As a hard-core organizer who is obsessed with her day planner, it’s not often that I find a website that satisfies all the tasks my good ol’ paper and pen can achieve. This makes group projects exceptionally stressful for me, as I can organize myself, but I can’t force others to stay organized… Until now.
The website Asana boasts about being the “easiest way to manage team projects and tasks” (SOURCE). It claims to give users all the tools to stay in sync as a group in order to reach your goals and deadlines.
I was highly skeptical. It’s never that easy. No website could ever replace my to-do lists, and calendars. However I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
After signing up, the website prompts you to create a project and add your team members by imputing their emails. This was very user friendly and quickly completed.
To fully test the website I decided to try to organize a mock film production team without speaking to them in person or over the phone.
As demonstrated in the photo above, below your project title there are four crucial tabs: List, Conversations, Calendar, Progress, and Files. Each in my opinion, are highly beneficial tools.
Asana makes it very simple to create new tasks, include a description, set a due date, and assign the task to a specific team member if necessary.
The beauty of this system is that as you input this information, it updates all the other features of the website. As you set due dates, it automatically loads into the calendar. As you assign tasks to people, it is added to their “MyTask” list. As you complete those tasks, it updates the entire project progress.
The conversations tab also encourages open communication and allows the conversations to stay on task.
You can create various threads for different topics that need to be addressed. The team can then respond to the appropriate thread in order to keep conversations organized.
An added bonus is that as files are posted in these threads, they automatically load into the “Files” tab.
All and all the website impressed me with its logical set up, and integrated tools. There were only a couple cons that I came up with.
Within the files tab, there is no way that I could find to organize the files into folders. They were organized in order of date posted, which would be fine if there are only a few files for the project, but a huge project that had many files could become a nightmare.
The other features I found were missing were a live chat feature, so you could message within the platform, and live editing features. In programs like Google Docs, teams can all access and edit the documents together in real time. Asana does not allow for group editing, or editing of any kind. Once it is posted, you’ll need to repost every update.
This site offers efficiency and clear communication. There will never be a member of the team saying, “I thought Jenny was responsible for that.” It keeps the team on the same page as a definitive blueprint.
The site however can never replace the necessity of an in-person meeting for the creative aspect of the project. Some of the best brainstorming concepts come from exploring and talking through different ideas. Without a group video chat, or calling feature, this free-thought process would be impossible.
Despite these flaws, the site is definitely an amazing team-working tool that I will be using in future projects.