Asana's new work management platform is designed to put an end to counter-productive emails, meetings and spreadsheets, enabling employees to get the most out of their work. Compelo reporter Felix Todd spoke with its head of product Alex Hood to learn more

Flat lay of business concept

Of all the complications that get in the of productivity at work, poor communication methods are among the most common – but a newly furnished work management platform has been purpose-built to combat this problem.

According to market analyst 451 Research Voice, 54% of all businesses say using modern work management tools to manage and execute their projects is key to improving their overall workforce productivity.

The Asana Business service, which already counts the likes of Nasa, Sky, Tesco and Spotify among its customers, has been upgraded with the new Portfolio and Workload features designed to cater to this need.

These are designed to enable efficient communication between teams, as well more organisation and coordination.

Asana’s co-founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz, who also co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, said: “With the introductions of Portfolios and Workload, we’re delivering meaningful progress towards enabling organisations of all sizes and industries to spend less time coordinating work and more time on the work that makes an impact.”

In an interview with Compelo, the company’s head of product Alex Hood adds: “We are all about unlocking the potential for productivity that comes with greater collaboration.

“The problem at the moment is although there’s lots of collaboration between teams, the communication methods are dated and often lead to a lack of engagement with the process, which hurts productivity.

“With our product employees remove that headache and are able to get the best out of themselves.”

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Asana has more than 50,000 paying organisations and millions of users across 195 countries – we spoke with Alex to learn more about the company and its latest offering.

work management platform
Asana head of product Alex Hood

What are the benefits of Asana’s work management platform?

The Portfolios feature of Asana’s work management platform allows every member of an organisation to access a particular project at any given time, eliminating the need to manually search for it.

It provides real-time tracking of the works progress in effort to prevent employees from stumbling across out of date areas that might hurt their productivity by leading them to repeat work or focus on the wrong areas.

Alex says: “One upside we’ve noticed for our service is an increase in employee happiness – a big problem with traditional work management systems is that they require teams to go outside of their comfort zone.

“If you’re a designer, you don’t want to be writing lots of emails, and with our tool you don’t have to.

“Our software really enables teams to get the most out of their communication, as well as it enables remote working to be more efficient, which is really on the rise.

“It creates a hub where everybody can be in constant touch, and they can do their work in real time with access to each at all times.”

work management platform

The Workload feature, set to be available in early 2019, builds on this by allowing business leaders to optimise work across teams through connecting employee skills sets and schedules according to maximum efficiency.


What Facebook co-founder brings to the table

Dustin Moskovitz left Facebook in 2008 to start his new and current venture with former Google engineer Justin Rosenstein, both of whom were tired of trying to organise their teams with endless meetings, email and chat threads, and spreadsheets.

Since then, the company has grown to include more than 300 employees and was recently valued at $900m (£700m).

“The big thing that Dustin got from his time at Facebook was understanding the important of relevance – so we’ve done a lot of work to implement that here at Asana,” explains Alex.

“Making the service bespoke is key, just like Facebook is bespoke to a user, Asana is bespoke to the customer.

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Asana co-founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz

“That’s obviously in addition to working at a massive company like Facebook.

“I think having been part of the start of social media as we know it today is also really important – that has really informed a lot of the way people work these days and we try to put as much of that into our product as we can.”


Big companies stand to gain the most from work management platform

Asana caters to many big organisations, each with various business divisions and hordes of teams spread across multiple countries.

Needless to say, this makes the task of organisation and optimisation all the more daunting, but, as Alex sees it, this is where his company’s work management platform shines brightest.

“Big organisations need clarity in order to increase their output, there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to creating effective communication methods,” he says.

“This means employees are spending valuable time not actually do the work they need to be doing.

“We came across a recent study by Mckinsey that showed employees actually spend about 61% of their time doing things that don’t actually involve their specific job, whether it’s sending emails, sitting in meetings, that kind of thing.

“Take Tesco, for example, they have so many teams all in different places that it can get it difficult to communicate effectively – the potential for increased productivity using Asana with a company like that is massive.”