I am currently testing several different project management software suites (e.g., Trello, Freedcamp) to help with team collaborations. I’m leaning toward Asana, but there are a few challenges I’m having difficulty overcoming for my particular use case: I’m a university professor who directs a research lab with several doctoral students who each lead multiple projects, and each of whom supervises a number of undergraduate research assistants on these projects.
Because we have .edu email addresses, we must use a Workspace and we cannot convert to an Organization. My university does not allow the creation of email addresses with subdomains, and it is against our IT policy to create an email server with new domains. As such, I cannot create multiple teams where each grad student is a Team, and their projects are nested in these Team.
To get around this, and continue to test Asana for my needs, I created a Workspace with a single Research Lab Team—in case anyone asks, I am continuing to test Asana because it is the project management software with the least compromises for my use case, with Freedcamp being a distant second place. In any case, this setup is problematic because everyone on the Research Lab Team will get bogged down with information overload as every project, task, due date, etc. is viewable and people can go in, edit, re-assign tasks, and whatnot in other projects. This looks like:
-Research Lab Team
—Grad Student #1 Project #1
—Grad Student #1 Project #2
—Grad Student #2 Project #1
—Grad Student #3 Project #1
What would be ideal is a setup like:
Organization (Research Lab)
-Grad Student #1 Team
-Grad Student #2 Team
-Grad Student #3 Team
Is there any way to achieve this setup or improve upon my current setup? Multiple Workspaces doesn’t work as my tasks are then spread across Workspaces rather than being centralized, and I cannot move tasks, research assistants or projects to different Teams. Right now, despite my setup being too cluttered, it puts all of the tasks assigned to me in the My Tasks list (which I can then organize and prioritize) and it allows me to move tasks, research assistants and projects as needed. I also thought about upgrading to the Premium plan so that I could just make certain projects Private and only invite select people to view them. While this solves the clutter issue, it opens other issues (e.g., project ownership within Asana) and my university simply won’t pay between $1,000-$2,000/year for this for me just…and just so I can assign private projects to select students.
On a side note, Asana is missing a huge potential user group due to this .edu email issue. We’re a massive user base. But, we also cannot afford these prices. Academics don’t get massive discretionary funds, we’re often constantly applying for research grants to fund our research, and university funding is being cut dramatically all over the world. The median discretionary budget of a university faculty member is $0 so the academic/non-profit discount is nice but doesn’t really help much when we have close to $0 in organizational funds to spend.
It would be nice if even more affordable options were provided to educational users. For instance, the premium plan is $10/month/member. For educational users, I think $10/month irrespective of the member number is fair and reasonable. Or, if Asana gave us this software for free for educational use then they could request that we note on our university webpages or scholarly presentations (e.g., conference presentations) that we use Asana—note: lots of services do this (e.g., DataCamp). So while this option might seem cheap, it’s basically very cost-effective marketing at the same time.