Organizations work best when everyone on the team has clarity on the company’s mission, objectives, projects & strategic initiatives needed to achieve those goals and responsible members for individual tasks. The biggest thing slowing down teams today is the fact that they spend more time coordinating work than actually doing it. According to Asana Anatomy of Work Index 2019, teams generally spend around 60% of their time coordinating work and around 40% on the strategic and role-specific work that drives results for the business. Imagine how much faster your team could perform if you could increase that number. This is where Asana and Asana Timelines come in handy.
Asana is one of the pioneers of Work Management. It helps you give your team a clarity of plan, process, and responsibility. An Asana Timeline helps you plan your project with realistic deadlines. It also helps you spot conflicts in timings and accordingly make changes in the plan for a smooth workflow.
This article will introduce you to Asana and Asana Timeline. It will provide you with the key features of the Asana Timeline. It will also provide you with a step-wise comprehensive description of creating an Asana Timeline for your project.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Asana
Asana is a Project Management solution that improves Team Collaboration and Work Management. With Asana, you can plan and manage team projects and tasks to increase productivity. It allows all the team members to have easier communication as it displays all the tasks a team member is working on. This makes it easier for everyone to follow the plan and do the right thing at the right time. It also allows you to track each of your team member’s progress and accordingly manage your workflow.
In Asana, you can set the goals of your team and create a timeline to achieve those goals. When you manage your work in Asana, you have the freedom to organize your projects in a way that is best for you and your team. This helps your team to focus on the most important tasks with less effort.
Asana runs on the Work Graph Data Model which provides a fully connected, accurate, and up-to-date map of the work happening in your organization. It represents all the units of work like tasks, ideas, goals, agendas, relevant conversations, files and status information, etc.
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Introduction to Asana Timeline
A simple project can quickly get complicated if the workflow is not organized properly. Moreover, there is always room for things to off-track when you are working with a team. This is where an Asana Timeline comes to your aid.
With Asana Timelines, you can create a perfect plan for your project in minutes and all your team members can see how everything needs to be done. You can share an Asana Timeline with your team members, seniors, friends, family, etc. By sharing the Asana Timeline, your whole team stays on the same page. Asana Timeline provides flexibility to your plans which allows you to alter the plan according to the need of the hour. Moreover, all your team members can also see these alterations and work on them accordingly.
In the image, people have been assigned different tasks and for each task, a tentative time period has been determined. The tasks assigned have been divided into various departments. The arrows in the image describe the flow of the timeline and dependencies which makes it easier to understand the workflow and helps in avoiding future conflicts or confusion.
Asana Timeline is easy to set up, and more importantly, it is useful in helping you stay on track as your work progresses. Gone are the days when someone has to E-mail every member of the team and explain each isolated piece of the plan. Asana Timeline puts tasks right on your team member’s homepages. As team members complete their tasks, the Asana Timeline updates in real-time. In case something doesn’t go according to the plan which is very frequent when you are working on a complex project then, you can make adjustments to the plan and that will automatically be reflected on Asana Timeline. Additionally, the task owners are automatically notified about the changes on Asana Timeline and E-mail.
Key Features of Asana Timeline
Listed below are the key features of the Asana Timeline:
- Mapping out your Project Plan: Asana Timeline allows you to map out your project plan and assign tasks to every individual member of your team. This helps you connect all the deadlines, decide the workflow, and fix any dependency conflicts at the beginning itself.
- Sharing your Plan: Asana Timeline gives you the freedom to share your plan with everyone including your superiors (decision-makers), shareholders, clients, etc. By sharing your Asana Timeline, you can showcase your team’s progress on the project.
- Altering your Plan: With Asana Timeline, it is easy to make adjustments to your plan, in real-time. The changes made in the plan are automatically reflected on your team member’s pages. It also notifies the task owner about the changes via E-Mail. This ensures that the project is on track at all times.
