Asana, a software company working to help companies shelve email and work more cohesively, has brought a key new feature to its service, adding dynamic calendars to its mix of tasks, projects, and teams.
As a service, Asana operates around tasks and who they are assigned to. Instead of having a number of individuals attached to a single task with a due date, one person is its designated executor. The company’s view is that too many cooks means no one gets soup, so it forces companies to focus on precisely who is the point person for any specific task.
If you haven’t played with Asana before, its interface is built around teams and their current set of tasks. Updates and the like are collected in an inbox, and the system revolves around the idea that email is essentially dirt for task-based assigning and teamwork. Given my personal anti-email stance, I like Asana’s bent.
While Asana is a neat tool for helping teams apportion work and collaborate on tasks granularly, it lacked a visual way to map — graph, even — a team’s tasks. So, the company built a calendar function into its product.
Calendars are not new. Nor are they very interesting. (Your Google Calendar, I trust, is more cause of stress than relaxation.) But Asana created a calendar function that is dynamic and sortable. What that means is you can graph a full team’s tasks or slices of it. So, I could map the tasks of just two members of a team’s set tasks, and so forth.
The calendars also auto-update to new information that is input elsewhere, keeping them constantly up to date with data in the manner of your choosing, splayed across and infinitely scrollable user interface.
Asana walked me through the product, and though I don’t work in a team-based environment in the way their product is designed to, it appeared downright slick.
The above is more positive than my usual fare — I apologize — but frankly I like Asana’s vision: Less email, more collaboration, and no hiding.
Inherent to the Asana product is responsibility – a user is responsible for a specific set of tasks in a very public way. And, given that deadlines are public as well, I suspect that shirking goes down among teams that buy into what Asana is selling.
In sum, Asana improved its product measurably today. And if that helps it combat email, I’m on board.
Top Image Credit: Flickr