Get Organized: Using Asana in Business [PCMag YouTube channel, Febr 24, 2014]
Steven Sinofsky, former head of Microsoft Office and (later) Windows at Microsoft:
We’ve all seen examples of the collaborative process playing out poorly by using email. There’s too much email and no ability to track and manage the overall work using the tool. Despite calls to ban the process, what is really needed is a new tool. So Asana is one of many companies working to build tools that are better suited to the work than one we currently all collectively seem to complain about.
in Don’t ban email—change how you work! [Learning by Shipping, Jan 31, 2014]
Asana is a simple example of an easy-to-use and modern tool that decreases (to zero) email flow, allows for everyone to contribute and align on what needs to be done, and to have a global view of what is left to do.
in You’re doing it wrong [Learning by Shipping, April 10, 2014] and Shipping is a Feature: Some Guiding Principles for People That Build Things [Learning by Shipping, April 17, 2014]
Making e-mail communication easier [Fox Business Video]
May. 06, 2014 – 3:22 – Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein weighs in on his new email business.
How To Collaborate Effectively With Asana [Forbes YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
Dustin Moskovitz: How Asana Gets Work Done [Forbes YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
Do Great Things: Keynote by Justin Rosenstein of Asana | Disrupt NY 2014 [TechCrunch YouTube channel, May 5, 2014]
Asana’s Justin Rosenstein: “I Flew Coach Here.” | Disrupt NY 2014 [TechCrunch YouTube channel, May 5, 2014]
How we use Asana [asana blog, Oct 9, 2013]
We love to push the boundaries of what Asana can do. From creating meeting agendas to tracking bugs to maintaining snacks in the refrigerator, the Asana product is (unsurprisingly) integral to everything we do at Asana. We find many customers are also pushing the boundaries of Asana to fit their teams’ needs and processes. Since Asana was created to be flexible and powerful enough for every team, nothing makes us more excited than hearing about these unique use cases.
Recently, we invited some of our Bay Area-based customers to our San Francisco HQ to share best practices with one another and hear from our cofounder Justin Rosenstein about the ways we use Asana at Asana. We’re excited to pass on this knowledge through some video highlights from the event. You can watch the entire video here: The Asana Way to Coordinate Ambitious Projects with Less Effort
Capture steps in a Project
“The first thing we always do is create a Project that names what we’re trying to accomplish. Then we’ll get together as a team and think of, ‘What is every single thing we need to accomplish between now and the completion of that Project?’ Over the course of the Project, all of the Tasks end up getting assigned.”
“Typically when I start my day, I’ll start by looking at all the things that are assigned to me. I’ll choose a few that I want to work on today. I try to be as realistic as possible, which means adding half as many things as I am tempted to add. After putting those into my ‘Today’ view, there are often a couple of other things I need to do. I just hit enter and add a few more tasks.”
Forward emails to Asana
“Because I want Asana to be the source of truth for everything I do, I want to put emails into my task list and prioritize them. I’ll just take the email and forward it to email@example.com. We chose ‘x’ so it wouldn’t conflict with anything else in your address book. Once I send that, it will show up in Asana with the attachments and everything right intact.”
Run great meetings
“We maintain one Project per meeting. If I’m looking at my Task list and see a Task I want to discuss at the meeting, I’ll just use Quick Add (tab + Q) to put the Task into the correct Project. Then when the meeting comes around, everything that everyone wants to talk about has already been constructed ahead of time.”
“Often a problem comes up and someone asks, ‘Who’s responsible for that?’ So instead, we’ve built out a list of areas of responsibility (AoRs), which is all the things that someone at the company has to be responsible for. By having AoRs, we distribute responsibility. We can allow managers to focus on things that are more specific to management and empower everyone at the company to be a leader in their own field.”
Background on https://asana.com/
How it all started and progressed?
asana demo & vision talk [Robert Marquardt YouTube channel, Feb 15, 2011]
The Asana Vision & Demo [asana blog, Feb 7, 2011]
We recently hosted an open house at our offices in San Francisco, where we showed the first public demo of Asana and deep-dived into the nuances of the product, the long-term mission that drives us, how the beta’s going, and more. We were really excited to be able to share what we’ve been working on and why we’re so passionate about it, and hope you enjoy
thisthe above video of the talk:
Asana will be available more broadly later this year. In the meantime,
Introducing Asana: The Modern Way to Work Together [asana blog, Nov 2, 2011]
Asana is a modern web application that keeps teams in sync, a shared task list where everyone can capture, organize, track, and communicate what they are working on in service of their common goal. Rather than trying to stay organized through the tedious grind of emails and meetings, teams using Asana can move faster and do more — or even take on bigger and more interesting goals.
