I wonder

How many tools can Asana actually supersede?

I like reading books. Interesting books. When I find an interesting book I immediately share it with my colleagues through HipChat. An excellent book should be available to everyone and should be a necessary part of our office library. The only thing that’s left when good books are wanted is to order them. But how? I struggle between two ideas. First, the idea of buying e-books for our constantly growing company (so that anyone can access them easily), or the idea of getting the hard copies (since we all know there’s something magical about printed books).

Yesterday, I finally made up my mind and despite all the reasons mentioned above I decided to order over six printed books from Amazon. I’m a big perfectionist and I like to have things in order. I started to wonder how I could possibly track all changes within our office library. Things such who and when has borrowed what kind of books and where can one search for them. Those of you who know what I am talking about will agree with me that it’s hard to find a book that belongs to everybody. So I kept on looking for a small online library management system for over quarter-hour, but I couldn’t find any. Then I realized that I actually really love how Asana helps me keep things organized within my team.

Asana keeps track of all your tasks whether they are yours or whether you have delegated them to others. You are not visually bothered by list of tasks you have delegated, but on the other hand, Asana keeps you updated when something happens to these tasks, through instant notifications, allowing you to inform somebody who’s been waiting for your answer that it has been fixed or that he can move on. Asana really makes managing tasks you are directly responsible for easier.

As a user experience designer, I really love this mental model. It made me realize that the task is the same entity as a book ☺. When you think about it more deeply, it’s unbelievable how very flexible Asana interface can be for various situations, which you encounter with in everyday life.

Honesty and transparency, which are one of the Asana’s values, perfectly fit into using Asana as the library management system. Why? First of all, you no longer have to feel guilty for not having any idea about a book that you borrowed 6 months ago and second of all, your colleague can be looking for it simultaneously without asking anybody, why? Because Asana remembers. Asana remembers all this stuff for you.

Wondering how easy that is? Let’s take a look…

1.) Book is a task
Title of the task stands for the name of the book, and the description provides you with more detailed information about the book. To make things easier, you can upload a picture of the book to the task so that people can quickly realize it is a book that they are looking for.

2.) Assignee stands for the actual owner of the book
So if you can’t find the book in the library you know who to look for.
3.) Due date stands for the assumed return date of the book to the library
This allows the future person interested in the book to keep track on when the book will be available again. And as you already know, Asana will make sure the current owner will not forget to return the book to the library and also motivate him to finish reading it. ;)
4.) Comments are awesome
Get internal reviews about the book from your colleagues or ask them if they are actually reading the book (if not you might get a chance to borrow it sooner).☺
5.) Followers
If you are really keen on a particular book, you can get all the news about the book. Are you a bookworm? Feel free to follow the whole library project and get updates on the new books in our library.☺
6.) Sections
Asana allows you to divide books into sections (available books and borrowed books). But what’s even better — you can create your own wishlist section, where you can post books you would like to buy.☺
7.) Task pane — timeline
Feeling tired of asking people whether they have the book at home? As long as everybody honestly puts everything in Asana (or make your office manager do the job ☺), all the necessary information can be found there. You can easily track who to give the book to afterward, even if you borrowed it a long time ago.

Can you think of any disadvantages of using Asana as a small library management system? Please let me know. Feel free to share your ideas on how to replace existing tools for managing various kinds of processes in your company thanks to Asana.

P.S.: This is probably my first blog post ever. I wrote it because we have a new team member, Walter from Brazil. He made me realize I’ll have to start communicating with my team more often in English, so that everybody understands how book lending and other processes in our company work. Look forward to new books in our library guys ;)

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