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Asana Review 2019

April 8, 2019

12:14 pm

Asana Logo
  • Established: 2008
  • HQ: San Francisco, CA, US
  • Large number of third-party integrations
  • Critical features not available in free version
  • Pricing for large teams is on the steep side

A popular project management software service with plenty of features, third-party integrations, and clean interface.

Asana is one of the more ‘fashionable’ choices for project management these days, and for good reason. It offers a clean modern interface, and key features such as task dependencies, customizable task fields, a timeline view for understanding how the project is progressing, and easy integration with third-party tools you’re already using.

One issue new users may come across is that Asana doesn’t appear to have time tracking built-in. Instead, it provides this with an app called Harvest, which is automatically added to every profile but is not active by default – meaning administrators or users will have to turn it on. Pricing can also be problematic, as there don’t appear to be any significant discounts for larger teams in the lower pricing tiers.

  • Excellent, modern interface design
  • Ideal for mid-sized teams that can’t afford premium tier service
  • Timeline view shows the current state of project tasks

What is Asana?

Asana is a well regarded name in project management software. The company is entering its second decade, having been founded in 2008 by Dustin Moskovitz (of Facebook fame) and Justin Rosenstein.

To differentiate itself from competitors like Jira, Asana calls itself a “work management” platform. Asana is very functional with its web app for desktop, and mobile apps for tablets and phones. It also has a large number of integrations with third-party services, including Slack, Office 365, and Google Calendar. On top of that, Asana offers an attractive and functional interface, as well as helpful timeline views for tasks that allow users to see the current state of the project at a glance.

In This Guide:

Asana Features

Asana boasts a variety of features, but what you get depends on the pricing tier you use. We’ll explain the pricing structure later, but here are the key features.

Asana Timeline

Asana TimelineTask dependencies are important, but Asana takes it one step further by offering a feature called Timeline. This is a graph showing all the tasks, their dependencies, the people responsible, and due dates.

It sounds like a lot, but Asana’s clean interface makes it relatively easy to understand. There’s also a standard calendar showing similar information, which provides a better view of the timing for each task than Timeline.

Tasks

First up is tasks, because what good is a project management system without a to-do list? Each task can be assigned to an individual with a due date.

Each task can also have dependent tasks, which means task “Y” does not start until tasks “W” and “X” are complete.

Third-party integrations

Asana offers a wide range of integrations with third-party services such as Slack, Google Calendar, and Office 365. This is helpful if you want to use Asana with tools that are already a key part of your workflow.

Asana PortfoliosIntegrating with Slack, for example, allows your team to get notifications when tasks change their status in Asana. Integrating with cloud storage such as Dropbox, meanwhile, allows teams to attach documents saved in the cloud to a task in Asana.

Portfolios

One of the key parts of Asana is being able to track what’s going with a project at any given time. The newer Portfolios feature lets users track the current state of a project in real-time.

You’ll see all the various ongoing projects organized by category, how far along each project is, its priority for the company, and any overdue tasks. It also has a quick status indicator to show whether the project is “on track,” “at risk,” or “off track.”

Asana Video Overview – See It In Action

This video from the company provides a brief overview of how Asana works, its focus on managing projects via tasks, and what the service looks like.

Asana Pricing

Asana offers four different pricing tiers, and the features you get depend on which version you choose. At the very bottom is the Basic tier, which is free and includes creating and assigning tasks, as well as list, calendar, and board view interfaces. There’s also a “Conversations” feature that lets your team communicate using threaded posts similar to what conversations look like on Facebook.

Premium charges $10 per user, per month (billed annually) and adds the Timeline feature, custom fields for task data, task dependencies, milestones, advanced search and reports, private teams and projects, and educational materials for team training.

The final option for small- to medium-sized businesses is the Business tier, for $20 per month per user. This adds the Portfolios feature, form creation for internal processes, proofing, the ability for administrators to lock customized fields, and a customized “onboarding plan” to get your team up and running. Asana also plans to add a “Resource Management” feature to this tier in the near future.

Lastly, there’s the Enterprise tier for large corporations. This doesn’t have a set price, and only offers quotes to interested parties. Enterprise includes many key features that big organizations need.

Asana allows a 30-day free trial for the Premium and Business tiers; however, to access the features, you must first supply a credit card. You will then be automatically billed after your free trial unless you cancel.

Asana Review Verdict

Asana is a very good project management solution with tons of integrations. If your project management approach includes an intense focus on task-oriented work that builds towards a larger goal, then Asana is a great choice. That said, you will have to use the Premium tier to get some key features, including task dependencies – a must for keeping larger teams organized.

The one thing that may set some people back is the price for teams over a few dozen. If you had a team of 100 people, for example, even at the Premium tier you’re looking at paying $12,000 dollars every year for team-oriented task management software.

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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has worked as a technology industry reporter and critic for more than ten years. He’s written for PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, Yahoo, Lifewire, and The Huffington Post. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, security software, and browsers.