Advantages of using Asana Timeline for your Projects
Listed below are the advantages of using Asana Timeline for your projects:
- Easy Integration: You can integrate your Asana Timeline with a number and variety of third-party applications and software like Salesforce, Slack, Dropbox, Google Calendar, etc.
- Security: Asana Timeline is highly secure. Asana provides you with a built-in administration control for managing both internal teams and guests. It has permission and privacy controls and also allows you to lock down projects and change permissions to avoid any unwanted changes in your project.
- Free Access: If you have a small team (less than 15) then you can use Asana Timeline and most of its features for free. Asana provides a Basic Plan which allows collaboration with up to 15 team members and provides unlimited file storage (100MB per file).
Disadvantages of using Asana Timeline for your Projects
Listed below are the disadvantages of using Asana Timeline for your projects:
- Single Task at a Time: Asana Timeline allows you to assign a single task to a person at a time. This is to avoid any future conflicts and confusion. It doesn’t allow the person to work on different tasks in parallel.
- No Time Tracking: Although Asana Timeline has the feature that helps you track your projects and tasks, it does not provide you any solution to track the time spent by your team members working on their tasks. In case you want to categorize your team member’s work into billable and non-billable time, then you would need to integrate your Asana account with a third-party tool.
- Limited Exporting Functionality: There are times when you need to extract your Timeline. While Asana Timeline has this feature, you can only export your Timeline in JSON and CSV format and not in PDF or Excel formats which are more readable.
- Gantt Chart: In order to just use the Gantt Chart feature in your Asana Timeline, you need to pay US$10 per month per user.
- Price: Asana Timeline is free to use for up to 15 users. However, if you have a team with more than 15 members, you need to pay a good amount for their Premium, and Business Plan. It charges US$13.49 per month for Premium Plan and US$30.4loos9 per month for Business Plan. There are various other Project Management tools that charge less and provide the same features.
Steps to Create an Asana Timeline for your Project
Follow the steps below to create an Asana Timeline for your project:
Step 1: Create a Project Roadmap
In this step, you need to create a project brief to align all the requirements of stakeholders or clients in your plan. Here, you need to determine the goals, timeframe, and key milestones for your project.
Step 2: Create a To-Do List
To have a successful Project Timeline, you need to create a to-do list. This list will include everything that needs to be done throughout the project planning process like reports, events, etc. Any task that you think is necessary for your project completed on time and within budget will go on this list.
Step 3: Estimate How Much Time Each Task Will Take
Once you are done with the to-do list, you need to allocate an estimated amount of time each task will take to complete (be realistic in this step). This step will help you properly plan and sequence each task, and create a Project Roadmap.
Note: Give your team enough time to get tasks completed while staying within your overall time frame.
Step 4: Map Out Dependencies
In Project Development, some tasks are worked on simultaneously to speed up the development process. But at the same time, there are tasks that cannot be started or completed until another task is finished. Such tasks are known as Dependent Tasks. In this step, you need to map out such dependencies and adjust timing and resources conflicts in your Project Timeline. This helps you avoid future surprises and delays.
Step 5: Create your Asana Timeline
Follow the steps below to create your Asana Timeline:
- Enter your project tasks in a list.
- Add Start and End Dates to each task as shown in the image below.
- Add a Task Owner for each task as shown in the image below.
- Draw Dependencies between the tasks.
- Click on “Timeline” for the Asana Timeline View. This will translate your list into a Visual Timeline as shown in the image below.
Step 6: Share your Asana Timeline with your Stakeholders
Although this is an optional step, it is a good practice to share your Asana Timeline with your Stakeholders as it gives them a brief overview of the Project’s Timeline and makes it easier for them to suggest changes (if need be).
Asana Timeline makes communication easier with your team members and allows you to keep track of their progress. You can start using Asana Timeline for all your projects irrespective of their complexity. This article provided you with a comprehensive overview of the Asana Timeline and its key features. It also provided you with a step-wise description of creating an Asana Timeline for your project.
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