The demand for tools for location-independent work has risen sharply in recent months. Many companies have rolled out the chat and video conferencing tool Microsoft Teams, often earlier than planned, so that employees can communicate with each other quickly and easily. Asana, the world’s leading work management tool, has also seen increased demand. 

The difference between Microsoft Teams and Asana

Many companies face the challenge of drawing clear lines between tools that, at first glance, have very similar goals, namely, to improve teams’ collaboration.

Teams is, as the Microsoft website states:

“The central place for teamwork in Microsoft 365. Easily invite others to collaborate – even on the go with chat, meetings and phone calls in one solution.”

Users can collaborate in documents, share files, make video calls and more in one tool. Companies can use Teams as a platform and customise it to their own business processes and requirements via the integrated app store.

Asana, on the other hand, positions itself on its website as follows:

“Coordinate your team – no matter where you are. With Asana, remote teams can organise projects, respond to new priorities and get their work done.”

The central benefit of Asana is focus. Many of our tools today increase the information overload. We are bombarded with more and more notifications from different sources every day. Without appropriate tools and rules, many find it difficult to focus on the really important things and therefore we are often “busy” instead of productive.

Microsoft Teams is also an additional source of distraction. Therefore, clear rules for use are essential.

Asana helps to consolidate the countless tasks and threads of action. Team collaboration takes place asynchronously and in the context of the respective objective. The strength of Asana is that companies can build and customise their own processes. On an individual level, each employee can organise and prioritise their own tasks and link them to the big picture, i.e., projects and goals.

The advantages

In short: Asana is perfect for collaborative work on tasks, projects, goals and is ideal for managing processes such as meetings or checklists. Teams, on the other hand, supports quick communication that takes place outside of projects and tasks.

It is therefore important to set clear rules so that the tools are also used for the purpose for which they were built. Things get difficult when you try to manage projects and tasks through Teams.

To get a more precise idea of these rules, we have included an excerpt from our list of conventions here:

  • Customer X has cancelled an appointment at short notice, a colleague must be informed quickly.
  • Customer Y needs information material, which cannot be found in Asana. Use teams to ask the colleague for it.
  • It’s lunch time and you want to arrange a meeting with your colleague.
  • You have a question about the leave regulation. In Teams you can ask the HR department about this.

Microsoft Teams and Asana are a powerful tool when combined.

The clear separation of synchronous and asynchronous as well as context-based communication means that information can be found exactly where it belongs, namely in the respective projects and tasks, i.e. in Asana. Questions or coordination that have to happen quickly and have no relation to projects and tasks are too “ponderous” in Asana and are therefore mapped in teams.

Sometimes, however, this separation is not possible or many tasks spontaneously form in a chat. In chat, these would eventually get lost, but the integration with Asana makes it easy to handle.

Asana introduced an update for integrating Microsoft Teams at the beginning of July and, like many others, we were delighted.

With its integration in Teams, Asana promises to increase the focus of those involved and support work continuity, no matter where one is located. As of now, it is possible to manage tasks directly through Teams.

With the new Asana integration, many important Asana functions are displayed directly in Teams. One can now:

  • Turn Teams conversations into tasks in Asana.
  • View Asana tasks, projects, portfolios and status updates within Teams.
  • Add tasks, portfolios and projects directly to teams to keep everyone in the loop
  • Search Asana tasks and projects within teams
  • View new project updates in Teams so you don’t have to leave Teams

In practice

The announced features make work easier in two tools. While with BridgeFlow we use Microsoft Teams primarily for quick communication, it is now also possible to quickly create a task that has arisen in a conversation, for example. It is no longer necessary to switch tools, just right-click and voilà, the task is ready.

The task can then be directly assigned to a team colleague, set a due date and added to a project.

Furthermore, a message can also be added directly to a task. In this way, nothing is lost and everything is in one task. The message is then inserted into a task in the form of a comment.

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An important and frequently used feature is sharing projects in teams. This is easily done by either copying the link with the Asana URL and pasting it into the conversation or by searching for the project.

By clicking on the Asana logo in the message menu, you can search for tasks, projects and portfolios and then send them directly.

Another great feature is the notification of all team members about important correlations and progress directly in Asana.

Project and Tasks from Asana in Teams

And finally, you can display entire projects in each channel:

Asana Project in Channel in Teams

Conclusion:

The new integration of Asana into Microsoft Teams allows for a combination of the best of both worlds: fast, ad-hoc communication paired with the ability to share and create projects, status updates and tasks – all within Microsoft Teams. Combined with clear rules on when to use which tool, this leads to significantly more clarity, better consultations and more transparency. As a result, employees spend less time searching for information and can concentrate on the essentials.

As an Asana Solutions Partner, we are happy to support you in setting up Asana and Teams. Please contact us for a free initial consultation.