Simple but gutsy, Asana will help you get it together (review)

Asana is a project management app, accessible via desktop, mobile site and apps on iPhone and Android. This review is designed for nonprofits who are looking for software to help teams keep it together.

At the San Francisco Green Film Festival, we use it to divide and track team activities with a diaspora of volunteers, most of whom work from home. You can use it to schedule grant deadlines, festivals, projects and staff availability.

The joy of Asana is in its simplicity. It is a smart and meaty piece of software but it is a breeze to use. Adding, assigning and setting timelines for tasks is intuitive; and everything else is click-and-drag.

Creating teams and projects is a cinch.
Creating teams and projects is a cinch.


Setting up projects and teams of up to 15 is simple, and from there you want to set up and assign tasks. Hover over a task and you’ll get buttons for marking it as complete, assigning it to a team member and scheduling it. You can also help organize yourself by moving tasks up and down in the list.

The app is half engineering feat, half social network. That makes sense, when you consider Asana was created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-Googler (and Facebook Pages lead) Justin Rosenstein.


Its strength is its top-down view, which will be invaluable to community managers, development staff and executives. Managers can see an overview of their projects and team and they can see it in tools that suit their management style. Many will use the calendar overview to watch projects come together. Others will want to follow the tasks that teams or individuals are working on.

Managers can see a top-down calendar view of projects.
Managers can see a top-down calendar view of projects. Image: Asana

Just in case you’re not hooked on logging in every single day, Asana will send email updates to team members as a digest of that day’s activities. Messages are seamless and conversations logged on the task itself, so users can see at a glance where it’s at.

Conversations are logged in Asana for better record-keeping.
Conversations are logged in Asana for better record-keeping.

The calendar will sync with Google Calendar but entries can take up to a day (!) to get there and the option doesn’t appear on the free version of Asana, though there are third-party apps like Zapier that will help them talk to each other.

The pricing structure allows you 15 team members for free, then jumps to $50/month and goes up from there. Paid accounts get the ability to create private teams and invite consultants and clients from outside. Asana’s pricing model shows a belief in their product because you can access most of the functionality for free with a small team to start out. For many nonprofits, however, small teams is all we have and free is all we can afford.

Verdict: For small teams, a simple and beautiful cloud app that gets your team organized and your projects on schedule.


3 thoughts on “Simple but gutsy, Asana will help you get it together (review)

  1. Trent says:

    Great review. Another product worth a look: Centrallo. Although I use Asana at work, I’ve grown to love Centrallo. Sleek and functional.

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