The Asana Vision & Demo

Justin Rosenstein

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 this video of the talk:



Asana will be available more broadly later this year. In the meantime,

  • if you’re interested in participating in the beta program, sign up here.
  • if these sound like problems you’d like to help tackle, we’re hiring.
  • and if you’d just like to receive updates about Asana going forward, use the form in the upper right of this page.
  1. avatarAndrew Shimomura

    If viewers are willing to play the video twice, the audio and video are about 45 seconds out of sync (with the video 45 seconds faster). You can play them both and it ALMOST syncs up well. Just hope your router doesn’t hiccup. ;)

  2. avatarAntonio Konitsiotis

    Very interesting product, one thing that I find very useful is the ability to see/organise the project and tasks in diagram form, sort of like a mind map spider diagram…is this perhaps something Asana will incorporate?

  3. avatarKevin Peterson

    This link is going around at the office. The first response was “I tried to watch the presentation but it was so boring I had to turn it off. What do they really offer?”.

    I watched 2 minutes and I have no idea what you do. Is there a briefer version that jumps right into what the product actually does? I need to be convinced it’s potentially worth my time before I watch a 50 minute presentation. Apparently someone is very excited about it, but it’s a mystery to the rest of us.

    Does your product meet the needs of those of us with the attention span of a caffeinated squirrel?

  4. avatarJeff Troutman

    So as I watched this I immediately thought about Gantt charts… If the completion check box also had a slider to show percentage finished that related to a gantt chart in the project “slice” I could see it being a really strong visual tool for accountability, scheduling and personal work load analysis.

  5. avatarTyler Ehman

    The aerospace industry desperately needs something like this. Can it also help manage cad geometry, specs, standards and other data sets associated with large complex engineering projects. Boeing Airbus pay attention! Asana would help answer questions like: were is the rosan installation spec? hey can you email me the link to the cad file? have the guys/girls in that other department finished the interface model yet?

  6. avatarGreg Slovacek Asana Team Member

    Thank you all for pointing out the video sync issues. We had technical difficulties with the original upload but the video has been corrected for some time now (as of several days ago). Apologies for any inconvenience it may have caused, and thanks for watching!

  7. avatarPeter Clutton-Brock

    Hi guys, I’m really excited about this product. My organisation desperately needs it. Our internal processes are so frustrating and are going to become more so now I know there is something like this out there that I could be using instead! Please let us onto the beta! I promise we would give you all the feedback you could want!
    Pete

  8. avatarMason Wong

    Before applicant tracking was mentioned in the “beyond tasks” segment, during the brief system demo, I was already imagining how much more powerful the recruiting workflow would be using the collaboration tools in Asana. I’ve been a customer of and implementer of many dedicated ATS’s and I know the asymmetry of the various user roles (recruiter, hiring mgr, candidate, scheduler, staffing leader, executive approver), along with the varying degrees of engagement and frequency with the system from different users, combined with the lack of homogeneity in recruiting process best practices, results in most ATS vendors building systems that are designed for the lowest common denominator in functionality. A more easily configurable ATS using an Asana-like task/collaboration platform would be very powerful in corporate recruiting. I hope Asana does eventually become a player in the ATS market.

  9. avatarSergey Sinkovskiy

    Hi-

    I tried to sign up for updated in the right upper corner, but unfortunately there is no submit button.

    Extremely interested in your product and would be happy to work in Asana, but I’m from Ukraine and I don’t know if I can apply.

  10. avatarRylan Peery

    Inspiring stuff. I appreciated the threads tying the product into globally significant endeavors to take on work that might otherwise be daunting.

    On the more personal level, it doesn’t seem a stretch that Asana would allow an individual with great responsibility, for example a King like Janaka, to maintain clarity / focus of mind.

    Nicely done.

  11. avatarKarl Fosburg

    Very interesting… Couple of questions:

    Are there plans for an Enterprise version as opposed to SAAS model?

    We have a lot of processes that have well defined workflows that we follow somewhat manually which is a pain… Will Asana have the concept of Nth dimension project? E.g. – instance A of process XYZ. We would like to improve communication as well as collect metrics of the various stages of any process to improve efficiency.

    Thanks, and looks very promising.

    Karl

  12. avatarArati Deo

    Hi,

    This is a great tool indeed,

    I have some more ideas that you can do with this one.

    Like a smart engine based on the tasks allocated, project status etc would auto schedule meetings etc.

    And some more….

    But in all a great tool…

    Thanks,

    Gautam

  13. avatarMario Garay

    It is a very realistic though to get together two different angles (individual work and work group) of work with a same data root plus a simple way to display information. I’m waiting to be able to use it.

