Archive for the ‘Best Practices’ Category
by Justin Rosenstein
October 27th, 2011
When I walk through a beautiful building, the first thing I experience is the emotional effect of the finished product: a sense of grandeur, or a feeling warmth. But my appreciation grows deeper when I consider how the building was made, to look at every brick or every bolt placed one by one by a person, and then to imagine the architects and designers, who must have thought and debated and iterated on each piece, from the largest design decisions to the smallest details. It’s humbling to stand there, physically held by the fruit of their collective labor.
Lao-Tzu observed that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But the journey is the million steps that follow, and the experience that emerges along the way. That’s how great things are built as well: from skyscrapers to software, from cinema to cities, greatness happens one step at a time. These steps are the “tasks”, the atomic units of work, the building blocks of all effort.
Breaking down ambitious goals into small pieces, assigning ownership of those tasks, and tracking them to completion is how creation happens. The tasks may be complex, interdependent, and involve passionate conversation among many contributors. Their coordination is crucial to the success of a project’s vision.
Everyone knows this and yet, astoundingly, most teams don’t yet have a unified, trusted record of what they have to do. There are project management apps galore, and “enterprise-grade collaboration platforms” are big business, but none of them are good enough at addressing teams’ real-life needs; almost no one’s using them to drive hour-to-hour work (even when they’re paying for them).
Some companies have felt the need for a centralized internal task list so acutely that they’ve built them in-house: Apple has their legendary Radar system, Facebook their collaborative “Tasks” tracker that Dustin and I had the privilege of helping to design and prototype. But in general, good tools for staying in sync just haven’t been built and made available to the world. Teams are getting by on a hodge-podge of email, spreadsheets, physical notebooks, and untracked verbal commitments. And the important conversations and files about those tasks are spread out, disconnected, and out of context.
We see this as the fundamental challenge to the rising productivity of teams. Working together in concert more smoothly not only helps us move more quickly; it changes the nature of what we can undertake. When we have the confidence that we can orchestrate the group effort required to realize them, we dare bigger dreams.
by Jackie Bavaro
August 10th, 2011
One of our design goals with Asana is to find the right balance of structure to streamline work without getting in your way. This lets us adapt to a wide variety of project types and processes.
While there are a lot of process-specific tools for each individual type of data, we believe that the separation of data across multiple systems increases the “work about work”. We can get work of all kinds done better, with less friction, by keeping everything in one place.
For example, we use Asana as a bug tracker. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a dedicated bug tracker, but we’ve found that we get more value out of seeing our bugs with the rest of our tasks like new feature work and writing up interview feedback. This allows me to look in one place for all the things I have to do today, and everyone from our engineers to our recruiter can be sure I won’t miss their tasks.
This week’s video shows how we track bugs in Asana.
by Jackie Bavaro
August 1st, 2011
Asana is helpful not only for keeping your team on the same page, but also for keeping you organized as a person. Many of us are big fans of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, and we implement it using Asana.
Following up on last week’s best practices for project management, here’s a new video about how I use Asana to keep myself organized.
We hope these techniques are valuable to you even if you’re not part of a team that’s using Asana, but maybe even more important if you are: by being the right place for individuals to track tasks day-to-day, Asana becomes more reliable and up-to-date as the source of truth for the projects those individuals are on.
by Jackie Bavaro
July 19th, 2011
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately talking with businesses who rely on Asana for organizing their workflow. One thing we hear over and over is that as people use Asana more, they constantly discover best practices and conventions for more effectively managing their projects.
Not surprisingly, we’ve spent a lot of time at Asana working to maximize our efficiency and effectiveness, so I made a video about how we use Asana at Asana. We hope some of these tips are helpful to you in managing your own projects. (And if you haven’t already seen How to use Asana, in 2 Minutes, that’s a good video to watch first.)
Best practices for individual task management coming soon!