful business. As your relationship grows, your customers will have questions, share feedback, and need support. Make sure those requests rise to the surface so your team can respond quickly.

Respond to customers faster
Waqar Ali, founder of GetInclusive, an e-learning platform for inclusion training, uses Google Sheets and Asana to make sure his customers get the star treatment when they need help.

"This Zap is a critical part of our flow," says Ali. "Without it, we risk losing important customer requests. Every time the Asana task is created, we’re able to respond quickly and serve the customer. Our fast response time means happy customers, which makes us happy, too."

Mehmet Ozbey, founder of online car buying service Madlycar.com, uses Asana with Zapier’s Mail Parser app to automate sales and marketing actions when a new lead comes in via email. He saves time by nurturing new leads with an automated workflow.

Keep the team looped in
Even if there is a team lead on a task, there are likely others who also need to be in the loop—your team members, or perhaps the customer who first pointed out an issue. You can use a Zap to create that task with followers, saving you the time it takes to add followers to a task one by one. Then, when a customer request comes in via email, you can star it in Gmail. Zapier can add that starred message as a new task in Asana with the sender of that starred message as a follower of the Asana task.

Say you've created a new task around a bug fix a customer shared. In this workflow, the customer who sent the request is added as a follower. Now, that customer will be notified when you take action on their issue, turning Asana into a mini-help desk.

Improve Collaboration With Teams

When you try to organize a project and assign tasks through email, it’s easy for miscommunication to happen. What needs to be done? Whose responsibility is it to deliver it? When do you need it by?

Asana takes email out of the equation and helps you break down the big picture into assignable, bite-sized units of work. You can use Zapier to automatically create tasks in Asana and assign them with a due date to team members. That way, your team can stay on track without digging through their inboxes for what’s next. And if another email comes in, Zapier can send it to Asana to keep everything in one place.

Organize requests from remote teams

Maggie Rubenstein, marketing and events coordinator at Blue Chair Bay Rum, uses this Zap between Google Forms and Asana to streamline design requests that roll in from sales reps across the country.

"Previously, every design request was submitted in a word document, which was hard to keep track of," Rubenstein says. "This Zap is awesome. Our designer doesn’t have to go back through multiple emails worrying that she missed something, she just looks at her Asana task list and gets to work."

Keep teams working in the tools they already use

Kevin Rocci, senior manager of student help at online test prep company Magoosh, gathers information from their online students in a similar way—but with Zendesk:

"When students find misspellings or errors in our lessons and questions, they let us know in Zendesk," Rocci says. "Our remote team uses a template to fill in the information the internal team needs to fix the issue. Then, Zapier sends that content feedback directly to a project in Asana and creates a task. This transformed a cumbersome process and allows our support peeps to manage content feedback without ever having to leave Zendesk."

Chris Brencans, digital project manager for internet marketing company On The Map Marketing, uses the same Zap to manage tasks for his international team: "It saves me time from copying and pasting when managing tasks across our many offices. Once a ticket is tagged in Zendesk, Zapier adds the task to Asana where we manage the project."

Automatically build agendas for more efficient meetings

You can also use Google Calendar with Asana to run more efficient meetings. If you create a new project in Asana for every new team meeting, you can collectively build a meeting agenda. As the team adds tasks to the project, items for discussion emerge. That way, when it’s time to get together, your meeting agenda will already be in place and you’ll walk in knowing exactly what to discuss.

Manage a Common Calendar

"I tag posts in Feedly that I want to share and wait for Zapier to work its magic. My Zap snags the post title, source, URL, adds a few hashtags, then creates a scheduled post in Buffer."- Denise Dukette, founder at Out of the Office Virtual Assistance

It takes a village to move from idea to execution. Whether your team needs to brainstorm new features for an app, efforts for new marketing campaigns, or new content for a blog, a common calendar helps you track ideas and assign responsibility. Using Asana as an editorial calendar, for example, can help you plan out a content schedule and meet your deadlines. Rather than copying and pasting your content ideas into the calendar, use Zapier to build a seamless workflow from idea, to creation, to post.

Asana
Use Asana as an Editorial Calendar

Automate idea generation

Hope Wadle, digital marketing coordinator at agricultural and farming equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corporation uses Zapier to kickoff the content creation process by collecting new ideas for their social media channels via JotForm. Then, Zapier adds the idea as a task in Asana and sends her an email alert that there is new content available to post.

You can also use Zapier’s Google Chrome Extension, Push, to add new content ideas to Asana from anywhere on the web. That way, you can capture your content inspiration before it slips your mind.

Manage a team schedule

Another time-saver is to use Zapier to add tasks to a shared calendar so the entire team has a clear view of what’s on deck.

Chris Humphries, resource manager at UAB Digital Media uses this Zap between Google Calendar and Asana to manage scheduling for upcoming photo shoots. He relies on Zapier to transform the manual work of mobilizing a team of photographers into an efficient, self-managed workflow.

"The process of scheduling photographers took myself and the photographer communicating several times," Humphries says. "Now, when an assignment comes in, the available photographer is able to assign it to themselves and take care of it all on their own."

Kickoff a workflow by adding a tag to a task

For pieces of content that require input from multiple teammates, like longform blog posts, you can automate the workflow with Asana Zaps. For example, when you finish a draft of your post, you know your editor needs to review it. You can use this Zap to ping your editor that it’s ready for feedback.

Stuart Balcombe, director of growth at web design service marketplace Compass, uses Trello for content management, and creates new tasks in Asana from Trello whenever a content idea is moved out of ideation and scheduled for writing. Previously, he was recreating the Trello card in Asana in order to assign the task to a writer. Now, there’s no chance of forgetting to create the task since it’s done automatically with this Zap.

Of course, a steady stream of content is more valuable with an audience. Once you have your content scheduled and shared, it’s time to promote it far and wide. When a blog is posted, add a tag in Asana that sends an email to your network to check it out.

You can resurface evergreen content by triggering a reminder to repost every few months. Mark a post as complete in Asana and get a reminder in Slack when it’s time to share again.


Asana + Zapier, Better Together

Turbo charge your productivity by pairing Asana with Zapier and your favorite apps. Whether you’re a two-pizza team or a thriving enterprise, the flexibility of Asana helps you plan out your team's workflows so everybody knows who's doing what by when…and then gets it done. Zapier integrates with 750+ apps, many of which didn't make it into this post but that you can still integrate with Asana to get more done.

Do you use Asana and Zapier in a unique way that we didn't cover here? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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