Play-by-Play with Asana
Welcome back to the fall semester folks. Classes are starting to ramp up, readings are being assigned and group project teams are forming. Let’s talk about that last thing: group projects. How do you keep track of everything that has to be done inside a multi-person assignment? What about for a student organization or on-campus group?
My guess is email.
Email breaks down quickly, though, leaving you either late on your assignment or behind on things your student organization has promised to do.
This is where team management applications like Asana come in handy.
The main task list is similar to other to-do and project management apps. However you can easy set a task status, which is very different from the normal due date world of other similar tools. For instance, you can let your team know that you’re working on your part of the project by marking tasks for completion today, in a few days or for later. Using the People tab you can also keep track of what everyone is working on.
Asana makes it easy to use in multiple areas of your life using Workspaces. Workspaces are then divided into Projects, which contain task lists. It’s a bit hierarchical, but a breeze to work with.
If you get used to living in Asana for your personal tasks as well as group projects and student organizations, you’ll love their new Inbox feature. Instead of getting pesky notifications regarding completion and comments, all those emails end up in the Asana inbox- which are waiting for you the next time you log in.
Each task has the ability to host a conversation in the comments section of the task. Discuss what needs to get done, what supplies are required or when a meeting will be held. All occurring outside of the email world.
Keyboard shortcuts are also available for most of the features in Asana. Everything from creating a task to moving the task around a list to even marking a task complete can be done without the mouse. This is a welcome feature for power users or those that don’t like reaching for the mouse every few seconds.
I have mixed feelings about the Asana design aesthetic– it’s very minimalistic and utilitarian, and sometimes feels a little under-designed. This is especially so when compared to solutions like Flow or Wunderkit. That said, I’ve found Asana to be very flexible to use. I’ve seen student organizations using Asana to track everything from small group projects to larger events and for the Computer Science students out there, you could even use Asana for bug tracking.
Also, Asana features a companion iPhone and Android application, as well as mobile web access. This way, you can always access your tasks, no matter where you are.
Pricing is also set perfectly for students. For groups and organizations under 30 members, Asana is totally free. It gets a bit pricy after that, but for smaller groups of people, it’s definitely worth a shot. It can also work as a great to-do program for your personal work and tasks.
Let us know if you’re using Asana, and how well it’s working for you!
We’re going to be doing some spotlights on the different team and project management applications available out there. So stay tuned.