Asana: Making Time for Effective Work-Time

Dustin Moskovitz, Co-founder & CEO There’s work, and then the work that goes into doing a ‘work’; and a lot of workers spend more time on the latter. Just because an employee is at work doesn't mean they are getting work done completely. Research reports state that employees are wasting more than 60 percent of their time drowning in trivial emails, stuck in dead-end meetings, and constant interruptions. Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook realized this a few years after his startup (then) grew to the point where the majority of his day was spent on emails, status updates, and meetings. Having experienced the fact that every employee including himself wasted hours coordinating their work in meetings, and chat rather than doing their work. Realizing these challenges, Moskovitz thought there had to be a better way; and in Silicon Valley fashion, the ultimate better way to do anything is to develop an application. In association with Justin Rosenstein, Moskovitz developed a task-management tool, what they call ‘Tasks,’ for the engineering department of Facebook. The tools capability and ease of use made it a prominent player across employees and quickly expanded to the rest of the company. Noticing the growing market opportunities for an advanced team management solution, Moskovitz and Rosenstein left Facebook in 2008 to lay the foundation of Asana. Instead of building a tool useful for a few thousand Facebook employees, the partners planned to hire a new team to develop the device for widespread use across the globe.

Asana is a software-as-a-service designed to improve work management and deliver effective team collaboration. Rather than working with a number of software, Asana helps teams manage projects and tasks within a single tool. With Asana, teams can create projects, assign work to teammates, specify deadlines, and communicate about tasks directly within the SaaS-based solution. It also includes reporting tools, calendars, file attachments, and more.

Changing How Teams Work Together

Today, Asana, as their product and company are both known, has gone beyond the functionality of the original Tasks tool to become a kind of innovative virtual conference room for teams. The solution acts as a single point to coordinate tasks, due dates, comments, and priorities. While the Portfolio feature gives workers insight into how their daily tasks chock up to company-wide goals, the Workload capability helps managers connect work to different team members’ skills and schedules. The solution allows seamless visualization the work and sees where everything stands. With Asana, employees and managers can move work through multiple stages quickly, and efficiently.
The company’s leadership believes that coordination should be as effortless between people as it is between the human brains and bodies—people should be appreciated, and love what they do. “At Asana, the team is building a place where everything from the most immediate details to the big picture is organized. Each person knows what they should be doing and why. This clarity, transparency, and focus enable teams to collaborate with less friction and produce great results,” notes Moskovitz, Co-founder & CEO, Asana.


The clarity, transparency, and focus that Asana offers enable teams to collaborate with less friction and produce great results

Asana’s Organizations feature set acts allows companies of all sizes to use reporting tools to help teams monitor project progress, and IT admin tools, while offering calendar view for projects and tasks, its native iOS app, and Dashboards. The solution comes with added administrator features including member management, team management, and password and security controls. The status updates feature allows teams to communicate the state of a project to stakeholders, and task dependencies. Whereas, the custom fields is an interface and architecture that will let organizations tailor Asana’s information management to cover a variety of structured data points. Meanwhile, the Boards in the application enable teams to organize and visualize their projects in columns. The company also offers pre-made project templates.

Asana released its API to third-party developers, providing a means to read information in Asana programmatically, input information into Asana, and create automation within the application. This allows customers as well as developers to build on the Asana platform and customize it to their unique work requirements. Common use cases include automating repetitive tasks, reporting on tasks and projects, chaining processes, and syncing with databases or other tools. The company also launched a new interactive feature called Timeline, which business can use to visualize and map out their projects.

The Asana API is a RESTful interface that enables teams to update and access data on the platform. The solution also delivers predictable URLs for accessing resources, while using a built-in HTTP feature to receive commands and responses, making it easy to communicate with a wide variety of environments, from browser plug-ins to native applications to command-line utilities.
The solution also has integrations with other SaaS tools, including Gmail, Slack, Microsoft Outlook, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Zapier, IFTTT, Wufoo, JotForm, Okta, OneLogin, Harvest, Instagantt, and Zendesk. The advanced integration capabilities make it seamless to work in any business environment with Asana. They also added a new CSV importer recently so that teams could upload their image data into the app faster.

The Automated Manager

When the partners first developed Tasks, they had few intentions beyond creating a tool to help Facebook’s teams manage their work and cut down on meetings. But later, their invention laid the groundwork for a bonafide company that, a decade later, is valued at $900 million. Leading organizations such as AB-InBev, Airbnb, Disney, KLM Air France, NASA, Overstock.com, Uber, Viessmann Group, Vox Media, and Zalando harness the potential of Asana to manage everything from marketing campaigns to product launches to company goals. An instance that reveals Asana’s value proposition is when Autodesk harnessed the potential of Asana for managing their editorial calendar. Line// Shape//Space is Autodesk’s premier media channel. It’s a website dedicated to telling the future of making things. Right now the company publishes 3 to 4 times a week and so constantly moving and things happening all the time. Before using Asana, the biggest challenge was communication and it was really hard to figure out anything. With Asana, any communication or any story, everything is available within Task, without missing even an email. Whether its SEO person, proofreader, editor, Asana really helps everyone stay on task and understand what they do and when. Asana is enabling to formalize the production cycle and set the stage for real scaling of the company’s editorial operations which they wouldn’t be able to do without a tool like Asana.



The Era of Remote Work

Over the years, Asana has grown as one of the most innovative platforms that help teams organize and manage all of their work, from small projects to strategic initiatives. Today, the company’s mission is to help employees thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly. The company has more than 50,000 paying organizations and millions of users across 195 countries. In the long run, Asana’s team will focus on improving the capabilities of the software to offer enhanced project management experience to its customers. “For remote work to work well, first of all, we need video conferencing that works reliably but also something that connotes more emotion as it may be a weird focus area for the CEO of an enterprise software company. These new tools are about helping teams find clarity about what’s important,” concludes Moskovitz.

Company
Asana

Headquarters
San Francisco, CA

Management
Dustin Moskovitz, Co-founder & CEO

Description
A web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work