At Mighty Ape one of our core values is to work smarter, not harder and do more with less. As a family run business, this belief has been engrained in our company culture and defines how we like to make decisions. In the last few months Mighty Ape has moved most, if not all, of its internal communication and project management from email to Asana. We had tried numerous project management tools and apps in the past but were never able to fully integrate them into our working routines and teams hadn't fully adopted them. Asana is different. Here's how:
What is Asana?
Asana is a a web-based project management and communications app. Think of it like a to-do list for your entire organisation. Employees are organised into teams, for example we have a marketing team, there's a web development team, customer service teams and even a social committee team. Teams can set up various projects and within each project list all the tasks that need to be completed.
One of the many great things about Asana is that it gives you a holistic view of everything you have going on at an individual, team or organisational level. i.e. you can see the tasks that have been assigned to you across all projects and then plan out your week. You can see everything your teams are working on to make progress towards its goals and project deadlines. And from a management point of view, you can see everything each team is working on and how much progress is being made.
Each task in Asana is given a due date and assigned to a team member. You can only assign a task to one person – this has been done deliberately, as tasks assigned to multiple people have a far lower chance of being completed. Asana keeps everyone accountable.
Asana was started by Facebook founder Dustin Moskovitz so it's no surprise that you communicate in Asana similar to how you would on Facebook – by making comments. Under each task, team members can make comments, like each other's comments and tag team members. This is where all internal communication is now happening at Mighty Ape. We're now sending far less email than before as communication has shifted to Asana (I'll explain below why this is a good thing).
How We're Using Asana
Mighty Ape is using Asana to plan web development projects, marketing campaigns, promotions, category launches and a lot more. It sounds simple but I can't express how useful it is to establish a goal and then list everything we need to do to accomplish it. The problem with email is that a group of people have a discussion but at the end of the conversation you're often left without a clear idea of who's doing what or by when. Not only that, you may not have considered everything that needs to be completed for a project or campaign. By listing everything in Asana you're forced to think about everything that's required and make decisions around who's going to be made accountable for different elements of work.
Recently we've been planning the launch of our new Health & Beauty category and we used Asana to plan our launch campaign. Working backwards from our goal of a November 10th launch date we listed absolutely everything we needed to do for the launch including; planning our social media marketing, PR campaign, launch competitions, the first months worth of emails and so on. The tasks are delegated to the relevant team members and due dates are set to make sure the right jobs are ticked off in the correct order. This has been our smoothest category launch to date.
What Asana is Doing for Mighty Ape
With all communication happening within tasks and projects we've found that the speed of decision-making and project cycle times have both drastically improved. By optimising these two areas we're doing more work than ever before and making more effective and efficient progress towards company goals.
It's also extremely rewarding ticking off your tasks and you're made to feel even better as your team mates can see when you've completed your tasks. Asana creates visibility throughout the organisation and helps keep people accountable for their work. This inevitably helps individual productivity.
I would recommend Asana for any size business. It's made to work within small or large organisations and there are no limits on the number of teams or projects you can set up.