  14. avatarJames Deer

    Four words for those who don’t get it:

    Task and conversation management.

    Six words for those who still don’t get it:

    Very intuitive task and conversation management.

    Fourteen words if you still still don’t get it:

    Very intuitive task and conversation management which will save you a lot of time.

  15. avatarBrian Wakelin

    I see the value of this if you are dealing with projects authored by a a single organization. We’re an architectural firm looking for a project management system like this. But a significant dimension to our project management needs is that we manage project teams that consist of consultants in various other organizations. We may work with them on a single project lasting a few months only or several years. Are you thinking about a solution to this issue?

  16. avatarSanjay Dayal

    Excellent interface. I will use it any day over the vanilla JIRA interface and god forbid Siebel. Kudos to your UI team. But I did not find any model enhancements. It might be that your model understands unstructured data better and has a chat like interface to updates) but underlying model sounds very similar to other collaboration management products. Why not develop UI plugins to sit on any collaboration management model (by abstracting the model) like JIRA for example, and provide the great experience that I can notice in this brief presentation to a lot more people who are not ready to give up their existing systems but will like an experience like asana? You still can have the SaaS experience for new customers.

  17. avatarGreg Slovacek Asana Team Member

    Thank you all for the words of encouragement! We are gradually extending invites to beta applicants based on how an organization’s needs align with the experience our app is currently able to offer. So if you want in on the beta, just make sure your company is signed up; we’re sorry we can’t offer anything more than that. But if you have to wait, just rest assured that in the meantime we’ll be making the app that much better. :)

    @Sergey We accept applicants from everywhere, but as our office is in San Francisco we would require that you relocate. If that’s possible for you, we invite you to send in your resume.

    @Karl We firmly believe a properly-implemented SaaS delivery model is ideal for both delivery and consumption of this type of product, for many reasons. We want to serve as many organizations as we can but we also want to provide them with an experience of a particular standard and character, and the delivery method impacts that. We’ll have to see down the road whether that’s possible with other (non-SaaS) installations.

  18. avatarGreg Slovacek Asana Team Member

    @Brian Rest assured you are not the only one who has come to us with that need. The current version of the app does not yet provide granular enough workspace management to facilitate those use cases, but we are aware of them and will be thinking more about how to accommodate them in the future.

  19. avatarGreg Slovacek Asana Team Member

    @Antonio We are perpetually thinking of new ways of visualizing the graph of information. The current app incorporates a fairly familiar grid-and-property-sheet view, but that doesn’t mean we are locked into only this view forever.

    @David We are a little ways from pricing, so I can’t really speak to that. I hope it goes without saying that Asana aims to make its product affordable to as large an audience as possible. One way to achieve this would be to deliver an irresistible amount of value.

    1. avatarGreg Slovacek Asana Team Member

      Hi Daniel. It would be inappropriate to compare Asana and Basecamp on a feature-by-feature basis, as our feature set is continually evolving and our product is still early stage. I think it’s more relevant to compare the philosophy and focus behind the products, because whereas either product may or may not provide a particular function today, what’s important is that a product develops in line with your needs. To that end, I’ll just touch on a few key aspects of our philosophy around the product as they relate to some of your gripes with Basecamp.

      First, speed is king. We firmly believe that when it comes to speed, a difference in degree is a difference in kind. That is, Asana feels like a different kind of app because it is fast to use, and the set of things you do with it will be different and expanded compared to an app that behaves similarly but more slowly. We try to remove latency at every turn; we don’t even have auto-saving as a concept in the app because Asana is auto-saving all the time (and prompts you close the app while changes to the server are still pending).

      Also, search is important. We didn’t prioritize this feature for our earliest users, because we had to work on getting the basic data models and interactions down, but as an organization’s data set grows it clearly becomes a pain point. With a proper search feature you are never more than a few keystrokes away from navigating to the exact item of interest. As we launch and evolve ours, we expect our users will come to use it frequently for navigation. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but a number of us in the company have a background in search and we’re committed to getting it right.

      We’re still fleshing out our core feature set so we not had as much time for serious usability tuning as we’d like, but we hope to get there. I can’t confidently say that if you switch to Asana you’ll have a superior experience because there just may be things Basecamp does that are very important to you, that Asana does not yet do. But if you’re invited to the beta, I strongly encourage you to take it for a spin and see how it feels. You’ll see that we’ve imbued the app with a different set of values than many others in the same space, and you can decide if you like where we’re headed.

  20. avatarTim Davis

    I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say I love what I see in the product so far and I’m excited to see the future of asana. I’m also incredibly impressed the developers have given so much thought and work on speeding the development of asana.

    asana may very well be the next killer app.

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