Introducing Vacation Indicator

Kasey Fleisher Hickey, Cliff Chang, Eric Pelz, Marcos Medina, and Jackie Bavaro

Have you ever left for vacation and felt stressed out by all the communications you knew would build up in your absence? Been in a situation when a teammate wasn’t responding to comments or tasks and you didn’t realize they were away? Planning time away from the office and keeping your teammates informed just got easier, with Vacation Indicator. We first prototyped this feature at a recent hackathon and ‘polished’ it up during our latest Polish Week.

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Re-imagining Asana on the web: a design challege

Kasey Fleisher Hickey and Zöe Desroches

Asana designathon

Last week, we co-hosted our first in-house Designathon with technology VC firm Andreessen-Horowitz. Design students and interns from across the Bay Area gathered to tackle a unique design challenge: to design Asana as a platform across the web. The students were joined by Asana’s in-house designers who were on hand to offer ideas, mentorship, and guidance.

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What’s next, and how do I decide? A Q&A with our expert panel

Kasey Fleisher Hickey and Zöe Desroches

Dustin Moskovitz

We recently welcomed over 100 Bay Area interns to our office for an exclusive Q&A Panel with Matt Cohler (of Benchmark Capital and Facebook), Aditya Agarwal (VP of Engineering at Dropbox), our co-founders, Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein. This was our second annual event, and the conversation was squarely focused on the most pressing topic for students and new grads: what’s next, and how do I decide?

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A fresh take on mobile

Emily Kramer and Tyson Kallberg

Yesterday, we launched our new iOS app. When we set out to update our mobile apps months ago, we knew we had a big task in front of us. Despite great customer growth and our devotion to being a product-led company, our mobile apps lagged behind. Our new iOS app is just the first step towards tackling our biggest opportunity for growth, and represents a shift in both our mobile and overall product strategy and process. While it takes time to build a multi-platform product and company, we are excited that we have entered a new era for Asana. We’d like to give you an inside look at how we got to this point and where we are going with mobile.
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A new day for Asana on iPhone & iPad

Sam Goertler, Tyson Kallberg, Tim Bavaro, Niranjan Ravichandran, Janardan Yri, Tom Brow, Vincent Siao, and Mark Miyashita

Today is a big day for Asana – the biggest since we launched a little over 2 years ago. We are excited to share with you a completely redesigned and rebuilt, fully-native Asana app for iPhone and iPad that is faster, more powerful, and much easier to use. It’s a major step forward in helping your team work together effortlessly, without the hassle of email, from wherever you are.


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How Udacity uses Asana to empower people through education

Kelsey Aroian and Joey Dello Russo

Udacity was born out of a Stanford University experiment in which Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig offered their "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" course online to anyone, for free. Now Udacity is a growing team of educators and engineers on a mission to change the future of education by bridging the gap between real-world skills, relevant education, and employment.

A new way of delivering education
Jennie Kim is a Program Manager at Udacity and runs their partnership with Georgia Tech.
Jennie Kim - Udacity Program Manager
I joined Udacity because I believe in empowering people through education, and so does Udacity. At Udacity, we’re focused on providing high quality education at scale to students anywhere in the world.
Stuart Frye leads Business Development at Udacity.
Stuart Frye - Udacity Business Development
There’s a white space in accessible and relevant education. Udacity aims to close that skills gap by offering free classes and affordable support for a fraction of what it costs to receive a traditional education.
Jennie Kim - Udacity Program Manager
In the beginning, our team had an opportunity to fundamentally rethink how online courses were put together. A web browser can now be a very engaging and interactive classroom.
Stuart Frye - Udacity Business Development
Creating a new way of delivering education was a big undertaking. While creating the first courses, spreadsheets and documents got unwieldy and inboxes overflowed. As we grew our courses, our system at Udacity was like a shaky house—you knew it wasn’t going to last much longer. To help us achieve our mission, we needed something we could depend on, a system and process that would allow us to deliver these classes in a greater capacity. We realized Asana could be the solution we were looking for.
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Asana joins LOT Patent Network along with Google, Dropbox, Canon, and more

Dustin Moskovitz

Bringing a new company into the world means manifesting a great idea while simultaneously persevering through a number of risks and struggles. You have to recruit a team of people who want to work together, convince outside investors to support you, defend against competitors, and more. In most cases, these hurdles serve as a Darwinian funnel that makes the ecosystem better and optimizes the allocation of resources.

