Productiveness fans love Asana—and for good cause. This on-line group collaboration instrument focuses on workflow administration, but it surely additionally handles the nitty-gritty of activity administration with aplomb. That mentioned, it shouldn’t be confused with venture administration software program. Asana would not embrace Gantt charts, time-tracking, and another superior instruments for managing tasks particularly. However for managing duties and workflows, it is a way more versatile instrument that may bend to your will. Asana is likely one of the greatest collaboration and productiveness apps for groups, and it is a PCMag Editors’ Selection.
Pricing and Plans
Asana has a free plan, a paid Premium possibility, and an Enterprise possibility. Whereas the free account comes with some limitations, it does provide you with an honest style of the person expertise, in addition to Asana’s potential on your group. I like to recommend making the most of the free account for no less than a couple of weeks with a small check group earlier than upgrading to a paid tier of service.
The free account is sweet for a group of as much as 15 folks. Except for limiting the group measurement, there are solely two different huge limitations: One is that you just solely get primary Dashboards, that are customizable areas with charts exhibiting the progress of groups and tasks. The opposite is that you do not get superior search instruments. As to the core characteristic set, you get all the duty administration instruments, akin to the flexibility to create duties, assign folks to them, add due dates, write feedback, and fix information. There aren’t any limits on the variety of duties or tasks you may create.
Asana Premium value $119.88 per individual per 12 months, or $11.99 per individual in the event you pay month-to-month. Very small groups pay rather less, which I will clarify in a second. The Premium account contains every thing within the free account and removes the constraints. Moreover, Premium accounts include a couple of perks, together with non-public groups and tasks, customized fields, activity dependencies, superior search, administrator controls, precedence assist, and some others outlined on Asana’s pricing web page. “Personal” tasks means they’re solely accessible to invited members. Tasks that aren’t non-public are accessible to everybody on the group, however not the general public.
Very small groups of 15 folks or fewer who need Premium options pay a decrease charge: $75 per individual per 12 months, or $7.50 per individual per thirty days. Scholar teams also can contact the corporate for a free six-month trial of Asana Premium, however they have to meet a couple of circumstances.
Within the panorama of productiveness instruments, Asana is priced appropriately. It is not a steal, nevertheless, and the value has elevated by quite a bit in the previous couple of years. For instance, the 2017 worth is about $20 extra per individual per 12 months than the 2016 worth. Individuals who have been utilizing Asana previous to a few of the worth hikes are grandfathered into decrease charges. A consultant advised me the corporate honors “legacy pricing for patrons who wish to keep on their present plan,” which implies you may’t add extra folks to your group. In case your group measurement stays the identical, so does the annual price ticket. If the group measurement grows, the group is migrated to the present pricing mannequin.
Asana would not evaluate instantly with every other app I do know, however we are able to nonetheless get a way of what a good worth can be by taking a look at providers that accomplish comparable issues.
On the low finish of the value spectrum, Todoist Premium prices $28.99 per 12 months for private use, or $28.99 per individual per 12 months for a Enterprise account. On the excessive finish, there’s Podio at $9, $14, and $24 per individual per thirty days, relying on the tier of service. For those who pay yearly for Podio, the costs are roughly $86, $134, and $230 per individual. So Asana is much more costly than Todoist, however is shut in worth to Podio’s Primary and Plus plans.
Asana has kanban board options, too, so we’d evaluate its worth with that of in style kanban apps, akin to Trello, Wrike, and Volerro. Trello, one of the crucial in style kanban apps, fees $119.88 per individual per 12 months, equal to Asana’s worth. Volerro fees simply $7.99 per individual per thirty days. Wrike fees almost the identical quantity as Asana Premium for its Skilled tier of service ($117.60 per individual per 12 months) and a a lot greater charge for its Enterprise grade service ($297.60 per individual per 12 months).
What Is Asana?
Asana is a workflow administration instrument. You utilize it to handle duties, not simply who will do a activity and when, but in addition who will do the following associated activity, what one must know concerning the work to get it performed, and when the work was accomplished. I do know that also sounds obscure, however Asana is extraordinarily versatile. Determining set it up on your wants is the toughest a part of utilizing it. Asana presents some hand-holding for newbies within the type of a variety of on-line video tutorials for studying get began and mastering the finer factors of the app.
To know Asana within the context of office collaboration instruments, I like to make use of an analogy: Asana is sort of a deck of playing cards, whereas venture administration software program is sort of a board recreation. Board video games are designed to be performed by the principles. Typically, board video games include a set of directions for play, and it is uncommon for gamers to stray too removed from it, though the gamers would possibly conform to some modifications sometimes. However often, everybody who agrees to play is agreeing to play by the principles that include the sport.
