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Why we switched from Asana to Teamwork

teamwork(admin note: we’ve recently switched back to Asana, which you can read about here)

A few years ago we made a major switch from Nozbe to Asana for our internal task management. Asana was awesome, and I encourage you to check it out, but it couldn’t handle our needs as we continued to expand. Instead, we moved over to a few months ago and couldn’t be happier.

Why not Basecamp?

In exploring our options, we kept coming up on Basecamp. It’s a solid product, for sure, but the deal-breaker was a lack of recurring tasks. Asana handles recurring tasks very well, as does Teamwork. While people have developed some scripts to help work around that shortcoming in Basecamp, that felt too clunky for something so important.

Start Dates

One of our issues was a lack of “start dates” in Asana. Having “due dates” is certainly needed, but a lack of start does was a big hole. It doesn’t do much good to have a task come up that says “Work on that big thing” and it’s due today; that needs to pop up weeks in advance to give you some notice.

Asana’s reasoning is that big tasks should always be broken into smaller pieces, which I agree with in theory (though not always in practice). Even then, though, some of those smaller tasks may take a few days. With Teamwork, I love that I can assign a task to someone that starts on Monday but isn’t due until Thursday, so they can plan accordingly.

Project Overviews

Having a list of tasks bundled together for each project is nice, but it’s ideal to have a project overview to go with the tasks. Perhaps some notes about the project, maybe a link to their test site, etc. Teamwork handles this much better than Asana.

In fact, when we left Asana they didn’t really have this at all! In the time since we’ve left them, they’ve added this feature in. It was a sorely lacking feature and I’m glad they include it now. I still feel that Teamwork handles it better, but Asana’s solution will be adequate for many people.

Task Templates

This is another feature that Asana has added in the time since we left, but it’s still half-baked. Task Templates allow you to set up a list of tasks that you’ll reuse over and over for different projects. We have templates for things such as “site launch checklist”, “SEO audits” and things of that nature. We covered it a bit more in-depth at our Meetup last December, and you can view those slides here.


Another issue we had with Asana was dates. When we set up a project, we added dozens (if not hundreds) of tasks to it for the various steps along the way (this helps explain why task templates are so great). In Asana we would date all of the tasks according to our timeline and hope for the best. The problem was that if a project fell behind, we had to manually edit the rest of the tasks in the project. What a pain!

In Teamwork you can set up various task lists as “milestones” and apply a single date to each milestone. If things fall behind, you shift the date on one milestone and Teamwork will (optionally) push the others back by the same amount. It’s a huge time-saver and is a great way to keep us better organized.

Where Asana still wins

While we love Teamwork and have no plans to leave, there are three areas where Asana is a better solution:

  • Mobile apps: The Teamwork mobile apps are certainly solid, but the Asana mobile apps were very slick.
  • Task entry speed: Adding a task to teamwork requires that you create a project, go into it, create a task list, and then create the task. Not a big deal, but Asana was much better for jotting down quick tasks and getting to them as you had time.
  • Cost: While the cost for Teamwork is very fair (it starts at $12/mo; we’re now at $99/mo), Asana was free. You can’t beat free.

Which should you use?

That’s a tough call. If you’re looking for a great project/task management system, I think you should look closely at both Asana and Teamwork.

If you are curious to learn more about other digital tools we use, contact GreenMellen Media today!

What DO you use? Leave a comment below and tell us what you use and why you love (or hate) it. We’re always anxious to learn more, so feel free to share your thoughts.

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

View Mickey's Profile

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