Asana is a collaborative information manager for workspace. It helps you organize people and tasks effectively.
Last updated October 23, 2015. Please visit the official site for the most up-to-date information.
It's easy to spend a solid portion of your work day going back and forth on email. Instead of spending time on real work, we’re writing status updates, forwarding emails to people left off the chain, and searching our inbox for a piece of information.
Asana is a project management tool that is trying to change the way people work. Instead of using email to manage your tasks and communication, you can use the app to track your todos, see what your team is up to, get the status of projects, and communicate with coworkers. Everything is in one place where it's easy to find and act on.
Asana is extremely customizable, so you can make it work however your team needs to. To start, you’ll set up your organization. An organization in Asana is the top level grouping which contains anyone with an email address at your domain. Next, you’ll build out teams—your marketing, product, or sales team will each be represented, and you can assign individuals to each team. From there, each team can set up their projects. Projects can be things the group is working on with a set due date, like a product launch, or can be areas of responsibility that go on indefinitely, like maintaining a company blog.
Projects can be as simple or complex as your team needs. Simple projects may contain a few tasks, while complex projects can contain sections with tasks and subtasks under those. Within a task, you can set a due date, assign an owner, add descriptions and comments, or attach files from Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive. You can even add followers to projects and tasks who will be notified of updates. All important data and communication is linked to the task, so no information is lost in email.
For projects that recur on a regular basis, you can build a template to use over and over again. Do the same six tasks every time you sign a new client? A template will make sure you never miss one. Need a checklist to make sure your blog posts go through the proper QA process? A template will ensure each post turns out great.
Sometimes your team may need to pull in members from other teams or contractors from outside the organization. With Asana, you can give guests access to entire projects or specific tasks. No more turning to email, you can continue to keep everything central even when working outside your team.
When it comes to actually doing work, Asana has a “My Tasks” view that shows you everything that is assigned to you. My Tasks is broken into three sections: Today, Upcoming, and Later. The upcoming section contains tasks that are coming due this week, while the Later section contains tasks due beyond that. Clicking on a task will show you all the information that has been added to it, and you can add your own comments and updates as needed. You can also add additional tasks from this view, including personal tasks that aren’t tied to a project and won’t be shared with others. Once the task is done, you can check it off the list and move on to your next task.
To see a more visual display of your tasks, you can jump to the “Calendar” view. Or, if you’re interested in seeing how tasks stack up for your entire team, you can view the Team Calendar which displays all tasks your team is working on.
In addition to the “My Tasks” view, you’ll likely also access “My Inbox” on a daily basis. The inbox view contains new activity on all the projects and tasks you own or are following. These are items that used to come to your email, but with Asana, you get updates in real time and with context.
In an effort to rid the business world of long and tedious status reports, Asana developed a dashboard that automatically tracks the status of each project. On the dashboard, you’ll see a progress chart of completed versus outstanding tasks for your projects. Project owners can add additional information like a brief overview and a status to indicate if the project is “on track,” “at risk,” or “needs attention.”
Organizations that upgrade to the Premium plan will also get private projects and teams, unlimited guests, more dashboard functionality, and centralized user administration and billing. Asana also integrates with a number of third-party apps, so if you need additional features, you’re likely to find it with an add-on.
Asana is available on the web, iOS, and Android. With its flexibility and customization options, it’s a great tool for teams small and large that want to organize their work in one central place. If you’re looking for an app that will get out and your team out of email, Asana will do just that—and more.
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