With a deck of playing cards, you’ve extra choices. You may play a widely known recreation with established guidelines, akin to Texas Maintain’em, or you can invent your personal recreation. You may construct homes of playing cards in the event you needed! As an example you determine to play rummy. Everybody on the desk should first agree on which model of rummy to play (straight rummy, 500 rummy, gin rummy, and so forth). There is a template for the sport, however the precise guidelines are going to be hashed over and agreed upon on the desk by the gamers earlier than play begins.
Asana is a deck of playing cards, and venture administration apps are board video games. There are many predefined methods you should use Asana to trace sure varieties of labor, akin to software program improvement, however there are additionally customized methods to make use of it.
Yet one more level of distinction is that Asana can be utilized to trace ongoing work or venture work, whereas venture administration apps are designed to handle tasks. Tasks are sometimes outlined as work that has a starting date and an finish date, in addition to a deliverable. Constructing and launching an internet site is a venture. Writing each day content material for a information web site is ongoing work.
Asana in Motion
Asana is primarily web-based, which means you utilize it in a browser. There aren’t any desktop apps, however there are cell apps. Everybody on a group will get an Asana account, and somebody units up Tasks and Groups. Customers be part of Tasks and Groups as relevant. Every Mission has a activity record. Every activity can have subtasks, in addition to an assignee, due date, attachments, feedback, tags, and followers. You utilize these duties and subtasks to trace work. The feedback and different knowledge show you how to perceive what’s taking place with the duty so that you just need not talk about issues over e-mail or another manner. As duties and subtasks are accomplished, all of their historical past and every thing that occurred finally ends up being hooked up to the duty itself. The work is now in context with all of the conversations about it, motion it has been by way of, and so forth.
Asana reveals you some knowledge related to all this work (within the Dashboards), akin to what number of duties had been accomplished on a venture over time. A variety of perception comes from customized searches and even simply taking a look at another person’s activity record to see what’s on their plate and when it is due. You’ll be able to seek for all duties which are overdue, for instance, or have a look at the duty record of your three high quality assurance testers earlier than assigning new work to somebody who’s already overbooked.
Whereas some collaboration instruments tout themselves as being as easy to make use of as Fb, that is actually not the case with Asana. Somebody on the group must envision how Asana will work on your wants. Adopting it requires a can-do perspective for trial-and-error. When you get going with Asana, nevertheless, it may be an especially highly effective instrument.
Look and Really feel
Asana has an environment friendly structure, with sufficient coloration and design aptitude to maintain it fascinating and helpful with out trying too cluttered. It has some surprises as nicely, like celebratory unicorns that seem on display screen sometimes, though you may disable these further results in the event you’re not into them.
The net dashboard is split into three fundamental areas: a left rail with tasks, groups, and workspaces; a fundamental window that adjustments primarily based on what you choose from the left; and a proper info field that drills down into no matter you are viewing in the principle window. A responsive design mechanically collapses elements of the interface if you’re working in a small window.
Asana would not compartmentalize a lot. Every little thing you wish to discover is, for probably the most half, situated on one display screen, relatively than tucked away beneath a collection of tabs, or home windows inside home windows.
The left rail holds workspaces, and people home tasks. You’ll be able to customise what seems right here and the way it seems to be. I color-coded my tasks, for instance, and created some non-public tasks that solely I can see.
Alongside the highest of the interface in the principle part are hyperlinks for My Duties (a listing of duties assigned to you), Inbox (notifications on duties you are following), and Dashboard. You may discover a yellow dot seem subsequent to Inbox when you’ve new unread notifications.
Considerate design makes the principle window in Asana bend to your wants. For instance, if you click on in your activity record on the left and it shows in the principle window the place you may type the outcomes by due date, venture, or a couple of different elements. Duties glide throughout the display screen if you merely click on and drag them to vary their order. Reprioritizing a activity record visually is a bit of cake. Merely drag an necessary activity to the highest of the record.
Since its inception, Asana has adopted an ethos of “openness.” Asana is supposed to facilitate communication and collaboration brazenly, amongst all group members. You actually can have non-public tasks and personal duties in Asana, however the nature of the instrument is to permit all group members equal entry to see, edit, and work together with info within the app. With Asana, due to this fact, nothing is locked down by default. Any person can change the title of a public venture. Anybody can edit a public activity, even when it wasn’t created by that individual or assigned to her or him. It is egalitarian. And generally that may result in errors.
