Trello vs Asana
Looking for a way to manage your projects? You’ve probably heard great things about both Trello and Asana. But maybe you aren’t sure which one is best for your organization.
At Sales Higher we tested several project management tools. In the end we short-listed Trello and Asana. Ultimately we decided on Trello as the best solution for our needs. But it wasn’t an easy decision. In this article we’ll look at things we considered when choosing between the two tools.
Project or Process
Before you begin, consider the possibility that NEITHER Trello nor Asana are right for your needs. Ask yourself how you plan to use them. Are you trying to manage a project or a process? Or do you need a tool that will help you manage both?
A project has a beginning and an ending. For example, if you are building a website for a client then the project is broken into milestones. Each milestone would comprise of a dozen smaller steps. When all the milestones are complete then the project is finished. Projects often use gantt charts to map out the completion dates for each step of the project.
A process is a recurring action without an end date. It’s something that is recurring in your business like creating and sharing a blog post. After the first blog post is published you begin working on the next blog post, without end.
Trello and Asana lend themselves to recurring, process-oriented work. They can be used for projects, but some companies may find them insufficient for their needs. A project management dedicated tool might be better for your requirements.
Kanban Or Lists
Trello is laid out as a kanban board. Kanban refers to a visual board designed to make the status of a project immediately obvious, at a glance. Teams map out their workflow into a series of vertical colums. Cards progress from left to right showing the project status for each action item. That sounds like a lot, but if you look at the image below, it’s pretty simple.
Given the ease kanban (and the popularity of Trello), a whole industry of kanban tools has emerged.
Asana enables users to create projects as either a List or as a Board (kanban). Lists are just as flexible as boards. They can be easily edited, moved, and personalized.
Sadly, in Asana a project can’t toggle between a List AND a Board. You need to choose which medium you want to work in when the project is created. And this becomes a permanent choice for that project.
Lists and Boards aren’t very different in functionality. Lists tend to provide more information in the available real estate. Lists compress more information into a smaller screen area. On some kanban boards the vertical columns go off the screen and require scrolling.
Another nice thing is that you can view individual task details in a split-pane. This allows you to see task details while still being able to view the project goals.
Lists are good for custom organization. You can divide the same list any way you want – by priority, time to completion, etc. Also,
If you like the kanban style work then you’ll prefer Trello.
But if you like ordering things as lists then you’ll probably prefer using Asana.
Both Asana and Trello do an amazing job of integrating with other tools. This massively expands the utility of their solutions. Users can connect with tools you are already using like Google Drive, Slack and dozens of others. In some ways you could compare integrations to the app stores found on Apple and Android phones.
Trello fans will tell you that it’s more functional than Asana because the “Power-Ups” ecosystem is partly built by 3rd party developers. They build native apps for Trello as a platform. This is a bit different than an ‘integration’ as the apps are developed only to expand the utility of Trello and have no other function.
PowerUps are available at 1 per Trello board on the free version. And unlimited if you are paying for Trello. But note that some 3rd party Power-Ups and integrations need a subscription with the developer.
One nice thing about Trello’s Power-Up limitations for free users is different boards can use a different PowerUp. You aren’t limited to a single PowerUp – just use a different board, as needed.
Depending on the tools you are already using, check which integrations are available to you. You might discover the available Power-Ups and integrations make all the difference in improving your workflow.
Trello and Asana look very different, but share overlapping functionality and application. With this in mind it’s a question of which one works best for your team.
When selecting a tool look ahead and envision the role it will play in your future organization. Companies tend to get locked into a tool because it’s hard to switch. Choose wisely!
One long term consideration is whether the paid plan is affordable? Do the price points make sense for you when you’ve outgrown the free options?
At Sales Higher we opted to use Trello. The simple, visual nature of the tool makes it easy to instantly know where a project stands at a glance.