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Ask DN: Asana for Design Projects

3 years ago from , Freelance Product Designer

I recently moved with my team from Wunderlist to Asana, since Wunderlist became to jammed as we grew. The current team consists of around 4 - 6 designers, and we all work primarily on client projects.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Kanban or anything that helps you to track the status of the tasks everyone’s working on, which is why I recreated a Kanban board by using Asana’s sections. Then, I go ahead and set up tasks for each view/flow that has to be designed, assign tags to describe the nature of the tasks (e.g. UI and UX) and create explicit sub tasks (e.g. Create wireframe). The amount of sections depends on the project, but I typically roll with

  • Backlog
  • Sprint Backlog
  • In Progress
  • In Client Review
  • To Prepare for Handoff
  • In Development
  • Shipped

Now, I was wondering what your workflow looks like and how Asana fits into it.

24 comments

  • Robin RaszkaRobin Raszka, 3 years ago

    Github+Trello+Memex

    2 points
    • Pascal Gärtner, 3 years ago

      Depends on the projects I work on, but I occasionally have to use GitHub or Jira to communicate with the client or developers. Still works perfectly in combination with Asana to give you an overview of all tasks.

      0 points
      • Robin RaszkaRobin Raszka, 3 years ago (edited 3 years ago )

        I used Asana in the past, but the UI made me angry every morning. It's hard to change your workflow but I'd highly suggest to try Trello. It's totally frictionless and has better interface.

        I use Github only as a repository (code), otherwise I have Dropbox turned into a somthing like Github for design projects with versioning.

        0 points
        • Pascal Gärtner, 3 years ago

          I hear you! Took me a considerable amount of time to wrap my head around their UI but ever since I got the hang of it, I find it very valuable.

          We use Google Apps, including Drive for storing files - Dropbox is too expensive for now and would just introduce another tool each one had to manage.

          May give Trello another shot!

          0 points
  • Saul SutcherSaul Sutcher, 3 years ago

    We use asana as well. Our processes is pretty similar to yours. Although we add in the complexity of duplicating all of our tasks via zapier in Basecamp which we use (and hate) for client facing communications.

    Asana does a nice job of giving you an aggregate of all your tasks across multiple projects and clients and allows you to see how that all maps onto a calendar.

    The team functionality for asana is crucial for separating team members across multiple clients.

    1 point
    • Pascal Gärtner, 3 years ago

      Just had once a client who has used Basecamp - most of our client communication still happens via email or calls and meetings.

      Took me some time to get into Asana, but now I do love their customisable search and shortcuts. Performance could still be better and the Dashboard more informative.

      0 points
  • iterati designiterati design, 3 years ago (edited 3 years ago )

    Have you tried Trello? If not, I'd highly recommend it.

    1 point
    • Pascal Gärtner, 3 years ago

      Yeh, I've tried Trello a couple of times but has never worked out for us. What I miss the most is a nice aggregate of all the tasks that are assigned to you across multiple projects.

      0 points
      • Jordan IsipJordan Isip, 3 years ago

        Psst...you can use Taco for that :) - I'm one of two people working on Taco. Taco can aggregate your tasks across Trello projects - but it's main goal is to aggregate across all productivity services. (eg. GitHub, Jira, Trello, Starred GMail messages etc). Essentially we want to help people prioritize across their life, instead of just a single project.

        1 point
      • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, 3 years ago

        Sure you can do that in Trello, just click on your profile in the upper right and go to "Cards". You get a list of every card assigned to you grouped by board/project.

        1 point
  • Kieran RheaumeKieran Rheaume, 3 years ago

    Flow is what we use internally at DN

    1 point
    • Pascal Gärtner, 3 years ago

      ❤️ Flow! When Chat was introduced I was stoked and couldn't wait to move away from Slack and Wunderlist. However, Slack's still superior when it comes to communication and I'm a bit worried that when we move to Flow that information starts scattering across Flow, Flow Chat and Slack.

      0 points
      • Kieran RheaumeKieran Rheaume, 3 years ago

        Agreed, you can't really beat slack at what it does best.

        But Flow has that new chat-to-task feature that helps make convo's into more concrete action items.

        1 point
  • Ix TechauIx Techau, 3 years ago

    Asana is just a todo list with grouping. Tried it at my agency and liked it at first but grew more annoyed with it over time. Also tried the Atlassian suite which is absolutely awful. The best option in my opinion is still Trello, even though I don't really like the look of it.

    0 points
    • Pascal Gärtner, 3 years ago

      Have to use the Atlasssian suite on one project, and I must say that I still haven't gotten the hang of it, especially Jira.

      Trello's certainly a nice software and have managed to improve their visual language a lot over the past years but, correct me if I'm wrong here, still lacks the ability to give you an overview of all your tasks across multiple projects.

      0 points
  • Artur Eldib, 3 years ago (edited 3 years ago )

    Never tried, but Zenhub is pretty sweet for development only

    0 points
  • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 3 years ago

    Love Asana. Perfect for design teams. We're not quite as organized as you are but I like your approach.

    0 points
    • Pascal Gärtner, 3 years ago

      We all work remotely, which makes it, in my opinion, even more important to stay organised. Though, I'm pretty that my passion for organisation drives some of my team members crazy.

      0 points
  • Gavin JonesGavin Jones, 3 years ago (edited 3 years ago )

    I'll liken Asana to Basecamp, unfair as that may be, as it's where I've got proper experience to compare. I used Basecamp at my company (12 staff) for 14 months, and whilst Basecamp is well-regarded, plus the interface is clean and simple, I'm of the opinion that this creates a false perception of quality.

    We elected Basecamp for its perceived simplicity in communication (file-upload, assign tasks, deadlines, commenting), however the interns still had trouble using it effectively in that regard. People were undisciplined about keeping comments linked specifically to the relevant task, which led to missed information and finger-pointing when things went wrong. After that, email was king again.

    From the business planning perspective, Basecamp was utterly useless. Any kind of meaningful reporting needed to be hand-cranked rather than real-time. It wasn't of any real value to anyone.

    We switched to JIRA, including the methodologies which tend to go with it. Developers are happy with the structural control this put in place. The keyboard shortcuts give them a super fast advanced-user navigation.

    The interns hate it, most of the comments can be simplified to Jira makes work look like work, rather than a colourful todo list with fun swipe gestures and playful sounds. It's UI makes it painfully clear that you're at work.

    For BI, JIRA is fantastic. The customisable dashboard gives you an at-a-glance overview of everything you're interested in at any time, and the reports enable to you respond pro-actively if projects are slipping.

    Slack is also integrated, which at least lets conversations happen in a nicer chat environment without needing to use HipChat.

    Negatives incase anyone at Atlassian is reading: 1. Open up a theme marketplace, most of the resistance is tied into the dated UI. 2. Subtask visibility/completion within sprints is horrendous. 3. The manual server setup is an arsefull of bother. Work with Digitalocean on a one-click app? 4. Replicatable task-lists would save hours of repetition. The 20 step process for publishing an audio file is the same every single time...if this worked like Omnifocus it would be such a useful feature.

    0 points
  • Adam HaasAdam Haas, 3 years ago

    I have a very similar project workflow to what you listed. Since you like the Kanban/Scrum process you should try Jira. My old job used Asana and the change to Jira at my new job has been great.

    0 points
    • Pascal Gärtner, 3 years ago

      I have to use Jira on one of the projects I'm working on. Honestly, I'm not quite fond of Jira and find their interface rather complex, but haven't used it that much yet.

      0 points