Asana or Trello — which should you use?
TL;DR — both tools are great, it’s up to personal preference, but if you want to find out their strengths and weaknesses read on.
Asana and Trello are very popular project management tools. Both have great UIs, both are designed for teams and both have large followings of devoted fans. But they both take very different approaches at project management. So which one is better for you?
Asana — quick intro
The basic premise behind Asana are lists. You start by creating a Team and inviting your co-workers. The highest entitiy in a Team is a Project and you put your list of tasks into projects.
This is how we use Asana at Cloudo. We have a project called In Progress where we put all tasks from the current sprint, Upcoming are tasks from our roadmap and Backlog contains tasks that have not yet been put on our roadmap. We also have a separate project for Bugtracking and Ideas.
The right panel contains your list of teams, team members and projects. The middle panel has a list of all the tasks belonging to a project and the left panel contains details for the selected task.
What does a task look like?
Each task can have multiple attributes assoiciated with it:
- Assignee — the person responsible for completing the task
- Description — more details about the task
- Tags — they allow you to give your tasks a secondary structure from projects. For instance we have a tag called Growth where we put all tasks associated with our growth efforts, no matter what project they belong to.
- Due date — you can give a tasks a due date and it will appear in the Today section of your Dashboard on the date it’s due (more on the Dashboard later).
- Sub-tasks — each task can have a set of sub-tasks linked to it. Sub-tasks have the same attributes as tasks.
- Attachments — you can attach files from your computer or from Dropbox, Goolge Drive and Box.
- Followers — apart from assignees, tasks can have followers, which get updates about the tasks (new comments, new due date etc.)
- Comments — team-members can leave comments bellow each task
The dashboard view is your private space to plan out your tasks. This is unique to each team member. It’s divided into Today, Upcoming and Later. You can drag and drop tasks between these categories as you work through them.
Trello — quick intro
Trello is much more visual than Asana. The basic component is a board (projects). Each board containts lists (categories) and cards (tasks or ideas). Trello draws from the Kanban methodology that has become very popular in project management.
By default Trello gives you three lists in each newly created board: To Do, Doing and Done. You can change this as you wish. This is one of the cool things about Trello — it’s super flexible.
Each card can have the following attributes:
- Description — giving more details about the card
- Members — you can add as many members as you need
- Checklist — this is optional and items in checklists are equivalent to tasks
- Due date
- Attachments — you can upload directly from your computer or from Dropbox, Google Drive, Box or OneDrive
Asana’s pros & cons
- Lists — helps you keep structure in your life
- Dashboard — motivates you to organize your day and thing about what you want to get done today
- Recurring tasks — Asana allows you to easily create sophisticated recurring tasks (you need to hack Trello to get that)
- Tags — allow you to give your tasks a secondary structure
- Email integration — this is great for when you need to create a task out of an email
- A slick mobile app
- There is no “visual view” — while lists are great for keeping structure, a visual view is great for planning and seeing progress
- You can only assign one person to a task
Trello’s pros & cons
- Visual — gives you a great overview of where you are at within a project
- Flexible — cards are designed in a way that they don’t need to be tasks necessarily. This gives you a lot of flexibility as to what you can use it for.
- Great mobile app
- Public boards — sharable and viewable by anyone
- Tasks can only be associated with one board/card, there are no tags as in Asana
- Labels are limited in number
- The email integration is not as good as in Asana
- There is no personal view of tasks and ability to organize your day
As we hinted in the intro, it all comes down to personal preference. It’s always a good idea to test out both products in your team setup. At Cloudo, we’ve settled with Asana and are happy. With that said, we do lack the visual abilities of Trello. So there you have it — you can’t have it all!
A quick tip
At Cloudo we try to build tools that simplify your everyday life. One way we are doing this is through our Asana & Trello integrations. With Cloudo you can quickly add a task to both tools just by pressing a hotkey and hitting enter. We also display all your tasks for the day and we search across both apps as well as many others. You can find out more at cloudo.co
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