At WHYPAY? we believe that effective business tools shouldn’t cost the Earth, which is why we set out to make the best free conferencing service out there. This got us thinking: if you can get conference calls for no cost, what other great services can you get for free? That’s why we’ve scoured the web to find the best free services to help your business and to bring them to you weekly.
This week we look at a tool to help improve how you track work and come together as a team with Asana.
A digital future for task management
Every company needs a way to manage its projects and optimise its work. Throughout the years, there have been many ways of doing this, from cork board duty rotas to daily team briefings. While these methods are tried and tested, they can be quite time consuming and also limited in their application.
As electronic communication and connectivity has progressed, so have the ways in which people collaborate on projects. Using email, online chat and by sharing files, companies suddenly had much more scope for group working. Seeing the limitations of traditional workflow solutions and the benefits of online working, dedicated digital workflow tools were a natural progression. One of the most widely recognised of these is Asana.
Created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and engineer Justin Rosenstein in 2008, Asana came out of beta in 2011. The company has always lived by the mission statement, “help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly” and its core values strive towards improving the workplace, not just the business.
Creating the teamwork that makes the dream work
The primary purpose of Asana is to be a task and project management tool. Although it can be a benefit for a single user, Asana really comes into its own when employed by a team. Tasks can be created, split up into smaller subtasks and then each element assigned to a co-worker. This allows the entire team to see who is responsible for each individual element of a task as well as the progress of the project as a whole.
While billed as being simple but efficient, Asana also comes with a few additional extras. For example, there is an integrated calendar which gives an important view of due dates and times for tasks. Attachments can be added in to ensure important documents are available for anyone working on the project. Feedback options that work in a similar way to Facebook or Twitter “likes” are also available.
Communication between individuals and teams is a cornerstone of the Asana offering. Commenting options are available at nearly every level, from each individual sub task all the way up to covering an entire project. By fully utilising this function, a team can share information and opinions without the potential of the confusion that mass email conversations can lead to. By having specific conversations on each task and level you will also get less “conversation clutter” than if you just had one thread.
Complete workflow management in your pocket
Being a cloud based platform, Asana allows for multiple users to work on each task at the same time, all the while keeping everyone up to date. This can be essential for projects that have a large team working on them. Another cloud based benefit is that the information can be accessed from the vast majority of platforms that have internet access. Since these include Android and iOS, you will be able to work on Asana wherever you have a decent internet connection.
As a tool designed to improve teamwork Asana comes ready built with a number of different team management options. The majority of these revolve around the ability to assign people to specific tasks and groups. With this feature, the entire team will be able to keep track of who is working on different tasks. It is then possible to choose which tasks or projects you get updates for in your inbox. Asana also has you covered if you have external agents working with you. Assigning them as guests allows them access to some features while restricting others. Perfect for allowing seamless cooperation with contractors without the risk of them affecting anything else.
Since there will be a significant amount of information flowing through Asana, it’s important that you are able to view what you need, and how you need it to be displayed. As well as the standard inbox and calendar views, you can set up your own customisable dashboard. Using this will give you an instant view of the progress of all projects you are involved or interested in. In addition, there are also simple pages detailing your tasks, a dedicated message inbox and a dedicated calendar. All these add to a site that’s easy to navigate yet full of the information you need.
Able to work and grow with your business
It’s likely that your company would already have a number of applications that it already uses for its day to day work; Asana has been designed to integrate with a number of these to further increase the efficiency of your work place. A good deal of the applications covered in our freemium series of blogs are already integrated, including Dropbox, Mailchimp and Evernote.
For startups and small businesses of up to 15 users, Asana state they will always be free. This gives you access to a great deal of the features available for unlimited tasks, projects and conversations. As your company grows, you can upgrade to the premium version. By paying a small fee you can give access to more users and unlock extra features based around team and content management. Asana can be a great boon to your business, no matter its size; they already count larger, well known companies such as Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest amongst their clients.
While Asana is a great tool for keeping your staff in the loop on all of your projects, there are still times you need to get all of your team together. Using WHYPAY?, the genuinely free conference calling service, you can get all of your team together no matter where they are.