grease

Grease Week at Asana

Josh Smith

One of our core values at Asana is Balance. Last October, the introduction of Polish Week intensified our focus on user-facing features. In order to maintain our balance, we recently created another “special” week during each episode dedicated to “Grease” work.

Grease Week is the exact opposite of Polish Week. Instead of polishing user-facing features, everyone at Asana focuses on making internal-facing improvements. We tune up our processes, fatten up our documentation, and fix up our worn out tools. We address our production stack by adding safety features and improving scalability. We don’t add any new features during Grease Week, but the work we accomplish is vital to our ability to quickly and reliably ship features in the future.

This Grease Week, we worked on a wide range of projects which will deliver long-term benefits:

Automatically reload CSS. Before this tool we had to reload our app whenever we wanted to see CSS changes, now the changes appear automatically and quickly.

Speed Up Chrome Element Inspector. Chrome Element Inspector is an awesome tool for front-end development. We moved the body up and are now back to inspecting at full speed.

ETL Relational Transform. This is critical for many operational processes, such as measuring effectiveness of our marketing efforts, segmenting and targeting users based on activity (e.g., for marketing/sales email blasts), and monitoring the health of our top domains.

OAuth Apps Leaderboard. We created a dashboard to see which apps are connecting to our API using Asana Connect. We can see which apps have the most users or the most traffic and drill down to specific apps to see their last 30 days of usage. Want to make your app connect to Asana? Check out our Asana Connect Developer Documentation.

 And many more improvements…

  • Connected our metrics graph via the Asana API to projects containing lists of our major product launches, holidays, and other events, so that we can easily spot which launches increased usage and explain dips due to external factors.
  • Created a checklist of often overlooked factors to consider when estimating the cost of building a new feature.
  • Updated documentation on how and when to run migrations to update old data to fit into changes to our data model.
  • Added an Asana project detailing all the ways we interact with new users including screenshots.
  • Created another Asana project summarizing key takeaways from David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” for employees who are too busy getting things done to read it.

Read more eng related blog posts on our new Asana eng site!

  1. avatarLiv

    Love the fact that your team creates such internal focus during a full week. Working on the internal processes I suppose often comes last, whereas it is so important to always adapt and change to benefit the entire internal as well as release process and therefore result for end users! Ya love it!

    1. avatar@krysfree

      +1 re: sharing the GTD summary projects…

      …slash… you could just include that in everyone’s “Personal” project list when they first start using Asana. When I read the book I was like… “YESSSSS Asana is my digital inbox!!” I still need to “grease” my skill set re: using it to my benefit.

  2. avataryurkennis

    > Created a checklist of often overlooked factors to consider when estimating the cost of building a new feature.

    Another great candidate for sharing ;-)

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