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Moving back to Asana

asanaEarlier this year, we switched away from Asana for our daily tasks over to Teamwork.com. Teamwork is an awesome platform, but we’ve ultimately decided to move back to Asana. The recent Asana redesign is beautiful, but more importantly it solved some of the issues we had previously and got us to look closely at it once again. Below are some reasons why we switched back to Asana, but also some reasons that kept us leaning toward Teamwork.

It really comes down to a simple trade-off between the two; Teamwork is much deeper and more powerful, while Asana is easier to use.

Bugs

First off, I have to hand it to both programs for working as they say they should. We’ve all used software before that sounded great, but didn’t quite work the way it says it would. That’s not the case here — both have been virtually completely bug-free in our experience and have been a pleasure to use.

“What am I doing today?”

Both systems have a great “what do I need to work on today” screen, but Asana’s is far better and this is the main reason we switched back. Teamwork’s main screen performed as expected, but was cumbersome. A single task (inside of a task list, inside of a project, inside of a client) would take up quite a lot of space on the screen. Asana drops them into a simple list, while giving you the additional info you need inline. Even better, Asana allows you to drag items on your main screen around to help set your own agenda for the day, while Teamwork keeps them locked in place.

Adding tasks

Going further on the previous item, it’s much easier to add tasks in Asana. You can literally hit [Tab][Q] (for “Quick” task) and have a new task in seconds. In Teamwork each task must be in a task list, which must be in a project, which must have a client. It’s logical and certainly makes sense, but it can be frustrating to create all of those things just to add a task.

As a consequence of the above items, a few of us were starting to keep “side lists” (myself in Google Keep, others in Wunderlist) so we’d have a quick view of our day. While there’s nothing wrong with doing that, per se, it was a serious indictment that Teamwork was simply too cumbersome when it came time to get to work.

Pricing

While both are affordable (within the context of an essential tool that you use every day), Asana is certainly cheaper. Teamwork was costing us $99/mo, while Asana is free (or up to $25/mo if we pay for premium features). This wasn’t a big factor for us, as we’ll happily pay $3/day for a great tool, but it’s certainly a nice bonus.

Teamwork wins the rest

If you dig into the rest of our reasons, most of them lean toward Teamwork. However, Asana is now good enough for most of them, and the daily use of Asana is so much better that it was worth switching. Here are a few items in particular:

  • Start dates: This was the one that really caused us to pause before switching. Teamwork has a “start date” that can be assigned to tasks, while Asana doesn’t (and has no plans to add one). There are some decent workarounds in Asana, but it’s a shame they don’t add proper implementation.
  • Recurring tasks: Teamwork is a bit better here (you can add a “stop after x date”), but they’re both about the same (and certainly better than Basecamp, which still doesn’t have them at all).
  • Task templates: Teamwork is stronger here as well, though again Asana is good enough.
  • Desktop app: Neither platform has a true desktop app, which is unfortunate.
  • Mobile: The Teamwork mobile app does the job, but is cumbersome. Asana’s app is quick and lightweight, and is something I might actually use from time to time.
  • Teamwork Desk: We’ve begun using Teamwork Desk with a lot of our clients (they can still simply email us, but we can deal with it in an organized fashion). Will things be more difficult now that we’re leaving Teamwork? Not really. Desk is an awesome solution, but didn’t integrate that closely with Teamwork Projects. In addition 99% of the requests we get via desk are dealt with immediately. For the few that aren’t, the Chrome extension for Asana will make it easy to add them to our task lists, so continuing to use Teamwork Desk won’t be a problem.
  • Blue dot / notifications: When someone assigns you a task in Asana, it shows up on your home screen in a “new tasks” section with a blue dot next to you (which you can click to deal with the task). I forgot how much I missed this! With Teamwork you had to choose to email your coworkers when you assigned them a new task so they wouldn’t miss it. Teamwork made it easy to do, but it led to a lot of unnecessary emails. The blue dot is awesome.
  • Comments and conversations: Both platforms allow for easy comments and conversation, but the implementation in Asana is awesome. We still use Slack for much of our internal communication, but the integrated comments in Asana are very useful. The video below shows off how that works.

To learn more, I strongly recommend you check out this 30 minute “product tour” video from Asana. Not only does it show you the basics, but you’ll pick up some nice tips and tricks along the way.

What is your favorite task management system these days? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. If you want to learn more about Asana or other digital marketing tools, contact GreenMellen Media today!

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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