Today, executives work with teams around the world. This creates a number of difficulties that the office team will not encounter, including communication problems, discussing a specific issue, and completeness of information.
Scenarios also appear in which the manager is unable to communicate with a particular employee
more than once or twice a week. Constant control over all the questions asked by subordinates is difficult. Especially if the leader manages several teams at the same time.
To this end, project management services
have been developed. The manager is looking for a tool in them that will help manage the conversation, systematize reporting, analyze employee skills
and organize work in general.
One of these services became Asana
. It is quite popular among many managers of both small and large projects. The company boasts renowned customers such as NASA, Redbull and The New York Times, as well as partnerships with almost every brand like Slack, Adobe or Dropbox.
is a cloud service. The basis is the organization of projects, the appointment of executors, the determination of priorities and deadlines. The functionality allows you to closely monitor the workflow, guaranteeing a clear and timely completion of tasks.
The service provides an opportunity to choose between two main ways of organizing the process (lists or Kanban board). However, today it is impossible to convert a project from a board to a list and vice versa. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the preferences of the majority when creating a project.
of projects is divided into three elements: sections - tasks - subtasks. Tasks can be classified by marking them with different colors or by adding specific tags. At the heart of each project is the name of the company for which work is being performed, deadlines and description.
Regardless of whether the manager
uses a board or list to organize the project, he can drag and drop tasks to change the order in which they are carried out.
Tasks and subtasks
are assigned to specific employees. Everyone who is a participant in the task, as well as the project manager, can leave comments. So implemented a quick discussion about each part of the project.
One of the features of Asana
is that you can quickly get started by selecting a template in accordance with the theme of the project. The service also allows you to create your own templates for different types of projects. Therefore, if you carefully organized your work, you can maintain a general view so that you can use it in the future.
In paid models of using the service, a timeline is available. Outwardly, it resembles Gantt charts. This scale connects all the timelines, tasks and team members depending on the classifications.
allows you to set tasks depending on others. Thus, it is possible to organize the consistent implementation of all goals and more efficient work on the project. It also allows you to detect project bottlenecks and make sure that every employee is busy with something.
The service provides several ways to view tasks and their implementation. One of them is the timeline mentioned above. There are also calendars and timelines, which are available in the basic (free) version.
There are two types of calendars. The first, "personal", which is created by each employee taking into account their own tasks. The second is general, which allows you to track the progress of the project. It is useful when you need to plan work for the next few days or vacation (if the project is long).
shows how tasks pass into each other. It gives the employee an idea of what his role is at a particular stage of work on the project.
The main way to report on the work done is to comment on the task. It is noteworthy that the service itself does not allow to close the working day if there is an outstanding task with the date of the current day. In this scenario, the supervisor and executive are notified. One of them should change the due date, as well as indicate the reason for the postponement.
can set the status of the project (green, yellow, red) so that the team knows how well things are going. Also, each employee can write the status of his task in the "Progress" tab. This is especially important if many employees and the further course of work depend on its task.
When completing a task, a manager can check a box in front of it. Thus, the contractor learns that no changes will have to be made, and the rest of the staff will know about the situation in the project.
First of all, services like Asana are needed by project managers.
Therefore, it is very important to know about the possibilities of project management and access to it.
Obviously, the key feature is the addition of project participants. The quantity depends on the tariff plan chosen by the manager. Teams are created on the basis of responsibilities,
the degree of involvement in the project, or at least the greatest relevance of the person to the organization.
On top of project participants, the manager can add sellers, contractors, or partners as guests. By default, the guest has limited access (he cannot make edits, download files without the permission of the leader, change the terms, etc.). But the leader can configure access for each guest (for example, allow comments on tasks).
If the project is too large, the manager can appoint his assistants, setting them the appropriate status.
They will have more opportunities within the project (adding and removing participants, setting access, etc).
Communication and teamwork
Project management tools
are designed to organize a team whose members can work remotely. In this scenario, the communication capabilities within the service are important. Such tools have gained superiority over communication via e-mail or instant messengers, as they provide all the necessary functionality for discussing the project.
The first element is a description of the project. In it, the leader indicates the terms, the customer, the main ideas, direction, the nuances of work, the target audience and other issues that at least somehow affect the business and the project itself. Thus, having access to the project, each participant immediately understands the general concept and can create a plan of work.
The main way of communication is to comment on tasks.
They allow you to discuss any errors or innovations without going beyond the limits of the task itself. If the work took place in the office, then the comment would play the role of calling an employee to the head of the office. Notes are also available in Asana if you need to clarify a small element without discussion.
