Asana is a relatively new contender in the project management game, but it’s also a strong one. It has fought for the top spot of best project management software in the past, but it always fell just a bit short.
The reigning project management king, monday.com (see our monday.com review), can’t be toppled easily. Asana is still a very solid choice for a project management tool, though, with its easy-to-use interface and complex task functionalities.
Asana offers a 30-day trial, if you’re interested in trying it out. It’s worth giving it a chance if you’re interested in organizing your projects and tasks in a slick and organized package.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Tasks displayed in Gantt charts, to-do lists, cards & calendar
- Easy to use
- Lots of integrations & API
- Confusing support ticket system
- Mediocre file management & conversation tool
Alternatives for Asana
The Asana software is dedicated to one feature: task management. Almost all of its features are centered around improving that process and developing a robust way to create and complete tasks for your projects.
There are a few features that are geared toward collaboration, as well. Asana’s file management and conversations aren’t very fleshed out, though. It’s clear that Asana spent its development time focused on its complex task capabilities.
Projects have one overarching task list that can be split into sections. Most of its views are just different ways of displaying this same task list for different styles of management.
The first sections are a bulleted list and a card view, similar to Trello. (To see how else Trello stacks up, check out our Asana vs Trello review.) After this, there is a timeline and calendar view.
The timeline view is yet another way of organizing your tasks: by due dates rather than section. These Gantt charts display your tasks and each one’s time frame. This amount of flexibility is great for different teams that may need project management for scheduling or similar projects.
The level of detail in the task lists is where Asana really shines. The projects support both subtasks and dependencies. This means that your task can have its own task list, and so on, indefinitely. You can also link individual parent tasks so one depends on the other, which isn’t offered by competitors such as Podio (read our Podio review).
Each task has a due date or range of due dates, as well as an assignee, which is a standard detail for most task management software. Asana also offers custom fields in each task. This allows you to store any information you would like, even dropdowns with specific options.
This is great if you want to add a field for how many hours a task takes, its priority level in your projects or any other value you may find important to note. Once you’ve added that, you can use Asana’s menus to filter and sort tasks based on the field.
Each task can be a milestone, as well, and you can even turn a task into its own project if it’s becoming too large to handle as a single task. In Asana Business, every task can contain an approval process to further streamline your organization.
Asana’s rule functionality is another great feature for streamlining. For example, every task can be marked as “complete,” but maybe you’d prefer to just move all completed tasks to one column in your project’s board. It’s simple to add a rule that will mark a task as complete once it’s moved to that column.
This is also where Asana’s integrations work well. Project management works smoothly with email clients and communication platforms, such as Slack. This lets you set rules within your projects, such as moving a task to another section once you’ve sent a certain email.
Asana’s “forms” feature is another robust way of adding tasks to a project. When an end user fills out a form, it automatically creates a task with all the necessary information attached to it. This is open not just to team members, but to anyone who has the link to the form.
Each question can be linked to custom fields in a project and can be marked as required or not. These settings make it easy to use a form for client requests or bug reports. In Asana Business, you can even assign each task immediately to a team member.
We do wish there was a bit more customization on these forms, though. Being able to change the background color and add a logo would be a huge improvement if you’re making a form for a client to access. Clients will be looking for your business name, not Asana’s.
Conversations & Files
It seems like Asana didn’t put too much effort into these two features. “Conversations” is the only communication feature that Asana offers, and it’s surprisingly simple considering the complexity of the rest of the Asana app.
Each conversation is simply a post by one of your team members in a chronological list shared by the entire project. There is no sorting, archiving or searching. However, you can add attachments and comment on each conversation, as well as tag team members.
Asana’s file storage and management for its projects is similarly simplistic. It is a grid of attachments from across the project, including the conversations, the tasks and milestones.
Although each file is labeled with its origin, there is no context for any of them, such as the description of the task or the content of the message it was attached to. Asana is sorely missing some actual file management tools here.
Both of these features exist, but clearly Asana didn’t put much effort into making them usable. They are simply there to supplement the task management system, not as a main communication or file storage system.
If you need to store a lot of files for your projects, check out our guide to the best cloud storage for teams. Cloud storage software has more functionality because its focus is only on file storage and organization, and Asana just doesn’t cut it.
Asana integrates with a staggering variety of software. You can integrate your task management with your email, calendar, time-tracking app, file storage and more. We counted more than 75 integrations with other software.
In addition to these integrations, Asana’s API is available for developers who would like to create their own tools for their projects. It even includes an in-depth guide to its use.
Asana Features Overview
- Dependency management
- Custom backgrounds
- Other customization options
- Unlimited Team size limit
- Unlimited GB Storage space
- Credit Card
- Accepts cryptocurrency
- iOS, Android
- Free Trial
- Two-factor authentication
- TLS 1.2 (transit) Encryption
- Type 2 SOC certification
- Live chat
- Email / Contact form
- Phone support
The Asana pricing scheme, like a lot of project management software, is based on how many users you need. Each tier can be scaled up and down as necessary. Asana Premium is $10.99 per user per month, and Asana Business is $24.99 per user per month.
These prices are on par with competitors such as Wrike (see our Wrike review for more). However, the pricing is completely middle-of-the-pack for project management software. Asana falls far behind software such as Freedcamp when it comes to price, but check out our Freedcamp review to see what you lose in exchange.
