How Asana co-creates our product with customers

At Asana, your mission is our mission. That’s why we co-create our product roadmap with our customers, and value customer feedback across the development process. As Chief Product Officer, I often get questions on how we develop our roadmap and how we use your feedback, so wanted to provide an overview of our approach to product development.

We start with our most important resource: Customers

At Asana, our customers are co-creators of our product’s story. We continually listen to feedback through our Voice of Customer and our Ambassador-only Voice of Community programs. We’re grateful to have the world’s best community, with Ambassadors, champions, and Forum members who actively contribute use cases, pain points, and product feedback. Our employees who interact with customers and community members alike submit product requests using an Asana form. Form submissions go into a central Voice of Customer project, which has automation rules to direct the feedback to the right product team depending on how the request is categorized.

This creates a two-way street, building an engaged user base who feels heard, while providing a continuous stream of valuable customer insights. We then use these insights to power our product roadmap, from conception to launch, ensuring we always prioritize customer needs.

Partners play an increasingly influential role

We’re also grateful for partners across the globe who play a critical role advocating for customers and synthesizing feedback. Whether they’re helping implement workflows, set up goals, or onboard new teams, our partners are often one step ahead in identifying opportunities to better serve our customers.

At our Work Innovation Summit in October, I had the pleasure of meeting partners like @Bastien_Siebman and @Julien_RENAUD from iDO and @Bernd_Kopin from Bridgeflow. In addition to educating us on top customer requests to address in the near term, they also shared live reactions and feedback about our product vision. We brought back a wealth of actionable insights to help refine our longer-term direction and dramatically improve our customer experience.

We envision dramatically improving our customers’ experience

The world of work is changing, including what tools teams need. Our research team consistently looks at workplace trends to understand what organizations need now and anticipate what problems will still be relevant for our customers in the future. This research informed the vision we shared at the Work Innovation Summit, where we explored the potential for AI to transform the way we work.

AI offers the ability to automate repetitive processes and reduce tedious work. But the real value of AI lies in its ability to catalyze transformative change. We see a future where AI is seamlessly integrated into every workflow and use case, helping individuals with their tactical day-to-day tasks, and helping teams and entire companies coordinate their people and resources across strategic initiatives, to deliver results faster and with less risk.

We use AI to complement our customer-centric design process

We’ve found that the magic happens when human intuition meets AI to deliver a more comprehensive product strategy. We start the process with a human-centric approach through the Voice of Customer program. On top of this human layer, we use AI to help us distill a wealth of raw input into actionable insights. This is more than just intelligent sorting—it allows us to detect trends and emerging opportunities. From there, we’ve developed a qualification process to filter these insights further, with criteria including (but not limited to) volume of requests, alignment with our longer-term vision, and market opportunities.

The outcome is a single stack-ranked list that product leaders use as the first input into our strategy and goals. Once leaders align on strategic pillars, we set goals and non-goals to provide guidance for R&D teams in developing their roadmaps.

Bold goals push the boundaries of our thinking

When it comes to setting goals, the advice I give to leaders and individuals alike is to set their sights on bigger ideas that produce much more customer value. If we settle on an incremental goal, we are also settling on an incremental experience change with an incremental outcome for our customers. If we stretch and come up with a bold goal, our plans must match and it pushes the boundaries of our thinking.

Product teams then create roadmaps that optimize for the biggest levers to produce customer value, and bring us closer to our vision for the future of work.

Human-centered design brings the roadmap to life

Once a feature or capability makes it onto our product roadmap, we initiate the “double diamond” process. As its name suggests, the framework is visualized as two diamonds that represent a human-centered design process, with divergent and convergent thinking. It unfolds in four key stages:

  • Discover: This first phase is all about understanding the problem space through relevant Voice of Customer requests, user research, and data analytics.
  • Define: Based on findings in the discover phase, we then define the problem and create a design brief.
  • Develop: This is the ideation stage where solutions are brainstormed, prototyped, and tested. We appreciate the many community members who have provided feedback on early concepts at this phase.
  • Deliver: The final phase is about refining the selected solution through further testing and getting it ready to build it into the product.

What sets the double diamond apart is its ability to balance creative exploration with laser-focused execution. It’s a blueprint for development that we’ve found to be both effective and adaptable, so teams have space for innovation.

Employees and Ambassadors help deliver a great experience

Before any new feature goes public, it must first stand the test of our own workforce—a tough crowd of Asana power users. Their keen eyes can quickly spot any inefficiencies, bugs, or other drawbacks. It’s like having a group of skilled product testers embedded in our daily operations. We take their feedback seriously, making adjustments to address any potential customer pain points. This practice, known as ‘dogfooding,’ is a rigorous, internal quality check that allows us to serve great products to our customers from day one.

We also think of Ambassadors as another line of defense in delivering a great customer experience. Through early access and beta programs, conversations with the people who use our product are irreplaceable. A beta is a pre-release of a feature to select users to try under real conditions over a period of time, in preparation for a larger-scale deployment. Beta programs often prompt final design changes as users may discover bugs or other issues we didn’t catch in the QA process.

Help us help you with context

Looking ahead, we’re honored to be on this journey with you, and encourage you to continue sharing feedback so we can improve your Asana experience. While we won’t be able to address every request, we do review every request. As product builders, it’s our job to find the best possible solutions to the most acute pains our customers are experiencing. So beyond submitting a feature request, which is a potential solution, help us help you by including details on who you are, what problem you’re trying to solve or workflow you’re hoping to achieve, and how you’re currently doing this work.

We’re grateful to our customers, partners, and broader community who continue to influence our product strategy. From conception to completion, designing our product roadmap is a mutual journey that we embark on with all of you. In doing so, we’re not merely deploying new features; we’re creating a culture that sets the stage for shared success.

13 Likes

Thank you, @Alex_Hood, for detailing to Forum members the product co-creation process Asana uses.

The volume, quality, depth, and acceleration of new features and improvements last year has been nothing short of stunning

Dedicated and impassioned Asana users regularly advocate here for their needs. We’ve seen more and more or those met, but it’s meaningful to understand the rigors of your process to see why, sometimes, a request might wait.

I can attest to Asana’s dedication having worked directly over the past 10+ years with members of the Experience Research, Product, and Development teams (in addition to close relationships with the Community and Partner teams). I was happy to honor one developer’s request to visit my home so he could debug an early Asana mobile issue on my local Wi-Fi. Each interaction renewed my appreciation for Asana’s people and process.

Thanks,

Larry

9 Likes