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Reviews and expert opinion Asana

Andrés Gánem Andrés Gánem Project Manager @WebsitePlanet

Asana has become increasingly popular over the last few years – and for good reason. Its communication tools and fun interface make it extremely enjoyable to use, and the free plan is great for personal organization.

However, Asana is missing a lot of advanced features compared to other similarly priced tools, and this can be a problem for larger projects.

Overview

Outstanding Collaboration, Lackluster Organization

asana-landing-page
Asana offers a dynamic environment for team collaboration

Asana is an immensely popular software for remote work: It’s responsive, user-friendly, and professional. Does that mean it’s perfect? Not exactly.

After thorough testing, I can say that Asana has great tools for planning and communication. But unfortunately, it falls short when you compare it to other project management software we tested in 2022. Especially when other apps offer more advanced features, for significantly cheaper.

Asana has a forever-free plan, and you get a 30-day free trial on both its premium plans. The software is available in English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, and several other languages.

So, should you give Asana a go, or look elsewhere? Let’s find out.

4.0

Features

Good Tools for Basic Task Management

Most project management software falls somewhere on a spectrum. On one side, you have tools like monday.com, which focuses on ease-of-use and offers a set of great features for both managers and their teams. On the other side, you have software like Scoro, which offers a ridiculous amount of features with a “learn by doing” attitude.

Asana is something like monday.com, but with fewer tools. The feature set is enough to manage simple projects and a little more. But not enough to manage all of your work on a simple platform.

That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Though it lacks some things I would’ve liked to see (such as time-tracking or expense management), Asana provides just enough features to keep your project organized, and gives you the freedom to work however you want.

Keep Track of Basic Projects

Projects in Asana are more than just a collection of tasks. Every project includes an in-depth overview of its key elements, like project status, collaborators, and how you’ll work. You can even create a “project brief,” which includes all the relevant information a new member might need to catch up.

You can set your project’s status to “On track,” “At risk,” or “Off track,” and whenever the status changes, post a new project update. Asana lets you create a detailed record of the current status of a project and complement it with data-driven widgets.

asana-project-overview
Transparency in a project helps everyone do their best work

This information is always available to your team members, which is fantastic. When you set up clear updates, you can be sure that your team will work in sync and prevent potential mistakes.

View Planned Work In Different Ways

Asana offers pretty much every view you could need to manage your tasks. The list view gives you a straightforward summary of each task and its most relevant information. If you want, you can create custom fields and add them as new columns. You can also choose from different “column” presets such as “effort” or “priority.”

asana-timeline-view
The timeline lets you visualize the “flow” of your project

If you prefer to work with visuals, the board view displays each task as notes on a board. Alternatively, the timeline helps you understand how each of your tasks flow into each other. Finally, the calendar view is great for deciding the best way to organize your time.

Automate Simple Repetitive Tasks

A rule is an automatic action that Asana follows based on a trigger. For example, you can use rules to re-assign a task whenever the status changes. The rules interface is mostly visual, making it easy to manage without being an expert in conditional logic.

asana-rule-creation
The rule interface is simple and pretty, but not very customizable

I wouldn’t say this is the best tool for automation. Blueprints in Zoho Projects, for example, are way easier to handle and far more powerful. Still, Asana’s rules can make your work more efficient and a lot less tedious.

Keep Track of the Bigger Picture

When working on a project, it’s easy to get obsessed with the end result and forget what you’re actually trying to achieve. Asana’s “Goals” feature keeps you from losing track of the bigger picture.

Think of goals as super-sized tasks. You can assign goals to a member, set time frames, and attach custom information. When you create a goal, you can add custom progress metrics. And for every update, you can create a new report, just like with projects.

It’s not the most complex feature in the world, but it can do wonders for steering a team in the right direction.

4.8

Ease of use

Asana Is Intuitive, but Not Perfect

Thanks to Asana’s attractive and responsive interface, I never felt intimidated while creating my first project. Navigation is easy, and there are plenty of resources to help you get to know the ropes of the app. It only took me a couple of minutes to create my first project with Asana.

There is some room for improvement, though. Some features are hard to find and there are a couple of small (but important) gaps in the guide.

Getting Started with Asana

To start using Asana, click the “get started” button and enter your email. After verifying your email, enter your name and set up a password.

Asana will ask you a couple of questions about whether you’re the first member of your team to use it, the kind of work you do, and the size of your team. It will then create your first project and populate it with some basic information.

asana-getting-started
Asana’s “get started” page will help you create your very first project

You can experiment with the project settings, take a tour through the guide, or create a new project from scratch. I recommend creating a new project using the “Asana Basics Training” template to get fully familiarized.

Learn To Use Asana at Your Own Pace

If you ever run into trouble, it’s incredibly easy to access Asana’s support resources. You just have to click on “help & getting started” at the bottom of the app. There, you can access video tutorials, written guides, and even book live webinars.

asana-help-page
Asana offers plenty of resources to learn at your own pace

Basic Templates for All Kinds of Work

Creating a project from scratch can always be a little intimidating. That’s why Asana offers 65 pre-made project templates, divided into 10 categories. Each includes a couple of basic tasks with detailed information about its use.

Unlike monday.com’s or Smartsheet’s templates, they’re a little basic to use right away. But they are a great starting point for creating something tailored to you and your team. Once you’re satisfied with the result, save it as a custom template to use as many times as you want.

