How to use Asana (COMPLETE GUIDE)

I focus on clarifying misconceptions that business leaders encounter. Often I speak about jargon and how it distracts from the results. One topic that I wanted to focus on today is organizational effectiveness. Management must retain employees. Losing talented employees continually is the quickest way to destroy your business’s profit. It takes a long time to recruit, interview, and train new employees. 

Common employee frustration that is within your control include:

  1. Micromanagement
  2. Miscommunication
  3. Lack of clarity around priorities and steps to execute

When your employees aren’t happy, that’s bad for business. Their frustration rubs off on customers or clients and may alter their experience. It is critical as a business leader that you provide your employees with the independence and freedom required for them to thrive. Trust is much easier to build with the proper systems and processes. This blog will focus on Asana, a project management tool I’ve come across. 

Asana is free for up to 15 users (sign up here – www.asana.com). Allow me to sell you a little on the premise behind adapting this project management tool. While I note these benefits will not be immediate

  • Standardization – the business will adopt a consistent practice to operate.
  • Enterprise collaboration – significantly decrease the volume of emails and store all attachments in a single platform.
  • Knowledge Management – Increase the likelihood that everyone is “on the same page” when bringing on new team members.

There’s a caveat to achieving these benefits. You should never fully switch to a new way of operating just because you like what you’re hearing. The switch requires planning, feedback from participants, and, most importantly, patience. Here are three keys to success that will help you implement Asana across your business.

  1. Start small – Amazon is famous for experimenting in small teams. Do you have 3 or 4 employees who are tech-savvy and curious? Ask them if they’d be open to using Asana for a project such as a marketing campaign or technology project.
  2. Listen to your staff – Probe them on what they like and what they don’t. Leverage Zapier to automate the repetitive, remedial tasks that they don’t like doing. Create innovative zaps to create a task when you receive an email to your Gmail sales email. 
  3. Incrementally add teams – Different teams will require different approaches. The Kanban board may work for one team but not another. With the help of your staff, you can figure out what works and what doesn’t. 

The process may take six months or years, depending on how large your business is. A key benefit briefly discussed above that merits additional discussion is the concept of knowledge management. Organizations that can transform into learning organizations are better able to serve their customers and clients. Business leaders can extract operational insights, such as understanding how teams are spending their time. The implications of understanding this are huge for hiring and powering growth. Operation teams may be spending too much time on manual tasks. Wouldn’t you like to understand whether there’s an opportunity to automate work that your staff views as limiting and degrading? Employees have the desire to do work that interests them. You give them a better chance to achieve when they aren’t spending their time on administrative tasks. 

Let’s briefly run through my favorite features. 

  • Personalization allows your employees to have fun with it. They can add an avatar or upload a picture of themselves. Add images to kanban cards or one of the several animations provided by Asana. Choose different colors for other projects to find what you need faster. You can also very easily customize your swim lanes or stages.
  • iPhone and Android alerts through the Asana app allow teams to have discussions in real-time. You can add pictures, attachments, and many other artifacts that help the team’s productivity. Using comments benefits everyone because the entire stream of consciousness will be in a single place, reducing chances that important thoughts are stored in email. Emails were an innovative form of communication in the 90s. Today’s innovative technology is iPhone or Andriod notifications. Take advantage of them.

Final word… Product leaders around different industries are increasingly evolving towards data-driven models. Without a centralized location to track & store product feedback, support tickets, and defects it becomes very difficult for organizations to react and build the features their customers need. It may take time to build a sophisticated data-driven model but it will be worth it. 

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