How Asana Works:
Asana re-imagines the way we work together by putting the fundamental unit of productivity – the task – at the center. Breaking down ambitious goals into small pieces, assigning ownership of those tasks, and tracking them to completion is how things get built, from software to skyscrapers. With Asana, you can:
- capture everything your team is planning and doing in one place. When tasks and the conversations about them are collected together, instead of spread around emails, documents, whiteboards, and notebooks, they become the shared, trusted, collective memory for your organization.
- keep your team in sync on the priorities, and what everyone is working on. When you have a single shared view of a project’s priorities, along with an accurate view into what each person is working on and when, everyone on the team knows exactly what matters, and what work remains between here and the goal.
- get the right information at the right time. Follow tasks, and you’ll receive emails as their status evolves. Search, and you’ll see the full activity feed of all the discussions and changes to a task over its history. Now, it’s easy to stay on top of the details — without asking people to forward you a bunch of email threads.
Building tools for teamwork [asana blog, Nov 22, 2013]
Our co-founder, Justin, recently wrote in Wired about why we need to rethink the tools we use to work together. The article generated a lot of interesting comments, from ideas on knowledge management to fatigue with the “meeting lifestyle,” to this protest on the typical office culture:
“Isn’t the root of this problem that, within our own organizations, we fiercely guard information and our decision-making processes? Email exchanges and invite-only meetings shut out others– forcing the need for follow-up conversations, summary reports, and a trail of other status/staff meetings to relay content already covered some place/some time before.”
To reach its goals, we think a team needs clarity of purpose, plan and responsibility. Technology and tools can help us reach that kind of clarity, but only if they target the right problem. From their roles at Facebook, Asana’s founders have extensive knowledge of social networks, and the social graph technology they rely on. But Asana isn’t a social network. Why? Because, as Justin outlines, the social graph doesn’t target the problem of work:
Our personal and professional lives, even if they overlap, have two distinct goals — and they require different “graphs.”
For our personal lives, the goal is love (authentic interpersonal connection), and that requires a social graph with people at the center. For our work lives, the goal is creation (working together to realize our collective potential), and that requires a work graph, with the work at the center.
Don’t get me wrong: Human connection is valuable within a business. But it should be in service to the organizational function of getting work done, and doesn’t need to be the center of the graph.
So, how does this change the experience for you and your teammates? A work graph means having all the information you need when you need it. Instead of blasting messages at the whole team, like “Hey, has anyone started working on this yet?”, you should be able to efficiently find out exactly who’s working on that task and how much progress they’ve made. That’s the target Asana is aiming for. Read Justin’s full Wired article.
Organizations in Asana [asana blog, May 1, 2013]
Today, we’re excited to be launching a collection of new features aimed at helping companies use and support Asana across their entire enterprise. We call it Organizations.
Since we began, Asana has been on a mission to help great teams achieve more ambitious goals. We started 18 months ago with our free service, targeted at smaller teams and even individuals – helping them get and stay organized.
When we launched our first premium tiers six months later, we enabled medium sized teams and companies – think 10s to 100s of people – to go further with Asana. In the year between then and now, we’ve been continuously amazed by all the places and ways Asana is being used to organize a team: in industries as diverse as education, healthcare, finance, technology, and manufacturing; in companies from two-person partnerships to Fortune 100 enterprises; and in dozens of countries representing every continent but the frozen one. There’s a lot of important work being organized in Asana.
But we’re still just getting started – there remain teams that we haven’t been ready to support: the largest teams, those that grow from 100s to 1,000s of people. While it would be remarkable if it only took a small number of coworkers to design and manufacture electric cars, synthesize DNA, or deliver healthcare to villages across the globe – these missions are complex, and require more people to be involved in them to succeed. Many of the teams using Asana today are inside these bigger organizations, and they’ve been asking for Asana to work at enterprise-scale. So for the past several months, we’ve been working on just that.
Stories from our first year [asana blog, Nov 12, 2012]
… When we launched a year go, we had an ambitious mission: to create a shared task management platform that empowers teams of like-minded people to do great things. … In the course of our first year, tens of thousands of teams looking for a better way to work together have adopted Asana. …
… we collected three of these stories from three distinct kinds of teams:
– a tech startup [Foursquare],
– a fast-growing organic food company [Bare Fruit & Sundia] and
– a leading Pacific Coast aquarium [Aquarium of the Bay].
