Tips to manage your team with Asana

Originally posted on Ideas by Crema - Medium May 16, 2016

Amongst the vast amounts of productivity apps for businesses, Asana has enabled us, at Crema, to do our best work. Asana has provided us with an all-in-one location for:

  • Task management
  • Communication (internal and external)
  • Project management
  • Project status updates
  • Bug tracking
  • Custom reporting

Taken individually, the above functions of Asana get the job done. However, the real power of Asana is when we work with all of these items together. Asana creates a clear, constant, and accountable asynchronous stream of collaboration amongst our internal and external (client) team members.

In our fast-moving world, it’s key that we stay on top of our processes managed within Asana. Revisiting our processes often, creating new ones, or destroying ones with minimal return is a trait of our team that has enabled us to pump out many great product experiences. Asana helps us be flexible, in that, at the end of the day, its core functionality is a list of text. All of the functionality and polish with Asana that our team loves is what gives Asana the power to do so much with that text.

How we use Asana

While our Asana usage is consistently evolving, we’ve stayed rather consistent with the following standard Asana “projects,” for each client project:

Client Comms

  • This is our clients’ primary project. Our team checks this project everyday and will provide an answer and/or next step to our client as soon as possible. Additionally, our project team will ask questions of our client and their team in this space. An example would be making a request for a design asset.
  • While we invite client participation in all Asana projects, we know our clients are busy building or running businesses. We want to make sure collaboration is as simple and efficient as possible.

Timeline

  • Our high-level plan of the project, for understanding what can be expected in both the short and long term goes here. We typically run our projects in an agile fashion, therefore, this project will typically track fixed business milestones that relate to the project plan.
  • We generally pipe this project into Instagantt, an excellent gantt chart service, based on Asana.

Priorities

All of our upcoming tasks to be worked on, including user stories, bug fixes, and more are logged here. This project allows us to collaborate regularly with our clients to ensure the right work is being prioritized. The sections we use in this project are:

  • Current: Tasks currently active and being worked on.
  • Up Next: Tasks fully documented and estimated. These are ready to be moved into “Current.”
  • To Finalize: Tasks that are agreed upon to be worked on soon. These need to be fully documented and estimated before moving into “Up Next.”
  • Later: Tasks that are recently identified and/or need to be expanded, detailed, and validated before moving into “To Finalize.”

QA

  • Tasks that are ready for QA, or quality assurance, will be logged here. As each task is validated, they will be checked off, as applicable. For the tasks that didn’t pass, a subtask will be created under the “Tasks” header, within the task, and referenced on the Priorities project under the “To-Finalize” header.

On Ice

  • Tasks that we have reviewed with our clients but are not deemed useful for consideration at this time, are logged here.

Resources

  • Our project reference material and notes archived here.

Each client gets their own “Team,” a compartmentalized list of Asana projects. This empowers us to work transparently with our clients and guide effective collaboration amongst all members of the project team.

Asana and the Future of Collaboration

Our team at Crema is results driven. We believe our best work is done when we are working towards a well-defined vision. As such, collaborating effectively and efficiently is imperative to the success of each project we partner with our clients on.

Collaborating in this way is empowered by the modern collaboration tools we use, including Slack, Google Docs and Sheets, Dropbox, InVision, Lucidchart, and more. At the core of all of these tools Asana. Extensible, expandable, and reliable, Asana helps us be better.

As our work evolves, we hope you will choose to join us in learning new ways to collaborate better. We understand collaboration is deeply important to any of our client partners who decide to work with our team and would love for the opportunity to evolve with you. Let’s talk.