Asana vs Trello: Clash of the Project Management Tools

Project management is a complex and often tedious process that can be handled a lot easier with the right tools. If you manage to find a tool that works for you, you’ll start seeing improvements in your project management processes in no time.

If you’ve ever been on the lookout for project or task management software, be it for a large-scale business project or planning your home decoration, you most likely have come across Asana and Trello – two of the most well-established project management apps on the market.

You can decide which software is best for you by comparing the price, features, integrations it offers, and so on. The following comparison should assist you in making an educated and simpler decision.

Asana vs. Trello: The Similarities

As project management tools, bothAsana and Trello have the same base functionalities. Some of these features are:

While the base functionalities are pretty similar, there are a lot of features & details that make the tools stand apart…

Asana

Asana Board vs Trello comparison

Asana’s Pros

Asana’s Cons

Asana overview

Asana is an app that tackles project management with a task-based approach. It provides collaboration opportunities at every stage of the project lifecycle. In Asana, every team is created for a certain project and projects are represented as a group or list of tasks.

Each task can also have multiple subtasks within it. Imagine having several milestones within your project, each marked by the completion of the main task, and all the steps necessary to get to that milestone within the task are the subtasks included.

Once the tasks and subtasks which make up a project are created in Asana, you can add descriptions, tag relevant team members, attach documents and even comment on your created tasks along the way. Asana takes a lot of weight off communication and file sharing in projects involving big teams.

Project Management with Asana

When deciding to use or try out Asana, you usually begin by dividing everyone in your organization into teams. An “organization” in the app refers to everyone with whom you share the same email domain and is on Asana.

When getting started with Asana, the recommended approach is creating a few tasks to assign to those teams or individual team members and getting a feel of the app itself. Tasks can exist independently or be added to projects. In the app, a “project” is essentially a group of related tasks.

With Asana, tasks are assigned to an individual user – making sure it is clear who’s responsible for every step of the project, when a task should be started, and when it is due. Tasks can also be organized into sections and columns depending on how a company’s workflow is structured.

Asana dashboard vs Trello comparison

Asana gives you the opportunity to outline task dependencies or in layman terms, to show which tasks are related and how exactly they affect each other. This is a great tool for project planning and project management as it potentially eliminates due date delays.

The app also gives you the opportunity to create comment-only projects, this way, team members are not given access to edit tasks in a project and can only comment below it. This can potentially help in avoiding unintentional user errors, such as deleting sensitive information.

Asana also allows you to share project data with “guests” such as collaborators, freelancers etc. that are not directly linked to your organization.  It also permits you to limit access to teams or projects – allowing your confidential work to stay as private as you intend it to be.

A tiny but refreshing detail in Asana is the ability to color-code tasks, you can use this to signify importance or simply to create a more appealing dashboard.

Projects and tasks are generally in the form of to-do lists which makes asana great for projects involving many steps. However, although Asana is famously a text-based application, it recently incorporated Kanban (sticky note-type) boards which can be used together with the lists to get the most out of its capabilities.

Communication in Asana

With Asana, users have the opportunity to create “team pages” – this is a combination of all your team’s projects, conversations, and announcement, a lot like the “groups” function on social media sites but customized to suit project management needs.

Another feature Asana boasts of is the ability to add people on to projects as “followers”. A potential user of this would be a stakeholder or manager that wants to track the progress of the project but does not have a direct role in the execution itself.

Said stakeholder, as a project follower, would directly receive relevant notifications with task updates that are of concern to them.

Asana’s Client Support

The level of customer support provided by Asana varies depending on the plan of the program in use. There is a guide which covers most of the basic information needed to use the app provided on the site for freemium and non-users alike. Free trial users can also contact customer support team for help.

Moreover, the three levels of customer support depend on your plan, as follows:

Asana Pricing

Asana pricing

Freemium Version

Asana has a free version with no credit card details required. This is available for teams of up to 15 users. The free version of the app, however, only includes basic and limited features.

Although you can have as many tasks, projects, and conversations as necessary, you will likely need to upgrade to premium if Asana becomes your project management suite of choice as a lot of the added benefits Asana offers are only available in the premium plan or higher.

Premium Plan

Asana’s premium plan is billed per member per month. The pricing starts at $9.99 per member but smaller businesses are usually eligible for a discount.

The premium version provides a lot more features than the free version – such as task dependencies, bigger teams, external guest permissions, file creation and sharing integration and many more. The premium plan would be the best option for small and medium business.

Enterprise Plan

The enterprise plan is, as the name suggests, targeted toward bigger companies with the means and necessity for a more powerful tool and significant customer and technical support. A starting price for the enterprise plan isn’t publicly available and is formed based on the specific needs of an organization.

Who is Asana for?