Foursquare Launches 5.0
Right around the time Foursquare passed 100 employees over the last year, we started building Foursquare 5.0. This update was a big deal: we were overhauling Foursquare’s core mechanics, evolving from check-ins towards the spontaneous discovery of local businesses. As we built the new app, we needed a way to gather feedback from the entire team.
We tried what felt like every collaboration tool around. Group emails were a mess. Google Docs was impossible to parse. We’d heard about Asana and decided to give it a shot.
Using Asana, we were easily able to collect product feedback and bugs from everyone in the company, then parse, discuss, distribute and prioritize the work. It became an indispensable group communication tool.
Foursquare 5.0 was a giant success, and we couldn’t have done it without Asana.
–Noah Weiss, Product Manager
Then, Of Course, There Is Us
It’s an understatement to say that we rely on Asana. We use our own product to manage every function of our business. Asana is where we plan, capture ideas, build meeting agendas, prioritize our product roadmap, document which bugs to fix and list the snacks to buy. It’s our CRM, our editorial calendar, our Applicant Tracking System, and our new-hire orientation system. Every team in the company – from product, design, and engineering to sales and marketing to recruiting and user operations – relies on the product we are building to stay in sync, connect our individual tasks to the bigger picture and accomplish our collective goals.
Q&A: Rising Realty Partners builds their business with Asana [asana blog, Feb 7, 2014]
As our business expanded, we found ourselves relying heavily on email, faxes, and even FedEx to communicate with each other and collaborate with outside parties. We needed a better way to organize, prioritize and communicate around our work, and we found the answer in Asana.
I can’t image how complex our communications would have been if we weren’t using Asana. We had dozens of people internally, and more than 50 people externally, all involved in making this deal happen. Having all of that communication in Asana significantly cut down on the craziness.
Because of Asana’s Dropbox integration, our workflow is now fast, intuitive and organized — something that was impossible to achieve over email. For the acquisition, we used Asana and Dropbox simultaneously to keep track of everything; from what each team member was doing, to the current status of each transaction, to keeping a history of all related documents. We had more than 18,000 items in Dropbox that we would link to in Asana instead of attaching them in email. We removed more than 30 gigabytes of information per recipient from our inboxes and everything was neatly organized around the work we were doing in Asana. This meant that the whole team always had the latest and most relevant information.
For this entire project, maybe one percent of our total internal communication was happening in email. With Asana, anyone in the company could look at any aspect of the project, see where it stood, and add their input. No one had to remember to cc’ or ‘reply all’.
The success of this deal was largely due to Asana and we plan to use it in future acquisitions –Asana has become essential to our team’s success.
Our iPhone App Levels Up [asana blog, Sept 6, 2012]
Until recently, we’ve focused most of our energy on the browser-based version of Asana. But, in the last few months, even as we’ve launched major new features in our web application, we’ve been putting much more time into improving the mobile experience. In June, we made several meaningful architectural improvements to pave the way for bigger and better things and hinted that these changes were in the works.
Today, we’ve taken the next step in that direction: Version 2.0 of our iPhone app is in the App Store now. We are really proud of this effort – almost everyone at Asana played a part in this release. This new version is a top-to-bottom redesign that really puts the power of the desktop web version of Asana right in your pocket.
Asana comes to Android [asana blog, Feb 28, 2013]
Five months ago, we launched our first bonafide mobile app, for the iPhone, and we’ve been steadily improving it ever since. Focusing on a single platform at first allowed us to be meticulous about our mobile experience, adding new features and honing the design until we knew it was something people loved. After strong positive feedback from our customers and a solid rating in the iTunes App Store, we knew it was time.
Today, we are happy to announce that Asana for Android is here. You can get it right now in the Google Play store
As of today (May 8, 2014) there are 70 employees and 15 open positions. The company has 4 investors: Benchmark Capital, Andreessen-Horowitz, Founders Fund and Peter Thiel. The first two put $9 million in November 2009. Then Founders Fund and Peter Thiel added to that $28 million in July 2012. Reuters reported that with Facebook alumni line up $28 million for workplace app Asana [July 23, 2012]:
Asana, a Silicon Valley start-up, has lined up $28 million in a financing round led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and his Founders Fund, the company said.
The funding round values the workplace-collaboration company at $280 million, a person familiar with the matter said.
