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Asana review

A flexible tool with a focus on collaboration

Asana
(Image: © Asana)

Our Verdict

Asana is an extremely flexible task management and collaboration tool. Built-in project management features are lacking, but that’s solved thanks to a huge range of app integrations.

For

  • Intuitive task displays with archiving function
  • Timeline view offers flexible Gantt charts
  • Workload tool helps managers balance tasks across teams

Against

  • Many project management features require app integration
  • Open-ended design makes initial setup difficult

Asana is less a project management app than a productivity and collaboration suite. It lacks built-in time tracking and advanced project timelines, both of which are essential for keeping long-term projects on deadline and properly billed. But, Asana excels at task management, with a highly intuitive and flexible interface that makes it easy to work within teams of any size. The platform’s suite of tools includes task assignment, workload management, and plenty of app integrations.

Plans and Pricing

Asana is free for teams of up to 15 users, with only minor limitations. There are no limits on the number of tasks you can create or on file attachments for tasks. The main restrictions for free users are that you don’t get access to the Timeline view or custom dashboards.

A paid Premium plan costs $10.99 per user per month (billed annually). This plan adds not only the Timeline viewer and custom dashboards, but also custom fields, forms, milestones, and an admin control panel for managers.

If you want automated workflows, you’ll need a Premium plan for $24.99 per user per month (billed annually). This plan also includes Adobe Creative Cloud integration, proofing tools, and workload management.

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(Image credit: Asana)

Features

Asana has a lot to offer, particularly in the realm of task management. The platform puts an emphasis on collaboration and productivity, while project management tools take a bit of a backseat.

What really sets Asana apart from other project management software is how flexible it is. You can use Asana for keeping track of both ongoing work and long-term projects, as well as coordinating teams and distributing workloads across employees. The wide range of integrations only add to the freedom you have to bend this platform to your company’s needs.

Tasks

Tasks are at the heart of Asana—at the end of the day, the platform is essentially designed to help managers assign tasks and employees to track work to be done.

Tasks can be shown in a list format or on a kanban board, depending on users’ preferences. Each task can have sub-tasks, attachments, due dates, assigned team members, and other custom fields. Helpfully, comment threads allow everyone involved in a specific task to communicate over Asana.

Everything, including the comments discussion, is archived when a task is marked as completed. So, there’s a searchable work history for every project, which can be a major help for employee reviews and billing.

Timeline and Portfolios

Asana lacks a lot of the advanced project tracking features you’d expect in true project management software. But, the platform does have a few tools for keeping tabs on long-term projects.

The first of these is the Timeline view. This is essentially a Gantt chart that’s shared among all team members on a project and updated in real-time. It’s easy to move items around, set due dates, and view sub-tasks, so it integrates very well with the platform’s existing task controls.

The second feature Asana offers for project management is a portfolio view. This display lets managers see which projects they’re responsible for, monitor progress and task updates, and set priority levels to drive workload balancing.

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(Image credit: Asana )

Workload

Asana’s workload management tool allows managers a straightforward window into how tasks are distributed across team members. Workload can be scored by task count, hours spent, points, or another custom value to quickly see which employees have too much on their plate and which have too little.

Even better, the workload tool lets managers redistribute work with a drag-and-drop interface. An expandable timeline allows planning work out into the future, which means that you can take care of workload problems before they start to affect deadlines.

App Integrations

Asana doesn’t have a lot of extremely useful features built in, including live chat, time tracking, and document editing. However, it achieves a huge range of functionality through app integrations.

Most notably, Asana works seamlessly with Harvest for time tracking, Slack and Microsoft Teams for team chat, and Zapier for advanced integrations. The software also works with most cloud storage sites, Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, and more than 1,000 other platforms.

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(Image credit: Asana )

Interface and In Use

Asana’s interface is clean, intuitive, and sleek. Unlike other project management platforms, it doesn’t overwhelm you with drop-down menus and tools. Instead, Asana keeps things relatively simple and open-ended.

That said, the blank slate nature of Asana can be a challenge at first. Managers will want to spend some time figuring out what dashboard widgets and menu items work for their team. You can take advantage of Asana’s free plan to try out the software with a small group to see what structure works best.

Alternatively, Asana does offer a handful of project templates that can help your team get started. Templates cover a wide range of business applications, from marketing to IT to product design. When you first start out with Asana, these templates can help get your team off the ground and you can build on them later.

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(Image credit: Asana )

Support

Asana has plenty of online support in case you run into trouble. The platform offers video trainings and webinars through Asana Academy, as well as numerous use case examples and a developer’s guide. There’s also a community forum where you can get answers from other Asana users.

However, Asana doesn’t make it easy to get in touch with a customer support team directly. Your best shot is to contact a sales rep and hope to get transferred to a customer service specialist.

The Competition

Asana isn’t full-blown project management software, although it has most of the tools and integrations you need to keep projects on track. However, Zoho Projects offers a more robust suite of tools at a similar price point. It’s neither quite as easy to use as Asana nor as flexible, but time tracking, Gantt charts, and workload management are all built into Zoho Projects.

If you just need a task management solution and prefer kanban cards over a list view, Trello is worth a look. Its pricing is similar to Asana’s, and Trello is arguably easier to use since it’s less open-ended.

Final Verdict

Asana is an extremely versatile platform for work and project management. While it doesn’t include tools like time tracking, live chat, and document editing natively, the huge number of app integrations ensures that you can add these features. At the same time, Asana offers a very customizable platform for assigning and tracking tasks and ensuring that team members have a balanced workload.