Customer Stories

7 tips from Shopify to drive Asana adoption in your team

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Today’s knowledge workers spend about 60% of their time on “work about work”—such as unnecessary meetings, status checks, and searching for information—according to the Anatomy of Work Index 2021. Even before remote work, the average large U.S. business lost $45 million in productivity each year because of inefficient knowledge sharing. 

But getting people to change how they work, even when the current process is painful and time consuming, is hard—really hard. We recently hosted a webinar with Katie Laliberte, Senior Plus Security Analyst at Shopify, to learn how she has successfully rolled out and drove the adoption of Asana within multiple teams across her organization. 

Each time Katie has rolled out Asana to a new team—whether in the support, account management, or program management departments—she’s learned best practices that helped her solve the adoption equation. Here are her top tips to successfully roll out and drive adoption of Asana within your own organization or team: 

1. Understand how the team currently works and what the top pain points are

Before you start building out anything in Asana, get clear on your team’s current workflows so you can understand the pain points of different stakeholders upfront. These insights will inform how you set up the process in Asana to address the challenges your team is currently experiencing.

As part of this research, try to measure the impact the current process and pain points are having on the team’s productivity and efficiency. This will not only help them feel heard and like they’re part of the journey, but it will give you the insights you need to build out the new workflows in Asana. 

2. Align on the ideal state with teammates and stakeholders 

After you understand your team’s current workflows and challenges, Katie suggests asking two important questions: 

  • What do we want to improve about this workflow? 
  • How do we want to change this workflow? 

These two questions will help you understand what the improved, ideal state looks like for your teammates and cross-functional stakeholders. This will help you determine the right conventions, communication norms, and project structure up front so that people feel their pain points will be addressed with this new way of working.

For example, when Katie was rolling out Asana to her current team, she learned that the team’s key goal was to minimize manual effort and to maximize the transparency of the work they were doing. People wanted to self-serve information about their colleagues’ work, which is exactly what Asana is helping them do. 

3. Keep your workflows simple in the beginning

After helping multiple teams adopt Asana at Shopify, Katie’s top piece of advice is: “Keep your workflows and setup as simple as possible at the beginning to increase adoption and iterate as needs arise.”

While Asana is very powerful and there’s a lot of functionality you can add to projects, Katie believes keeping the structure simple at first will ensure people don’t feel overwhelmed. For example, for an inbound request workflow, she generally creates four sections to start—backlog, in progress, blocked, complete—while they figure out what their longer term needs are. 

It generally takes Katie about an hour to set up the initial project. Then she introduces the workflow to her team and gives them an overview of how to move tasks through the sections. Since it’s intuitive and approachable, people can jump in without needing a ton of training and begin experiencing the benefits of having a single source of truth for their work within one day. 

4. Engage with your teammates in Asana

To get your team to move their work into Asana, Katie recommends, “Engage with your teammates on tasks—assign tasks with due dates so it’s clear who’s responsible, ask questions or share updates via comments, and attach files so people can find what they need right in Asana.”

According to Katie, “The more you’re driving the conversation to Asana, the easier it is for people to be in the platform and understand how it can impact their work.” So if someone sends you an email or a chat message that needs to be actioned, move it into an Asana task and reply to them there. The more you do this, the more information will be pushed to you in Asana, as opposed to seeking it out. Katie shares, “This allows me to move faster, because the information is in Asana and it’s available to me when I want to engage with it. And it gives you a complete record of your work, as opposed to documents that can be anywhere.”

Another great way to engage and collaborate with your teammates and manager in Asana is through 1:1 projects, Katie shares. You can add existing tasks you’re working on or questions about the project so you have a fleshed out agenda when it’s time to meet. These projects are also a great way to action tasks asynchronously and have a historic record of past work and discussion topics in one place. 

5. Ask for feedback and share regular updates 

You’ll need to communicate with your team a lot in the beginning to get feedback on how they’re using Asana, Katie shared. This will help you understand the pain points they’re experiencing with Asana, so you can address them via workflow improvements early. This helps people feel like you’re listening to them and addressing their concerns, which is key to change management and adoption. 

Another best practice Katie relies on is sharing regular status updates in Asana, either in projects or in tasks. This helps people experience the value of increasing work visibility across stakeholders so they can stay informed about your work without having to request an update. 

6. Integrate Asana with the other tools you already use

You likely use other tools to discuss and do work, so look at Asana’s out-of-the-box integrations to keep everything connected. The Slack integration was a game changer for Katie and her team because they could easily create tasks or comments from messages so nothing got lost.  

Katie also suggests using the email integrations Asana has, so you can turn emails into tasks and keep important communication tied to your work in Asana. This gives everyone visibility, if needed. “Wherever you are doing your work, there’s probably an Asana integration that will allow you to automate the task creation,” Katie said. 

7. Iterate on your workflows as adoption increases

As people get the hang of the workflows and feel comfortable using Asana, implement small improvements—like adding a custom field or rule—to capture key information and automate steps. 

Katie suggests regularly reviewing your workflows, ideally monthly, to determine what iterations to make. You’ll quickly learn things like, “It’d be great if we had a custom field to capture this information,” or “A rule to automatically assign tasks to X when they’re moved to section Y would save us a lot of time.” They’ll likely be quick changes if you’re iterating frequently, but they will save your team a lot of time down the road. 

Want to learn more about how to drive adoption of Asana in your organization? Watch Katie Laliberte’s webinar with Rasha Harvey, Enterprise Customer Success Manager at Asana.

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