Although Asana can easily be used within an organization of any size, it is best suited for medium and large-scale projects. Using Asana for a very small project is usually an overkill – especially when a project involves less than five tasks (and subtasks combined) and is supposed to be completed in a very short amount of time.

Asana is best for projects that involve multiple people and various steps over a relatively long period of time.

Trello

Trello’s Pros

Trello’s Cons

Overview of Trello

Trello is a project management app that incorporates a Kanban style. Imagine a digital sticky note board divided into a few sections signifying the current status of each step identified on the sticky notes, an example of this is the classic “to do, doing and done” sections.

In Trello, a board is a combination of cards (such as the “to do, doing and done” lists), and projects are essentially organized and divided into these cards.  It gives you a very visual representation of the whole project at hand.

When it comes to complexity, Trello solves this issue for you, as it works a lot faster than other more heavily-loaded tools. It lets you track changes made in real-time, therefore giving you a better opportunity to manage your team, avoid potential problems, and have a day to day knowledge of your project’s processes.

If a card on a board is moved you will see this happening regardless of what platform you are accessing the app from instantly. This eliminates the need for minor and oftentimes redundant communication.

Project Management with Trello

Trello’s design is aimed at simplicity and can be customized based entirely on your team’s needs. Your app’s dashboard has the potential to show the progress that has been made and what is yet to be done.

As with any project management app, Trello provides the opportunity to create teams that contribute to certain projects. This is used to group people and make sure that everyone responsible for a certain stage of the project lifecycle is included.

Boards can represent entire projects and cards can be filled with tasks and subtasks within them. Imagine a Trello board the same way you would a whiteboard on which you place your sticky notes.

The sticky notes themselves are represented by “cards” in Trello. These cards can include a title, images, comments, and even checklists. Oftentimes, users consider cards as the main task, goal, or milestone and use lists within the cards to outline the necessary subtasks.

Collaboration on cards is easy and different members can be assigned several items on a list. For these purposes, you can use the @mention feature to notify team members when their input or action is required. Within the cards, you can also include due dates for every item.

Another useful feature on cards is the ability to add labels – this can come in very handy when using the search tool to find a card or task.

Communication in Trello

Trello has various modes of board visibility – they can be private, public, or team visible. The team visibility option gives everyone on an assigned team the opportunity to collaborate and provide input on the cards they are assigned.

Communication and collaboration in Trello are a lot easier than in other apps as members can gain access using solely their email address. Members can also choose to “watch” a board and subsequently get notified when tasks are completed – this is especially helpful for team and project managers.

Customization

When it comes to customization, Trello is almost like a blank surface that becomes what you choose for it to be. You can use it as anything ranging from a basic Kanban board (To-Do, In Progress, Done) to a sales funnel (to-contact, contacted, call set-up, etc.).

Power-ups in Trello

Trello power-ups and integrations

To get the most out of Trello, members usually have to consider incorporating what the app calls “power-ups”. These are features and integrations that allow Trello to be much more than a sticky note board. Ultimately, these power-ups transform each board into an almost independent application with extended features.

You can enable power-ups and integrate with third-party apps such as Zendesk, Salesforce, Evernote and many more. These can also be used to make reporting, tracking, controlling and monitoring much easier than they would be if manually tackled.

There is also an option to create your own power-ups that fit your organization/project better.

Trello Pricing

Trello pricing model

Free version

Trello has a free version which like Asana, does not require any credit card information. The freemium version offers an unlimited number of boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, and attachments.

It also allows for up to 10 MB of content attached directly from a computer. However, power-ups are limited to one per board which may be a problem for projects needing multiple integrations.

Business Class

Trello offers a business class plan, priced at $9.99 per user per month, which increases attachable files capacity to 250 MB and provides unlimited power-ups (and integrations).

The Business Class version provides an added level of security, enables more visual customization and guarantees quicker responses from customer support.

Discounts are available for registered non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

Enterprise

Lastly, Trello also offers a version for larger companies which is priced at approximately $21 per user per month (when paid annually). This version provides an upgrade on the business class,  it is even more secure, guarantees a higher level of support and enables the management of larger teams.

Why use Trello?

Although Trello has a version aimed at larger companies, it is still impractical to use for large-scale projects as boards get messy and confusing. Use Trello for smaller or individual projects to get the most out of the software.

Conclusion – Which Software is Better?

Asana and Trello are direct competitors for evident reasons, they provide a similar service for a similar price and are both very well-known among the project management communities. However, their features do differ slightly and make each of them better suited for different purposes and different team sizes.

If you’re managing a medium-to-large scale business with numerous complex projects, Asana is the go-to. If you’re just starting off, though, Trello might be a better option. Think, if you’re a freelancer, early-stage startup, small-scale agency, etc.

About the author - Amit Kothari

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