Defending against frivolous patent litigation, however, is not one of those hurdles and instead functions as a punitive and unfair tax on the ecosystem.

In the worst cases, a damaging suit can stop your company before it even gets started. Most of the time, companies settle out of court to avoid facing that risk, even when they believe they are on the right side of the law. They pay the toll to pass the troll. Even if your company is lucky enough to avoid being on the receiving end of a suit, you still must spend time mitigating the possibility by assembling a defensive patent portfolio.

Today, we’re joining the LOT Network — along with leaders like Google, Dropbox, NewEgg, Canon and SAP — to fight back against patent abuse.

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Yesterday’s downtime

Prashant Pandey, Dustin Moskovitz, and S. Alex Smith

Asana had a service interruption for approximately 90 minutes on Wednesday. We want to apologize, as we know your team relies on Asana and lengthy outages can majorly disrupt your workflow. It is our top priority to ensure Asana is up and running securely for you and your team, and we take these issues very seriously.

Whenever Asana is down or experiencing performance issues, we immediately dedicate engineers to fix the problem. We also aim to keep you as informed as possible–you can always check our status page and Twitter for up-to-date information. We also work to identify the root cause, so we can prevent the same issue from happening again.

We’re still investigating this outage, but we believe the root cause is related to transient connectivity issues between our app servers and database/cache servers. The most important complications we experienced yesterday have been resolved, so we don’t expect another serious interruption. However, the underlying network connectivity issue remains, and we are working closely with AWS to address the issue. This will be our top priority until it is fully resolved. Looking ahead, we do agree that offline access to Asana would be helpful, and this is on our long-term roadmap.

We apologize for the downtime yesterday. Thanks for your patience.


Task descriptions & comments just got rich

S. Alex Smith

When tasks have context, teams have clarity. When teams have clarity, they can move efficiently and effectively. Task descriptions and comments give teammates context and keep all necessary information and conversations side by side with your work. We just gave these features some polish: you can now add rich text and formatting to any task description or comment!

At Asana, we use task descriptions to take notes during meetings, add guidelines or goals to tasks we’ve assigned teammates, and create brief text “documents,” without needing another app. We use comments to discuss tasks with teammates, and keep the conversation with the work that needs to get done. Rich text makes it easier to structure ideas, highlight important items, and keep teammates up to speed with a quick scan of the task.

rich text shortcuts

Currently, you can add rich text and formatting using keyboard shortcuts, but we will be adding formatting buttons to the task pane in the near future.

To add rich text, use common keyboard shortcuts (replace cmd with ctrl on Windows):

  • cmd+b for bold
  • cmd+u for underline
  • cmd+i for italics

To add formatting, use these keyboard shortcuts (replace cmd with ctrl on Windows):

  • Numbered lists, cmd+shift+7
  • Indented and outdented numbered lists, cmd+] and  cmd+[
  • Bulleted lists, cmd+shift+8
  • Monospace font, cmd+shift+m

Rich text keyboard shortcuts are a new and useful addition to our lineup of keyboard shortcuts that help you work more efficiently in Asana. Our favorite shortcuts include tab+q to quickly add a task, tab+y to mark a task for today, and tab+x to enter focus mode (especially useful for taking notes in a task description during a meeting or when writing long-form notes).

Let us know what other “polish” features you’d like to see in the comments — our Episode 11 polish week is coming up this summer.

Stop wasting time: 4 steps to take back your day

Jackie Bavaro

We all have more work to do than we can actually get done. It takes some practice to master the art of spending your time productively on the right things, in a satisfying way.

As a product manager, I learned early on how important it is to purposefully choose how I spend my hours and days. I work closely with engineers and designers who depend on me for prompt feedback. If I’m not responsive, the team slows down or stops asking my advice on decisions. On the other hand, it’s easy to get caught up in reactive work and forget to put aside time for more strategic planning.

Stop wasting time: 4 steps to take back your day

I recently gave a talk to my teammates about the steps they can take to manage their time better, and thought I’d share the highlights here.

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