The Asana social task management platform gets a lot right in terms of features and messaging to prospective and current customers. One area that is helping Asana support its growing customer base is its integration with other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. I'm highlighting seven important application integrations that Asana offers project teams. (I assume you're using the applications listed.)
1: Cloud storage
Asana supports integration with Google Drive and Dropbox. In fact, a Google Drive and Dropbox chooser is built directly into the Asana task pane by default. Chances are, if you're working on a team using Asana, cloud storage is second nature, even if you aren't using Google Apps for Business. Figure A shows the Google Drive Chooser and Dropbox Chooser on the Asana task pane.
Google Drive Chooser and Dropbox Chooser on the Asana Task Pane
I find the Asana integration with cloud storage to be most helpful, since I often attach documents to specific tasks. In fact, I'm using Asana as a platform for managing document reviews on a corporate client project; this cloud storage integration is why I can do that.
2: Google Calendar sync
Some of us are disciplined enough to visit a task list like clockwork; then, there are those of us who need task items appearing on a calendar to keep tasks straight. Asana offers integration with Google Calendar for those of us in the latter category. The integration is clean and easy and doesn't require an administrator.
Follow these steps to integrate Asana with Google Calendar:
1. In another browser tab, log in to your Google Account.
2. Open Google Calendar.
3. Open your desired project or list in Asana.
4. Click the down arrow at the top of the center pane.
5. Select Sync To Calendar. The Sync To Calendar dialog box appears similar to Figure B.
Sync To Calendar dialog box
6. Select Google Calendar.
7. Copy the blue web cal link.
8. Open the tab with Google Calendar.
9. Select the drop-down menu next to Other Calendars on the left. Figure C shows the Other calendars tab.
Other calendars tab
10. Select Add By URL.
11. Paste the webcal link from Asana in the URL field.
The integration doesn't offer much in the way of intelligence; tasks appear at the top of the calendar day in Google Calendar, though not at any particular time. I noticed that if you keep long tasks in Asana (e.g., a quality assurance checklist), too many tasks can drown out your calendar appointments.
Integrations using Zapier or CloudWork
Zapier is a cloud platform that enables you to automate tasks between cloud applications. The platform is available at a range of pricing. Asana uses Zapier as an integration platform. The good news is Zapier's point-and-click, so you don't need to be a programmer to make it work.
While this post focuses on Zapier, CloudWork is another alternative for automating some of these integrations. Here are some useful Asana integrations that Zapier makes possible.
HipChat is a popular instant messaging platform for project teams. Asana includes integration with HipChat that enables users to create task alerts from Asana to HipChat. The integration also supports creating Asana tasks from a HipChat message. The Asana/HipChat integration is made through Zapier. Figure D shows the Asana/HipChat integration options available through Zapier.
Asana/HipChat integration options
Project teams that depend on HipChat, especially geographically dispersed ones, can have some fun with this integration, because they can use HipChat for adding tasks instead of adding tasks via email or into Asana directly.
5: Pivotal Tracker
Integrating Asana with Pivotal Tracker, an agile project management tool, is a great match in technologies. You can create Asana tasks from Pivotal Tracker and create a Pivotal Tracker story from an Asana task.
You also have the option to use CloudWork for integrating Pivotal Tracker and Asana. Figure E shows the Asana/Pivotal Tracker integration options available in Zapier.
Asana/Pivotal Tracker integration options
Integrating Asana with JIRA, the project issues tracker, using Zapier enables project teams to create tasks from JIRA issues and vice versa. This integration would be ideal for teams that may not want to open up their instance of JIRA to everybody or have some users who want a less complex user interface. Figure F shows the Asana/JIRA integration options made possible by Zapier. (Note: My experience with JIRA has been mixed.)
Asana/JIRA integration options
You can integrate Asana and Evernote to create Asana tasks from Evernote Notes or create Asana projects from Evernote Notebooks. You also have the option to connect Evernote to Asana using CloudWork. Figure G shows the Asana/Evernote integration options available with Zapier.
Asana/Evernote integration options
Asana's integration options make social task management a natural fit in some project management and software development processes. If you use Zapier for the integrations, I recommend spending time with the platform upfront to evaluate it as the most appropriate solution for your needs and get comfortable with its pricing structure.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.