“This investment allows us to attract the best and brightest designers and engineers,” said Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein, who said that in turn would help the company build on its goal of making interaction among its client-companies’ employees easier.
Asana launched the free version last year of its company management software that makes it easier to collaborate on projects. It introduced a paid, premium service earlier this year. It declined to give revenue figures, but said “hundreds” of customers had upgraded to the premium version.
Although Rosenstein and co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are alumni of social-network Facebook– Moskovitz co-founded the service with his Harvard roommate Mark Zuckerberg – they were quick to distance Asana from social networking.
Instead, they say, they view the company as an alternative to email, in-person meetings, physical whiteboards, and spreadsheets.
“That’s what we see as our competition,” said Rosenstein. “Replacing those technologies.”
With its latest funding round, Asana has now raised a total of $38 million from investors including Benchmark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
Thiel, who got to know Moskovitz and Rosenstein thanks to his early backing of Facebook, had already invested in Asana when it raised its “angel” round in early 2009. Now, his high-profile Founders Fund is investing and Thiel is joining Asana’s board.
Facebook has 901 million monthly users and revenue last year of $3.7 billion. But its May initial public offering disappointed many investors after it priced at $38 per share and then quickly fell. It closed on Friday at $28.76.
Many investors speculate that start-ups will have to accept lower valuations in the wake of the Facebook IPO. The Asana co-founders said the terms of their latest funding round were set before Facebook debuted on public markets.
A few of Facebook’s longtime employees have gone on to work on their own ventures.
Bret Taylor, formerly chief technology officer, said last month he was leaving to start his own company.
Dave Morin, who joined Facebook in 2008 from Apple, left in 2010 to found social network Path. Facebook alumni Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever left in 2009 to start Quora, their question-and-answer company, which is also backed by Thiel.
Another former roommate of Zuckerberg’s, Chris Hughes, also left a few years ago and coordinated online organizing for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Now, he is publisher of the New Republic magazine.
Matt Cohler, who joined Facebook from LinkedIn early in 2005, joined venture capital firm Benchmark Capital in 2008. His investments there include Asana and Quora.
Core technology used
Luna, our in-house framework for writing great web apps really quickly [asana blog, Feb 2, 2010]
At Asana, we’re building a Collaborative Information Manager that we believe will make it radically easier for groups of people to get work done. Writing a complex web application, we experienced pain all too familiar to authors of “Web 2.0″ software (and interactive software in general): there were all kinds of extremely difficult programming tasks that we were doing over and over again for every feature we wanted to write. So we’re developing Lunascript — an in-house programming language for writing rich web applications in about 10% of the time and code you can today.
Check out the
videowe made »
[rather an article about Luna as of Nov 2, 2011]
Release the Kraken! An open-source pub/sub server for the real-time web [asana blog, March 5, 2013]
Today, we are releasing Kraken, the distributed pub/sub server we wrote to handle the performance and scalability demands of real-time web apps like Asana.
Before building Kraken, we searched for an existing open-source pub/sub solution that would satisfy our needs. At the time, we discovered that most solutions in this space were designed to solve a much wider set of problems than we had, and yet none were particularly well-suited to solve the specific requirements of real-time apps like Asana. Our team had experience writing routing-based infrastructure and ultimately decided to build a custom service that did exactly what we needed – and nothing more.
The decision to build Kraken paid off. For the last three years, Kraken has been fearlessly routing messages between our servers to keep your team in sync. During this time, it has yet to crash even once. We’re excited to finally release Kraken to the community!
Issues Moving to Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer [asana blog, June 5, 2012]
Asana’s infrastructure runs almost entirely on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS provides us with the ability to launch managed production infrastructure in minutes with simple API calls. We use AWS for servers, databases, monitoring, and more. In general, we’ve been very happy with AWS. A month ago, we decided to use Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer service to balance traffic between our own software load balancers.
Announcing the Asana API [asana blog, April 19, 2012]
Today we are excited to share that you can now add and access Asana data programmatically using our simple REST API.
The Asana API lets you build a variety of applications and scripts to integrate Asana with your business systems, show Asana data in other contexts, and create tasks from various locations.
Here are some examples of the things you can build:
- Source Control Integration to mark a Task as complete and add a link to the code submission as a comment when submitting code.
- A desktop app that shows the Tasks assigned to you
- A dashboard page that shows a visual representation of complete and incomplete Tasks in a project
Asana comes to Internet Explorer [asana blog, Oct 16, 2013]