If managing an ever-growing list of projects and tasks drives you crazy, you might need project management software. Asana can fit the bill.
We believe it’s one of the easiest project management software tools to use. But don’t let its simplicity fool you — it’s an advanced tool that can meet the needs of complicated projects.
Asana has a free version that should meet all your project management needs. If you have a large team or highly sophisticated needs, you can purchase plans starting at $9.99 per user per month.
Initially, Asana was used primarily by software companies for managing software development projects. Over time, people started using it for managing all sorts of projects. Now, it’s one of the most popular project management tools and is used for everything from software development to managing marketing campaigns or even personal task lists.
In this post, you’ll learn about its main features and how to efficiently use them.
Let’s dig in.
The Anatomy of Asana
Asana is a project management software tool, and its structure is designed to help you manage tasks and people working on them.
At the highest level is the Workspace. Think of it as a dedicated work area for a team. The team could be as big as your entire company or as small as just you. You create projects inside the Workspace.
If you’re going to use Asana to manage projects or work related to different clients or teams, you should create separate Workspaces for each of them.
Creating a new Workspace is a three step process:
- Click on your profile icon in the top right hand corner
- Select “More” in the list
- Click “Create New Workspace”
Adding Tasks to Asana Projects
After you have set up your project, it’s time to add tasks to it.
A task is the most granular element in Asana. Tasks have a title, description and due date.
Give your tasks a clear name or title that identifies what you’re supposed to do. You can add more information about the task in the description section and can assign the same task to multiple projects if applicable.
You can assign tasks to a user or leave them unassigned. If you’re using Asana to manage your own tasks, you can leave them unassigned. But if you’re using Asana for managing projects with multiple people, always assign the task to a specific user so you can track tasks assigned to each person. When you click on the name of the person, Asana will display all tasks assigned to that person.
You can create tags and assign them to tasks in your projects so you can view and track them by tags. For example, in a software development project, you can use tags such as testing, development or release to categorize tasks into these buckets.
Pro Tip: Always assign a due date to tasks so they show up in the calendar view. Asana will also notify you if you don’t complete the task by the due date.
When assigning a due date, you can also convert a task into a recurring task. For example, if you use Asana to manage digital marketing campaigns, you can create a task as a repeating task to schedule social media posts every day or week. You can define the frequency and occurrence of the task. When you mark the current occurrence complete, Asana will automatically create the next occurrence.
If your task requires multiple steps, you can create subtasks within a task and even assign those subtasks to different people. These features come in handy when your project has a task that requires different people to work on different activities. For example, to create a new web page, you may have a writer draft the content, a designer mock up the page and a developer code it. You can create one task for publishing the page and create subtasks for the writer, designer and developer within the main task.
Pro Tip: For repetitive tasks, you can duplicate the old tasks to create a new one that will automatically have the same description and subtasks.
You can add comments to a task to track its progress. Anyone who is part of the project can comment on the task. Comments help you keep everyone in the project notified about the task’s progress.
One cool feature of Asana is the ability to add followers to a task. Followers are automatically notified when someone comments or makes a change to the task. Asana uses email notifications to inform followers about the changes. You can add a follower by clicking the + button in front of followers at the bottom of the task pane, beneath the comment box.
After you’ve added tasks with due dates and assigned them to project members, it’s time to start monitoring progress.
You can access project information by clicking project name in the left-hand navigation. All tasks in the project will be displayed either as a list or as sticky notes on a board, depending on the type of project.
The default view shows a list or board of tasks. You can also view tasks on a calendar by clicking the Calendar tab in the top bar.
You can filter the tasks displayed here. Click on the View drop down to display the filter options:
From the list, select whether you want to view all tasks, completed tasks or incomplete tasks.
You can start a conversation between project members on the Conversation tab.
You can access task details by clicking on the task in the list. On the task detail view, you can update task information. You can mark it complete by clicking the Checkmark button.
The progress tab displays project progress. You can see how many tasks are there in the project and how many have been completed.
Every time someone comments on a task or marks it complete, Asana will notify the followers through email. The notifications also show up inside Asana in your Inbox. If you don’t like distraction and clutter caused by email notification, you will love the Asana Inbox. You can see everything happening in the project whenever you want.
You can create a project dashboard that displays important information about your projects in one place. It’s especially helpful if you are managing multiple projects in the same Workspace.
To create your dashboard, click the Dashboard link in the top of the left-hand menu. Asana will display a blank dashboard. Click Add Project Summary to add a project to the dashboard.
To put Asana to use for your business, go to asana.com and start managing projects.
Asana and HiveDesk: a Perfect Pair
Asana is a great project management tool for both individuals and small teams, particularly remote teams managing a steady flow of collaborative projects. HiveDesk is another key tool for remote teams that complements Asana. Using HiveDesk, you can track employee and project hours and use screenshots to document and verify both your team’s work and hours. The two are a perfect pair. Learn how HiveDesk helps remote teams here.
Have any other questions about Asana? Let us know in the comments below. We’d be happy to answer whatever we can.