Find Specific Information in Just a Few Clicks

If you deal with several teams with different goals, you’ll probably have to sort through a lot of information. The “advanced search” tool lets you find exactly the information you need with ease. All you need to do is click on “search” then “advanced search” and define your parameters.

5.0

Collaboration Tools

Plenty of Ways To Keep in Touch with Your Team

Asana’s collaboration tools are some of the best I’ve seen. In fact, if I were to recommend Asana for anything, it would be as a central hub to manage a team’s communication. Asana makes getting in touch with team members an efficient and enjoyable experience.

Team Dashboard & Communication

If you’re on any of Asana’s premium plans, you can create as many teams as you want. For each team, you get a team overview and a shared calendar.

If a non-manager member of your team feels like a task is missing, they can submit new tasks for approval. You can either accept, reject, or request changes. This approval process is an excellent way to encourage collaboration without losing control of your project.

The communication features take the crown, though. You can contact individual users or teams through direct messaging or @ tagging them under any comment. Besides that, Asana includes small details that make communication enjoyable, like the option to like comments and send little stickers called “appreciations.”

Little things like these keep the workspace feeling fun and improve team morale.

asana-comments
Expect great things from your team members, and reward them when they succeed.

File Sharing

Asana gives you unlimited storage on any plan with a 100 MB limit to each file. You can attach a file under any comment, and it’ll automatically get added to the “files” tab in your project. If your team does visual work, you can add feedback to image files.

Every comment that you add in feedback creates a new task automatically.

Mobile App

The mobile app is a great resource for non-managers. Notifications arrive almost instantly, and you can comment with the same ease as the desktop app. It could be better at organizing tasks within a project, especially in the timeline view, but it helps keep the communication going at all times.

3.7

Support

Support Was Okay, But Hard To Reach

It can be a little tricky to contact Asana’s support. When you go to the landing page, you’ll see a chat bubble in the lower right corner. If you click on the bubble, you’ll see a message that says “welcome to Asana,” and not much beyond that.

I sent a message saying that I had some questions about the software. The chatbot told me to leave my email and that someone would get in touch with me soon. No one did.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to contact support, but it is complicated. I had to go to the resource tab and click support, which took me to a different page. Here, you’ll see another chat bubble with a little more information. The bot will try to find an answer to your question in the guide, and only after that will you get the “contact support” option.

asana-support
This response would’ve been better several hours and a headache sooner.

The actual response arrived in my email about 10 hours later. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t the most in-depth response either. While support answered my questions, I felt like the response wasn’t worth the wait.

3.5

Pricing

Similar Prices for Fewer Features

Out of all the project management software I’ve tested, Asana’s free plan is by far the best one. With the free plan, you get access to every communication feature, an unlimited number of teams of up to 15 people, and three out of four available views. If you’re looking for a personal organization software or a communications hub, the free plan passes with flying colors.

Unfortunately, the tools for proper project management are only available in the paid plans, which aren’t that great.

The Premium plan adds a timeline view with task dependencies, custom templates, and guest users. At $11.00, Asana’s Premium plan costs roughly the same as Zoho Project’s Enterprise or Teamwork’s Deliver, both of which offer many, many more features.

The same goes for Business, which costs $25.00. That’s the same price as Smartsheet’s namesake. The difference is that Smartsheet is one of the most comprehensive software I’ve reviewed and Asana… isn’t.

In a vacuum, Asana’s prices would be far from terrible. But when you compare them to other, similarly-priced software, they become hard to justify. Even if Asana has the cutest “task complete” unicorn.

That said, you don’t need to take my word for it. If you feel like testing it yourself, Asana offers a 30-day free trial for both its premium plans.

Comparison

How does Asana match up to the competition?

monday.comCompare4.8Compare
SmartsheetCompare4.7Compare
AsanaCompare4.2Compare
HubSpotCompare4.1Compare

Asana REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

Asana has some impressive points in its favor. The collaboration tools are great for keeping your team on the same page, it’s easy to use, the UI is dynamic, and it has an amazing free plan.

However, Asana won’t cut it if you need more than just assigning tasks and keeping in touch. For more powerful project management software, monday.com offers twice the features on its pro plan – for a fraction of the price.

FAQ

Is Asana free?Yes, Asana offers a completely free plan. The free plan is great for personal organization, but it lacks some of the more advanced features for project management. For instance, you won’t have access to task dependencies, guest users, or custom project templates.Does Asana have a desktop app?It does. The desktop version is an excellent alternative if you have trouble with an unstable or slow internet connection. But other than that, there isn’t any significant reason for using it over the browser one.Is Asana better than Trello?That comes down to personal preference. Trello is a very simplified organizational tool for teams that prefer Kanban boards. The interface is a little more visual, but it lacks advanced features. Asana is a more complete project management software with extensive features. So as far as I’m concerned, Asana gets the win. If you’re unsure what the best project management tool is for you, check our review of the best project management software for 2022.Can you export from Asana to Excel?Yes. Simply go to a project, click on the “project actions” tab, and export the CSV file. Now, all you need to do is open the CSV using Excel.

Andrés Gánem Andrés Gánem
Andrés Gánem is a Colorado-born, Mexico-City-raised freelance writer and content creator. He’s been doing that for a while. When he’s not writing, he should be, but you can find him reading adventure novels, playing video games, or drinking frankly unhealthy amounts of coffee. If you see him, tell him to put down that coffee. He’s shaky enough as it is.

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