Deciding which project management system to use for your Virtual Assistant business can be tricky. There are so many options available, both paid for and free versions, that ultimately it comes down to what your specific needs are.
- Do you need a solution to simply manage your own tasks?
- Do you have associates and need to share tasks with them?
- Do you want to share the project or task with your clients?
And so on …
I’ve used quite a few project management systems over the years. Some of which I’ve chosen for my own business but then discarded for one reason or another, and some of which I use with other clients.
We’re often being asked what software we recommend, particularly for new VA businesses, that from time to time we’ll write a review article to help give our own first-hand experience.
Today our review is on the project management software, Asana.
Of course these reviews are based entirely on our own experiences. We write them with the caveat that it really does depend on your business needs. My experience of Asana comes from using the free version, so it is far from being conclusive, but hopefully it will give you a good overview to decide if Asana is worth investigating for your own business.
Here’s what Asana offers:
These are the collective ‘group leaders’ of all your tasks and display on the main dashboard when you log into your Asana account.
For example, I use Asana for work and home life, so I’ve split my Workspaces into the following categories:
- Clients: All my clients and their specific tasks.
- Business: All my own business tasks.
- Personal: My must-do tasks outside of work that I’d otherwise forget if they weren’t written down!
You can create as many workspaces as you need, but remember the more you have the trickier the overall management will be, as each workspace has its own set of projects, tasks and overarching calendar.
If you work with associates, you may want to invite them to share your entire workspace. Alternatively, and what’s probably more likely, is that you can share individual ‘projects’ with your associates – this enables to see only the projects that are relevant to them.
Once you click into a workspace, you will need to add individual projects. For me, I use Projects as a way to split up my Clients i.e. each Client is a ‘Project’ – aren’t they always!
The benefit of adding clients within the same workspace is that you can then view all deadlines on one combined calendar, as you’ll see later. Separating clients per workspace means you don’t have the ability to view tasks and deadlines in this manner, which can slow productivity down.
And when you share a specific project with your associates or with the client directly, all communication can then be done within the project task, rather than by email, as we’ll come on to next.
Tasks are your way to manage individual requirements, or jobs, for each project.
They include the ability to add notes, deadlines, share options for associates or client, colour coding, and syncing to your own calendar.
And probably most importantly, they allow you to include a communication method. Rather than send regular emails, you can assign tasks to the relevant people and then communicate via the ‘Comments’ section. This allows you to easily see what’s been said and what needs to be done for that specific task, without having to trawl through past emails. A real time-saver.
But whether you decide to share the task or not, the comments section helps you manage a task more efficiently.
TIP: View all upcoming tasks across an entire workspace by displaying the workspace in calendar view – never miss another deadline!
The only part of Asana’s free version that I find frustrating, is its inability to create a repetitive task deadline. Instead you have to keep recreating the task manually. A small annoyance, but if you do tasks on a regular basis it can become increasingly frustrating quickly.
Tags are a quick and easy way to categorise tasks.
So for example, you could tag ‘social media’ for all tasks that are related to social media. Then have the ability to view them all together, kind of like its own project – but across multiple projects.
What’s so good about this?
It’s great if you use associates and allocate set tasks to them. So let’s take my social media example; all tasks that have been tagged ‘social media’ can be made visible to your ‘social media’ associate, so all they need to do is click ‘Social media’ (which can be displayed in the side column of their main dashboard area) and all social media tasks will appear. Assuming you don’t forget to tag the task, this makes it quicker and easier for your associate to get on with those work requirements.
In Asana’s own words “Organise your team, your project, and yourself“.
If you’re looking for a well-rounded project and team management system, Asana is a great option. The functionality outlined here only scratches the surface, particularly if you opt to use the paid version.
What project management system do you use? Leave your comments below, or if you’d like to write your own review article, get in touch. The more reviews we have, the easier it is for you and other VAs, to choose the right tool for your business needs.