For organizations that wish to have tight management over person permissions, akin to who can edit what, Asana shouldn’t be an excellent instrument. For groups who do use Asana, it is crucial to have ongoing open dialogue concerning the guidelines of engagement to make sure everybody agrees to make use of the app in the identical manner, not overwrite each other’s work, and so forth.
Asana would not skimp on options. Whenever you create a activity, you may assign it to a group member, schedule a due date or add a recurring date, add or hyperlink to related paperwork, write feedback, add tags, and even subscribe or unsubscribe your self and others to obtain notifications every time adjustments happen on the duty. Tags assist make duties extra searchable, and the superior search operate is sort of good. Whenever you search, Asana can embrace accomplished tasks in addition to energetic ones.
Interactive checkboxes allow you to tick off duties as you full them—and simply as simply untick them in the event you or one other Asana member strikes one thing off in error. There’s an undo window that may pop up in case you do test a field by mistake, but it surely truly would not work for all actions, and when it does work, you may solely undo the final motion.
Asana additionally offers you the flexibility to create a customized subject the place you may monitor no matter you need. You would possibly add a subject that signifies a activity’s precedence (low, medium, excessive), or you can use customized fields to point the state of a activity (pending, in progress, awaiting ultimate approval).
Asana additionally has activity dependencies, though it is for Premium members solely. As an example I’ve activity A, activity B, and activity C logged in Asana. Process can’t get performed till duties A and B are each full. I can add dependencies in order that activity C depends on the completion of duties A and B first, and I can point out that activity B additionally depends on activity A’s completion. When each duties A and B are full, I will obtain a notification that I am prepared to maneuver onto activity C. Keep in mind, nevertheless, that Asana doesn’t have Gantt charts, so you may’t simply see how dependencies have an effect on associated duties. Gantt charts are generally present in venture administration apps. They supply a transparent visualization of activity dependencies, and infrequently they embrace instruments for rescheduling dependent duties every time a previous activity goes awry.
One characteristic that I want Asana supplied is built-in chat, as I might like the flexibility to shortly immediate message a colleague when I’ve a small query or want clarification on a activity that is not so necessary as to warrant a remark. That mentioned, Asana presents integration with two of the most well-liked office chat apps: Slack and HipChat.
In lieu of built-in messaging, Asana supplies an area for Group Conversations. It is basically a message board on which group members can talk about points with each other that are not instantly associated to anyone explicit activity, such because the scope of future tasks, artistic concepts, or one thing procedural.
Asana is not probably the most adept instrument for graphics-intensive tasks, but it surely has improved through the years. You’ll be able to add photographs to duties, however you may’t view them or mark them up within the app itself. You do see a preview of hooked up photographs, nevertheless, and so they’re sizable.
Some office collaboration software program is a lot better at dealing with image-heavy work. Igloo Software program, for instance, handles graphics particularly nicely with a full suite of markup instruments you should use proper within the browser. And venture administration app Basecamp, despite other shortcomings, handles URLs that link to images better than most other collaboration software I’ve seen.
Kanban Features, Mobile Apps
Asana now includes a Board view, designed to give teams a way to manage work using kanban. Kanban is a method that uses a visualization of all the work that needs to be done and all the work in progress. Typically, kanban is used to limit how many tasks any one person or department has on his, her, or their plate at a given time.
Just as in Asana’s other views, you can create custom fields when in the Board view. And when adding comments to tasks that are in a kanban board, you can use an @ symbol before someone’s name, and that person will get an alert about the message. I thought @ mentions were a standard feature in most collaboration apps, but among kanban apps, they aren’t always supported. For example, Microsoft Planner, Taiga (an open-source kanban app), and Volerro don’t have them.
Asana doesn’t have every desirable kanban feature, however. It’s missing swim lanes, work-in-progress limits, and time-tracking tools. The only kanban app I’ve used that has all three of those features is KanbanFlow.
Asana has free mobile apps for Android and for iOS (both iPhone and iPad).
I appreciate that I can access Asana from anywhere I have an Internet connection, and the apps now have a good deal of offline capabilities, too. When you work offline in the mobile apps, you see gray clouds indicating that the content hasn’t synced yet, so none of your collaborators will be able to see it until your device reconnects and syncs. But if you use the app to its fullest extent, you’ll find the mobile apps sometimes feel limiting. Asana really works best on a big screen where you can see a lot of information at once. The meek size of a smartphone truly hinders the experience.
A Deck of Cards
Asana’s thoughtful design, fluid interactive elements, and generous member allotment in its free version make it a powerful task-management app for personal projects and teamwork, and an Editors’ Choice for collaboration. The paid version provides the few extra features you’d need for more complex workflow management. Asana is an excellent tool and one I highly recommend.