Discussions are another Asana
feature. When innovations appear or priorities change, the leader can create a discussion and invite all employees involved in the information to it. This allows you to not clog the project with excess data.
For each task, you can make attachments or share files within the entire project. There are no restrictions on the use of storage memory on the service, therefore you can add files of any size and in any quantity.
As an enhancement of team spirit, the opportunity to put a “Like” mark under each task, comment or file has been implemented. Thus, employees can instantly express their positive attitude towards someone’s actions.
Asana is SOC 2 certified (Type 1 and 2) for system control, security and privacy. This certificate provides guarantees of the integrity and safety of data from unauthorized access. SOC 2 certificate
is provided by independent security experts after conducting checks of the company's work processes and its methods of providing services.
The service uses the git control system. So, changes in the code base pass a series of automatic tests, after which they undergo manual testing additionally
. Changes are retested before they can be implemented.
Web connections are made through the TLS 1.1 protocol and above. These protocols provide asymmetric encryption and message authenticity codes, which ensures their reliability and integrity during sending.
The service really provides excellent organization of work on projects.
In a way, it is one of the best and is rarely sought for an alternative. However, there are a number of shortcomings that both project managers and implementers often complain about:
- it is impossible to combine personal and shared calendars;
- many automatic mail alerts that cannot be turned off;
- to study the full potential takes too much time;
- offline access only through the application on the smartphone;
- there is no way to convert the list into a board and vice versa;
- limited hot keys (for example, creating a new task with the combination “Ctrl + N”).
Extensive functionality has become not only an advantage, but also a disadvantage of Asana. This is seen in large projects, where the manager gradually begins to use all the features of the service. If you mistreat some features, the project can become complicated and confusing. Sometimes it comes to the need to re-create a project.
In other words, despite the high-quality and detailed documentation of the service, its study and use remains difficult. For constant efficiency in complex projects, you must be an experienced user. This has led to the choice of simpler alternatives.
A frequent complaint from managers is that only one person can be assigned to a task. It would seem that this problem was solved at the stage of service release, by adding subtasks. But sometimes it’s easier to add a few people to the task than to break it down into several stages.
with hundreds of brands around the world, making it possible to integrate their service with other applications. This greatly simplifies the work, because for each project third-party software is used (design applications, communications, tables, etc.). Instead of constantly attaching different files, you can integrate the project with applications that will often be used for it and perform tasks inside the service.
Among the popular solutions can be distinguished Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Gannt, Zendesk, Outlook, Slack. In paid versions, integrations of Adobe Creative Cloud, Usersnap, Microsoft Office 365 and others become available. Complete list of integrations is here
It is important that in addition to applications for other purposes, Asana can be integrated with similar project management tools, such as Jira or Trello
. Therefore, the team can easily communicate and achieve rapid progress in completing tasks, even if they work in different places.
Integration with other project management tools
is especially useful for large organizations in which teams of different sizes and directions are created a priori, or who simply prefer to use different services.
Asana has four business service delivery models:
A free option that offers basic functionality (creating a project, adding tasks, setting deadlines, viewing the calendar and updating status). Allows you to create a project for 15 people (1 leader plus 14 invited).
The cost of the premium option is $ 9.99 per month when paying for a year and $ 11.99 when paying for each month separately. Adds access to the timeline, advanced search and reporting, creating your own templates, establishing dependencies, creating private groups.
$ 19.99 and $ 23.99 respectively. This package adds the ability to create a portfolio of projects, as well as expanding the list of integrations.
This business model does not have a fixed cost, because it depends on the set of services that the company needs. Therefore, to purchase, you must contact the Asana team directly. This option gives access to all the functionality of the service and a full list of integrations, allows you to export and delete data.
Premium and Business options are available for free for a period of 30 days. All paid models have no restrictions on the number of invited people to the project.
managed to do something that many had never expected from an online service - to make project management fun. “Like” marks, the appearance of animations on the screen when completing a task as a greeting make the workflow more pleasant.
In general, the service is quite simple to use and has extensive functionality that will facilitate the organization of the project. In many ways, this tool benefits from practical, interactive design.
is aimed at a wide audience, since it does not require special knowledge to set up a project. The manager is free to choose the functionality that he needs, because the service can be easily used by a team of any number of people, not being afraid of the presence of extra functions or vice versa - lack of opportunities.
It is important that Asana
provides enough capabilities to track the progress of each task. After all, deadlines are one of the key elements of any project. Using this service, the manager will be able to deliver the project on time or reasonably explain the delay.
For complex projects, it requires good experience in use, otherwise the tasks will be confusing. The cost is quite low, given the opportunities that this service offers. The remaining disadvantages are relatively easy to fix.