Looking for better teamwork? Try Asana

Whether you are talking about your personal or professional life, it is a good idea for most people to have some way to keep track of what’s going on. In many professional environments, such as law, for example, the difference between making and missing a deadline can be the difference between having or getting fired from your job.

Asana is one of the countless tools that offer help keeping track of projects, providing for collaboration and accountability. Asana is web-based, so it works anywhere the user has access to the internet, regardless of what operating system is being used. The downside is that the mobile apps are a bit plain and merely act as wrappers for the Asana ”website.”

In its most basic form, Asana is a collaborative list-making app. Each item (or task) allows the user to enter information, such as assigned team member, due date, notes, attachments, and team members who are ‘following’ (will receive notifications about) that particular task. Although you could use Asana as a purely personal GTD (Getting Things Done) solution, its greatest strength is the way it helps people work together.

One of my favorite features is the amount of use I get out of this platform without a subscription. Now, keep in mind that Asana has all of the unwelcome ‘privacy’ conditions that you find with every other platform. They have permission to use your data, just like Slack and countless other platforms. So, it’s not exactly accurate to say that these platforms are ‘free’ for those who don’t subscribe. The privacy argument, however, is for another day. For now, it’s worth noting that Asana gives you a lot without you having to give them any money.

Without a subscription, up to fifteen people can collaborate in an Asana workspace. Each workspace can have an unlimited number of projects and each project can be comprised of an unlimited number of tasks. Also, tasks can have sub-tasks, which allows users and teams to really drill down on the minutiae of what it takes to move the project forward. Teams can pick and choose who gets updates about individual tasks so distractions are limited. As progress moves forward on a particular task, each user (not just the assigned team member) can make time and date-stamped notes so there is continuous accountability.

There is also an API which allows for integration with apps that support Asana (including GSuite). Premium subscribers get access to more team members, customizable templates, fields and views. But I have found that I don’t really crave these bells and whistles. It is great that Instead of just giving you a taste of the basic product, ‘free’ Asana is everything you need for a small team. As mentioned above, the mobile experience is not compelling, but it is enough to keep you apprised of what’s going on while you’re on the go.

Asana gives a ton of function without the need for a subscription. Aside from the boring mobile apps, the user interface is clean, functional and appealing. If you have a small team that needs to keep track of a lot of work, Asana is definitely worth a try.