[White Paper Title] Collaborative Task Management
[Company Name] Asana
[Prepared by] Steve Johnson
[Date] Monday 08 April 2013

[Executive Summary] Due to the volume of work and complexity of this work (combined with the physical location of SME’s involved) in the Euro VI engine emissions project, we need to identify and ultimately deploy a software solution which will allow individuals to access projects/sub-projects tasks on mobile and desktop devices.

  • Seven publications for Dennis Eagle in English language only,
  • Seven publications for Renault Trucks (in six languages).

The software application we select must be simple to navigate, have a clean GUI and (more importantly) allow for fast data entry/updates. We have trialled other software mobile/web applications such as Podio, Dropbox and Chatter. Each application has good (and not so good) features which would improve our daily working processes; however as a ‘purely’ task management tool Asana came out on top.

Unique job numbers will continue to be generated in FileMaker Pro and content created using Adobe Creative Suite applications but task progress will now be tracked through Asana.

[The Company] About Asana:
Asana was created by Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, who worked at both Google and Facebook. Whilst at Facebook the pair built an early prototype for use as an internal project management tool. In 2009 they both left to found Asana, because of “their passion to solve the universal loss of productivity faced by managers and knowledge workers everywhere.”

According to Asana’s website, “Asana was started with a mission to increase the potential output of every team’s efforts: to empower humanity to do great things.”

Given the founders’ success at Facebook, it would be easy to raise any amount of money – instead Asana has kept a team small, with about 40 people, half devoted to engineering.

Companies already using Asana include:
Twitter (select few teams), Uber, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Rdio, NationBuilder, Airbnb, Twilio, AdParlor, Micello and Entelo

A Freemium Model:
Asana has focused on supporting both the individual and the team; applying a freemium model in which the product is free to use for up to 30 users, and then costs $300 per month for 31 to 50 users (with increased cost as the number of users rises).
Their ultimate hope is that the product itself does all the early selling, to drive adoption.

Making Coordination Effortless:
The main goal of Asana is that wherever you are, in the office or in a remote location, you have all the information that you need to do your job literally at your fingertips, and that you know the same is true for everybody that you’re collaborating with.

Workers now expect to play a role in choosing the tools they work with. Asana puts this into practice with its own staff, each of which get a $10,000 grant to create the work environment of their own design.

[Solution] Simple but Sophisticated:
It is essential that the Asana interface is pleasing to both the team and the individual to do his/her own work. To make the experience as pleasing as possible, Asana has avoided ‘packing’ the product with unnecessary features.

When you sign up, you see a list, you start putting in tasks, and it looks like a task management app. However, when a team expands (and when you start adding additional workflow), it becomes a combination of everyone in your team in one place, which is quite unique. It is all of the work that all those groups are doing, organised – you can see everything, and it allows you to bring multiple people into any given project without having to move between apps.

Asana’s not just about knowledge capture; it’s about work capture. It captures what you’re going to do, prioritise it, organise it, assign it, give it accountability, and put it all in one place.

[Benefits] Key Features:
– Fast and versatile web-based user interface,
– A GUI that allows everyone to see the updates made by everyone else in real time,
– Supports cascading levels of tasks and subtasks,
– Ability to annotate tasks easily and attach links and documents to them (integration with Dropbox),
– Ability to capture workflows,
– Supports team communication through commenting features, @-replying of people, and Asana’s Inbox,
– Apps for iPhone and Android with mobile functionality around search, Inbox, push notifications, and task creation/assignment,
– Management (and reporting) features will eventually be a part of Asana.