A smartphone displaying the Asana app install page in the Android app store.
Image: © wavemovies/Stock.adobe.com

Asana Flow: What you need to know about the new productivity features

18 Feb 2022

The productivity platform has introduced a suite of new tools called Asana Flow in a bid to help teams cross-collaborate more efficiently.

Work management platform Asana is one of several well-known tools that lots of workers across the world rely on. Its features help distributed workforces manage, organise and track their projects.

Early on in the pandemic, SiliconRepublic.com looked at how to get the best out of Asana (and other tools such as DocuSign, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Workspace) for remote working.

Future Human

The platform has recently released a new suite of products, called Asana Flow, aimed at making cross-team collaboration easier.

Announced earlier this week on the company’s blog, Asana Flow includes tools such as a new Asana Home dashboard, workflow reporting tools, a redesigned template library and more product integrations in its Workflow Builder feature.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

If you’re completely new to Asana, you should check out its website and have a read of its user guides to familiarise yourself with the basics.

For existing users who want to know what exactly the new Asana suite does for them, here’s a brief breakdown.

To get an insider’s perspective on how to get the best out of these new tools alongside Asana’s existing product suite, we spoke to Asana chief product officer Alex Hood. From the company’s base in California, he outlined how to make the platform work for individuals, teams and business leaders alike.

Hood said that many information workers are spending time on “things that aren’t really work, but are sort of the nonsense related to work”.

“We call it work about work. And that is trading emails where you’re talking past each other, looking for the latest plan of record, who said that they were going to do this, that and the other.

“There’s a lack of clarity on conversations that might have been had in the past. Or maybe because of a lack of accountability, you have to ping a lot of people to understand where things are in status,” he added. “Asana is basically a single source of truth of the plan of record, and who is doing what and when, up down and across an organisation.”

The platform has three different plans. The basic one is free for up to 15 users, and the premium and business plans are €13.49 and €30.49 per user per month, respectively. Prices work out cheaper if the user opts for annual billing. The company also offers a 50pc discount on its paid plans for eligible non-profits.

What’s new on Asana Home

The platform’s Home interface has received a design overhaul as well as the addition of several new features. The My Priorities tool allows users to keep track of upcoming personal work, prioritise personal projects and spot delays on projects they are involved in.

My Priorities tool on Asana. Image: Asana

My Priorities tool on Asana. Image: Asana

The People tool enables users to assign a task, send a message and view shared work with recent, frequent and favourite collaborators.

The Projects feature lets users see how their work on recent, frequent and favourite projects is prioritised in their company’s wider goals.

And the Private Notepad feature is a built-in notepad that lets users write notes, link tasks and track quick ideas without leaving Asana.

Build workflows

Asana has made enhancements to its Workflow Builder tool so that it’s easier for users to keep on top of their workflows in relation to their colleagues.

The Workflow Builder tool is being made more powerful by allowing developers to build and integrate apps into Asana workflows. New integrations will include popular tools such as Miro, Jotform and Google Drive. The first two are already integrated, while Google Drive is coming soon. They will be available in Asana’s template library along with hundreds of other apps.

According to Miro’s chief product officer, Varun Parmar, “Taking control of workflows is critical to ensuring that shifts to hybrid workplaces and asynchronous ways of working are successful in the enterprise. Deepening Miro’s integration with Asana will keep process, structure and creativity linked for organisations as they strive to innovate.”

In-app integration of Miro. Image: Asana

In-app integration of Miro. Image: Asana

Workflow reporting

Team leaders will be able to analyse how long tasks take team members to complete using the platform’s improved universal reporting feature.

The feature now includes the ability to measure and optimise workflow performance over time. It aims to help business leaders keep track of their team’s data and projects to avoid bottlenecks and time wasting.

Workflow reporting template. Image: Asana

Workflow reporting template. Image: Asana

Insider tips and tricks

According to Hood, Asana is looking to support hybrid and asynchronous work. “Instead of everybody always having to be together and share a hive mind of all the things that are going on, it can create a plan of record of the set of tasks, the context for those tasks and how the tasks actually fit together,” he said.

“And you don’t have to be in the office to have to share a mind and share oxygen to be able to work well as a team,” he said, adding that even when offices started to reopen over the last year, customers kept using Asana.

Hood explained that while tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams are handy communication platforms and Dropbox and Microsoft 365 are useful content repositories, Asana is “a coordination tool” that’s used to centralise projects and teams so they can work together.

For it to work better, the team has been working on integrating tools like Slack so workers can use these in conjunction with Asana, without having to leave the app. Hood said he uses the Slack-Asana integration function himself at least 50 times a day.

“Asana is a different way of working,” Hood added. “So, if your mental model is email and spreadsheets, you’ve got to take a leap. And sometimes that leap can be a little scary or just a little different for your team.”

For Asana newbies, Hood and his team recommend starting off slowly, before building your use up over time. “I’d say keep it simple. Start with just one use case or one set of meetings to track and then let it grow organically from there.

“What we find is that more and more with the great reshuffling of workers, particularly in tech, people care about the tools that they use,” Hood said, adding that people are more likely to continue using Asana at a new job if they liked it at a previous one. “They know that it reduces the nonsense and lack of clarity and sometimes politics of work because it is very clear who’s doing what and you get to say what you’re responsible for.

“We’re really creating a whole new category of how work actually happens, whether that’s at enterprises, small businesses, global organisations, hybrid organisations, in the office and/or fully remote.”

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading