The Future of Asana: Co-founder Justin Rosenstein shares our vision

Regarding Asana and Instagantt:

Most important question first: yes, @danielguajardok knew that our Timeline feature was being developed, and worked closely with @Jeff_Schneider and even some with Justin. I know that Daniel saw some preliminary mockups very early and working with Daniel was extremely helpful in creating some of our API features. In fact, the start date data model in the Asana product was shaped by Daniel’s experience and feedback from Instagantt, so his DNA is present in Asana itself!

We definitely noticed that Timeline was going to be very close to Instagantt in some ways and wanted to be as up-front as we could, and as we were headed to release Timeline we were happy to see that Daniel was moving to make Instagantt less dependent on Asana (such as developing his standalone version). This is fantastic because it not only allows for Instagantt to still be a great app for Asana but allows him to separate it from some of the restrictions and assumptions of the Asana product itself, which I know has held Instagantt back from time to time.

In general we’re strong advocates of sharing as much as we can with our developer community, doubly so when something on our roadmap will affect their apps. We really want to give visibility into what exactly we’re building so our app creators can have the time and insight into how to pivot or adjust. There are definitely challenges here, however. Some of these are obvious, such as risking sharing a roadmap that might change as we build out and test features, and others are not so obvious, like integrations we build being under another company’s press embargo. This happened with our Gmail integration, for instance, because Apps for Gmail was still under wraps on their end.

Since this is actually pretty complex and can require buy in from a lot of parties across Asana, it’s been less about following a concrete policy and more about keeping the lines of communication as open as possible on a case-by-case basis. This gives us a lot of flexibility in cases like Timeline / Instagantt, but does have the unfortunate side effect that we don’t have a hard-and-fast rule we can share for every case. Regardless, we do have a policy of “Transparency by default”, and it’s only when we feel like we’re constrained that we couldn’t be super open with our developers, and it frankly leaves a bad taste in our mouth when we have to do that :confounded:.

Finally, yes, please do build apps for Asana! Since we shared a bit of a forward-looking vision in that video, I hope it’s a little more clear where the potential and the risks are for Asana apps (for instance, I would caution against building something that looks like the product/portfolio management features that JR talked about in the video :slightly_smiling_face: ). To be clear and head off an impression that you didn’t really ask, but which we keep in the front of our minds a lot, we absolutely don’t view our app community as a source for features we might build into Asana at the expense of our developers’ time and effort. Sometimes what shows up on our roadmap (which is built from user feedback and our user research teams) ends up being in conflict with an existing app, and we always try to keep an eye out for when this might happen. I’m hoping that we can get even more open with where we’re going in the future, and as always, feel free to ask for feedback on app ideas here on the community or at devrel@asana.com. We’ll try to communicate as much as we can about whether or not an idea sounds like it might get a little to close to potential Asana functionality before our developers invest time and money into building an integration (even if we might be unable to share specific details).

Thanks!

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Hi @Erwin_Hoog_Antink! Love your enthusiasm! The best prediction we can give you about what future features will look like would be in the video you’ve watched. Seeing multiple projects in one overview does sounds like the logical option :slight_smile: Thanks for letting us know why this would be helpful for you - our product team will be glad to hear it.

Thanks. So is the Vision thing for the short/mid term? Any eta? Like early adopters would say: Give me an ETA or a bETA…

Thanks @Erwin_Hoog_Antink. Glad you like the videos!

I"m very excited about Asana’s vision for the future. I like how it’s going to provide more of a big picture of your companies goals, vision etc and how the teams and projects align with this.

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About Zooming in and Zooming out mentioned at 08:10 here are the pending request just about that, some of them are the top voted.

-Ideas/Feedback to display subtasks - #68
-Viewing all assigned tasks across multiple workspaces
A better Dashboard for high level overview
Project Folders
Collapse/Summary feature for sections
Having Collapsible Sections - #3
Indent / Collapse assigned subtasks from project-level task list (Already being done in Instagantt)

I love the idea of zoom in zoom out. It works just great. That’s why I love Workflowy/Dynalist and MyInfo. Unfortunately these are not collaborative software/service. Todoist sucks at its own UI.

IMHO, with the kind of drill-down like workflowy, you don’t need projects, sub task, team, division. Eventually they are just fancy name for a task.

Take workflowy and combine with Asana right pane comments/attachment pane. with improved permission (owner, editor, comment only) which can be inherited from the parent task to childs. that’s all. Then you can zoom in zoom out. manage tasks at different levels. using the same view. (List, timeline, board, etc)
User will have the right level they need to work on and focus on. Exactly what Mr. Rosenstein want to share.

Asana is great on search capability at the moment. with tags, customs fields, and all other fields.
But It’s still too loose. it has very thin structure to hold on pieces together. Projects and sections alone can not do that. 2 layers is just too flat.

Well, you get the idea.

Please, I think this is the first priority. not timeline. not AI. not google sync.

This is it. It will change a collaborative/ project management software, to a true content management software as Mr. Rosenstein is trying to present.

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This is where it gets scary:

Who wants their CEO (or any mid-level manager, for that matter) to sit on their desk and check whether they’re on track?

Just because the ability to drill down and check things on the frontlines exists doesn’t mean that high level executives in a company will be micromanaging people all day long. If they did they wouldn’t be where they are, OR their company will eventually fail. The idea is that if something is lagging behind, you can see why, then drill down into the problem quickly and come up with a solution. In no way would any executive of a large flourishing company waste his time “watching” you work.

My point is not about micromanaging. It’s about surveillance. For surveillance to have effects, it doesn’t require anyone to actually to check your behaviour, it suffices that it is possible that they can.

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Thanx a lot for this and the time you spent :slight_smile: happy to read it.

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I see your point… and I agree with that statement about surveillance.

But then, why does it matter? If you’re doing your job and the company you work for is even remotely decent, how is this an issue? If someone higher up sees you aren’t finishing your tasks they can lend a helping hand one way or another. If you are doing something sneaky you don’t want them to see… chances are you shouldn’t be doing that to begin with… Right? If you really do just have a fear of people watching you… maybe start your own business because I guarantee there’s plenty of people watching you already without Asana’s new features.

How is this any different than cameras in restaurants, stores, etc. They are there for both the customer AND the employee. Not having them would actually be considered reckless and foolish in those industries. Why is it taboo to have systems like that in an office setting?

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The question is: what does that mean? Who desides what tasks/actions are part of “doing my job”? People are doing their job in many different ways and that’s okay. It’s probably even a good thing. What allows people to do their job their way, perhaps to experiment a little, is that they are not held accountable for every little thing they do. Now, what surveillance does is it makes people behave according to common norms (of how you’re supposed to behave). It is taking away bits of people’s freedom. Cameras in shops not only prevent shoplifting (do they?), they also prevent me, for example, from doing other things that are completely legal but that may look rediculous, for example. I have also caught myself thinking that what I’m doing might look suspicious from the perspective of that camera and adjusting my behaviour even though I was not in the remotest up to anything bad. Surveillance puts us on a stage where we perform for others. The more surveillance, the less privacy (in the sense of “moments in private”).

Well, I guess the emphasis is on “if”. And, again: what does “decent” mean? Who defines that? And if my organization is “decent” (by whatever standards), why does that mean surveillance is not a problem?

One thing is sure: the organization itself (i.e. its leadership) will always deem itself “decent”.

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So you dont want your manager to know for fact that you’re on track? You want them to imagine instead?

I think it’s not about privacy or surveillance It’s more about transparency and collaboration.

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My mouth just dropped!!

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  1. The OKR Overview-Feature might help make our whole company switch to Asana. At the moment, we use a different tool for OKRs. And we even discussed of having to give up on Asana. In other words: For our relationship with Asana this might be huge.

  2. We love the Timeline feature. Thank you!

  3. The more one looks at Timeline, the more obvious it seems that Boards was created completely separately. The design on Timeline just seems Asana-like. It works. Whereas the design of boards does not look like Asana at all.

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Although Asana-Timeline has some nice - paradigm shifting even - features, it is worlds apart from Instagantt and not a replacement for it. Without Instagantt, Asana isn’t comprehensive enough to be a serious production management tool. Thank goodness for Instagantt!

To make Asana REALLY awesome, please check out my assessment of this recent feature and VOTE for a modification to provide the functionality as stated on the box for “Comment only” permissions.

Asana + Instagantt + above feature correction = awesome (and fun to use!) productivity management tool

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I agree, Matthew. When we first rolled out Asana, some people didn’t like the idea that the team manager could keep track of what they were doing. They didn’t understand that it was about getting a much broader overview and managing resources overall. Our manger doesn’t have the time, or desire, to keep track of every individual’s output. She just wants to know if we’re hitting the key milestones across the whole team. If not, she can quickly find out why and do something about it. We’re in a much better position as a team, now that we have actual data to back up our projections.

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I’m not going to go much further down this hole since we obviously have different ideas and won’t be changing each other’s minds. I just want to point out that the cameras are not actually there to STOP shoplifting. They do help. They do deter some people who might be on the fence. But the point of the cameras is to review the footage and figure out ways to make your store function better so that less shoplifting occurs. If all you do is stare at a camera all day and wait for shoplifters you’ve missed the point. In the same way, a good team leader/manager/executive is not going to sit and watch you to see if you’re doing your job. They will simply use information to pinpoint weaknesses, then drill down and figure out how to fix those weaknesses. The ONLY time a manager is “watching” you is if you’ve given them a reason at which point 9/10 times that’s on you (OR you’ve got yourself a bad manager and Asana isn’t the problem).

This strategy and vision gets only one comment: WOW!!!
This is truly amazing - this enterprise level dashboard from the entire company level, down to teams, to projects and tasks will take ASANA to a totally new level!
Well done!! :clap::clap::clap::sun_with_face::sun_with_face::sun_with_face:

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Hi @Alexis!! It seems amazing!!
The only thing that isn’t clear enough is the way that Asana is looking at the need of integrating with other systems.
For our team it has been a big improvement working with Asana, but still we haven’t been able to have only one workflow or at least only one way to communicate in the entire organization.
That would be great