As the world moves increasingly to the cloud and the number of remote workers grows steadily higher, a range of tools have cropped up to help businesses and entrepreneurs work more efficiently. These span everything from money management to HR systems, covering every base a business might need. One of the more popular services that have arisen are productivity tools, in particular Asana and Trello.
These both provide teams with a way to track projects and assign tasks with far more ease than long, confusing email threads. But these tools are both very different in how they work, and one might be more suitable for you than another, especially as a creative. Let’s run through the pros and cons to find out which productivity tool is right for you.
Why use project management software?
Many businesses now make use of project management software to keep track of day-to-day tasks, as it offers a plethora of benefits. PMS is especially useful if you run a small business with a team that works both in-house and remotely.
Project management software provides you with the flexibility to run your business in either a hands-on or hands-off style, letting you stay on top of everything without getting bogged down in micromanagement. It can also provide a better level of organization for your business, enhancing communication and keeping everyone in the loop in a central space.
Trello: the visual management tool
Trello is a visual-based project management tool that has a lot of fans (to the tune of 25 million, in fact). Modules are broken down into:
- Boards: broad spaces for different projects
- Lists: within each board are lists, denoting the different stage of each project
- Cards: bottom level modules within lists, indicating each individual task
This could work in practice by using one board for all your blog posts, separate lists for “In Progress,” “Needs Editing,” and “Published” pieces, with separate cards for each individual blog post.
Trello works with a drag-and-drop interface, and the cards can be freely moved from one list to another. Using the blog example again, once you finish the draft of the blog, you could drag the card over to the “Needs Editing” list.
Each card presents a simple basic view while it is in the list. When you click on it, you can see all the information related to the card, with the option to:
- Tag it with people who are involved (writer, editor, publisher, etc)
- Add notes providing instructions and asking questions
- Set a deadline
- Upload files
- Add labels
- Add checklists
Why choose Trello?
With a simple visual interface and intuitive drag-and-drop functionality, Trello is a popular option for creative teams. And sometimes being presented with rigid lists and incessant notifications all over the place can be distracting. Many creative minds prefer to have everything set out for them in simple columns, just like they might do with a board at home.
It’s an effective way to provide everyone on your team with a clear idea of exactly what is going on and what stage each project is at. This top-down view to project management is ideal for team leaders who want to monitor work without getting into specifics, with broad information visible at the top level. At the same time, the ability to drill down into lists and cards gives you the option to learn more if required.
The compartmentalized modules also facilitate easy communication between different teams, providing greater communication between roles. When it comes to large, complex project management, this feature is a real lifesaver.
Finally, Trello offers strong integration capabilities with a range of content management systems and ecommerce builders. A number of Shopify businesses use Trello as their go-to for project management thanks to a handy app integration, and WordPress offers a solid plugin for easy integration. For bloggers or creative ecommerce businesses, Trello might be the choice for you.
Asana: powerful project management
Asana bears many similarities to Trello in its layout, allowing you to manage teams spanning multiple projects in a single centralized location. People know what their tasks are and when they are due, and it makes it easy to follow the progress of various projects. But the way in which Asana executes this is quite different to Trello’s.
Gone are the basic boards, lists, and cards overview of Trello. Instead, users are presented with columns down the side denoting various roles, teams, and projects. There is a “My Tasks” link right at the top for a quick overview of everything on your plate. You also have an “Inbox” and a “Dashboard”. From “My Tasks,” you can see “Lists,” “Calendar,” and “Files.”
When users click on a team, they are presented with a number of possible views for each task. You could choose a “Board” view like Trello, but you can also see a “Timeline,” “Conversations,” and “Progress.” It’s a healthy variety that can be tailored to creative minds of any type.
Why choose Asana?
With such a variety of views for each project and tasks, Asana gives you much more freedom than Trello’s board view. Some users may find it more complicated, but everything is ultimately very easy to find. The minimalist, stripped-back UI means nothing is more than just a few clicks away.
As a result, it’s a highly flexible platform, and you can really use it in a way that suits you. It has a solid range of project management features to help manage and streamline projects, and the free version is a boon to small creative teams.
Adding new tasks is quick, and email integration is also excellent and intuitive. It should be said that there are lots of features to learn, and this can result in a slow successful implementation for some. Compared with Trello’s ease of update, Asana requires a little extra time — but not enough to detract from its quality and usefulness.
When it comes to integrations, you might find you need to rely on services such as Zapier to find smooth, seamless functionality. The plugins for WordPress are poorly reviewed, and ecommerce builders offer few options as well. Depending on what you’re using your project management tool for, this is a point you may wish to consider.
Of course, whenever it comes to project management tools, people will always have a personal preference. The only way to know for yourself is to try them both out. They can both be used for free with small teams, so always try before you buy.
Use them with your employees and get feedback from your creative team — there might be a clear favorite. Whichever one you choose, we’re sure it’ll be far, far better to emails.