Asana does offer a free plan, but you lose almost all the features that make it worth using. Asana Premium introduces dependences and custom fields, which are both very important for complex task management. If you’re looking for a great free option, check out our Trello review.
Asana Business is better for larger companies that need management features, such as manager approvals and portfolios. We don’t think the price hike is worth it, though. You’re better off with Asana Premium, which sits in the sweet spot.
Asna Free Trial
Asana also offers a trial version so you can use it yourself. We weren’t a fan of having to enter our credit card information to access the trial, though. The pricing also defaulted to a yearly rate, ensuring a user would pay a hefty price for forgetting to cancel.
However, the software is good enough that it’s worth checking out its 30-day free trial, even with the credit card issues.
Asana is incredibly intuitive, for all of its details and capabilities. Signing up is as simple as verifying your email. Once you have an account, it leads you through a few questions to help determine what tools you might need for your projects.
Asana’s UI has a lot of information on it, but it manages to not look too cluttered or difficult to use. All the menus are gray and in a smaller font so the main content pops out on the page.
There are at least four different ways to do the same thing in Asana’s application. It’s a wonder that everything made sense intuitively, with only a few hiccups. Asana has done a great job making a complex tool for projects that’s easy to use.
The versatility of the tasks, subtasks and sections makes Asana easy to navigate. There are no limits to how deeply tasks can be nested or linked, which can get complicated but also gives you complete freedom. For a different look at task organization, check out our LeanKit review.
The timeline view is where Asana’s intuitive nature really shines. Making one task a dependency of another is simply a matter of clicking and dragging a dot on the side of the task. Editing the details of a task shows up in a sidebar, giving you context for your editing.
You can make a new task in a timeframe by double-clicking anywhere on the timeline view. This is much like TeamGantt, but you should read our TeamGantt review to see where the key differences lie.
To help organize the flood of data, Asana also has a lot of tools to sort and filter the tasks so it shows only the most important ones. You can filter based on any field or by due date, and even use those views as your default view.
This allows team members to limit their view to tasks assigned to them. The ability to filter on custom fields makes the possibilities endless. Every task can even be marked as “complete” by its assignee for further personalization of your project view.
Security & Privacy
Overall, Asana’s security and privacy is fairly impressive, especially for project management software. It is SOC 2 Type 2 compliant, which means it’s been audited by a third party for security. Asana also participates in a bug bounty program, so that it can quickly find and fix any exploits.
Most of the information that Asana gathers is straightforward and necessary for its service. It is a bit strange that Asana collects your location data, though. None of its features need location data to function, so it may be collecting this data for its own use.
Of course, the proof is in the evidence, and we weren’t able to find any breaches in Asana’s security system or losses of personal information. The security controls are clearly effective enough to protect the client’s data so far.
We would like it if Asana had two-factor authentication, though. Much like Smartsheet, Asana offers an integration with OneLogin, but it doesn’t natively support two-factor authentication. Check out our Smartsheet review to see how the two project management tools differ.
Two-factor authentication protects your accounts by requiring you to enter code sent to your device in order to log in. This ensures that hackers who may have your password can’t use it to log in to the service. For more information on the importance of this protection, read our two-factor authentication guide.
GDPR and CCPA
Asana is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, but only for those it’s legally required to cover. Some project management companies, such as Basecamp, use the same GDPR- and CCPA-compliant privacy rights for everyone (check out our Basecamp review for more).
One aspect of the GDPR — the “right to be forgotten” — is offered to all residents of Europe and Asana’s Enterprise-level customers. Encryption at rest is similarly also limited to Enterprise users. It’s a little strange to have privacy policies that depend on which plan you’re on.
Service & Support
Asana’s support is easy to reach and the knowledgebase is well designed. Its forum is also unusually helpful. However, actually getting to submit a ticket is like navigating a labyrinth. As long as you don’t need to talk to a human, you’ll love the support it offers.
The knowledgebase has articles on anything you might need to know about every feature that Asana offers. You can browse it by topic, or by telling support what you’re having problems with or what you would like to use.
There’s also a series of video tutorials that are split up into “courses” in its academy. If none of these can help you, Asana’s forum sees dozens of posts a day, which is more than most support forums and pretty impressive.
Asana does have a ticket system, but it feels like the company really doesn’t want you to find it or use it. The only way we found to access it was to navigate through the self-help system. Even then, some of the results wouldn’t allow you to send a ticket at all, only visit the Asana forums.
Asana has put a lot of work into its knowledgebase and public-facing support, such as forums, so it’s frustrating that it fails in basic ticket support. It may be expensive to maintain support for software, but being able to talk to a human about your issue is necessary at times.
There are no details on its website about the hours of this support, but we tested it out after business hours on a Friday and received a message that the office was closed. Asana’s ticket system needs a lot of work to keep up with other project management software.
Asana is a great product for the management of projects and tasks. It packs a lot of features in a slick-looking package. With a good security background and reasonable pricing, it’s one of the best choices for project management software.
However, its ticket system is really unnecessarily hidden. It also lacks a lot of comprehensive project management tools. For example, its conversation feature is far too simplistic to use on more complex projects.
Do you like Asana? Do you use Asana to manage your own projects, or do you avoid it like the plague? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading.