Trello vs Asana

If you’re looking to work in the cloud, there has never been a wider variety of software to help you do so. Teams of all sizes are flourishing online. As they grow, the task of organizing things grows with them. If you’ve been wondering which software to manage your projects with, we’re looking at two of our favorites in this article: Asana and Trello.

The services are giants in task management software. We’re going to compare Trello vs Asana to see what they have to offer and which one comes out on top.

Trello is a digital kanban board that allows you to track tasks easily. Asana also offers task management, but goes further with project management features. Whether Asana’s full-featured approach works better than Trello’s streamlined design is the question we’re going to answer.

The Criteria

We’ll look at several areas to compare the platforms. First will be features, which is where we’ll see how well they handle task management and what else they provide. We’re also going to consider how well they facilitate sharing and teamwork.

Whether you like using the software is important. If it is pleasant to use, then the team will be happier working with it. Fortunately, both apps are easy to engage with. They have well-designed user interfaces that present information clearly.

Trello has the more straightforward layout, but Asana has nice UI touches, too.

Since you likely work with several online applications, we’ll look at how they integrate with data from other platforms. We’ll also check the price, though neither is especially expensive.

How Asana and Trello Compare

Trello and Asana have plenty in common. They allow you to create tasks and arrange them in lists. You can also categorize the tasks, making them easier to manage. They let you keep track of who is assigned to what and create subtasks. You can invite users onto your team and have everyone automatically updated with changes relevant to them, as well.

Trello is a task management system that lets you track the flow of work as it moves from left to right. It is simple and easy to get into, with most of its interface being self-explanatory.

Asana is among the best project management software and allows you to check dependencies. It works better with larger projects in which relationships between tasks are more complicated.

Trello is more straightforward and easy to get started with, but Asana has more features. If Trello does all you need, its accessibility makes it good choice, but if you start hitting its limitations, Asana becomes more appealing.

Even if you don’t find Trello restrictive, it might be worth checking out Asana to see if its features can make your work day easier.

Features

Trello’s core workflow is dragging and dropping tasks from column to column to show what stage each one is at. It is basically a kanban board and it is good at what it does. You can customize it with your own columns and labels and get notifications when things relevant to you happen.

Both platforms let you comment on particular tasks, so conversations can be kept in one place. This lets you keep track easily and means you can dip in or out of different discussions as you become involved with each task. You can also see what everybody has said about it if you join part of the way through.

Asana lets you arrange tasks and group them in much the way Trello does. One difference is the way sections are grouped makes it easier to keep track of where you are in large projects. With Trello, if you have lots of columns on a board, it can be harder to filter out what’s not relevant to you.

Asana also lets you view everything in calendar and timeline formats. Each is useful in its own way to get an overview of what is going on. The calendar lets you plan your time and see what needs to be done when. The timeline gives you a better look at the sequence of tasks remaining in your project and how everything fits together.

Winner: Asana

Dependency Management

One area in which Asana does better than Trello is dependency management. That means you can specify which tasks need to be done before others can begin. Doing so enables you to spot potential bottlenecks and avoid situations where people are waiting for others to finish before they can do anything.

Asana allows you to manipulate those relationships on the timeline and see how they fit together.

asana-dependencies

Trello’s version of dependency management comes via the “Hello Epics” card relationships power up. It lets you add parent-child relationships to tasks and view how many of the child tasks have been completed when looking at the parent.

Asana’s approach is more powerful, as well as being available by default, so it’s our winner in this category.

Winner: Asana

Sharing and Teamwork

The free version of Trello lets you have as many people as you want on your team. Asana limits you to 15 team members in its free version, though paying customers have no such restrictions.

Trello allows you to share attachments with other people, with limits of 10MB or 250MB depending on the plan you have. Asana’s limit is 100MB, so Trello gets the points here.

Both services allow you to attach as many files as you like, making them great ways to share files online.

Winner: Trello

Ease of Use

Both applications are designed well, with the UI making it clear how to do most things. We find Asana’s  refined approach more appealing than Trello’s large blocks of color, but you might feel differently. Have a look at the screenshots and decide for yourself.

Asana’s celebrations always bring a smile to the face and, who knows, might give team members extra motivation to get things done. It never hurts to make the humdrum business of organization more fun.

Trello’s design is  intuitive. Much of what’s in the interface is self-explanatory, with clearly labeled buttons working as you’d expect. Dragging and dropping tasks works well. As mentioned in our Trello beginner’s guide, we use it here at Cloudwards.net and most of us have not needed to consult the manual.

As project size grows, Trello’s simple layout can become harder to work with. You may need to scroll around to find the column you need and have to drag tasks over several unrelated columns to the place you want.

Asana’s section-based approach is better in that respect, enabling you to easily find the area you are interested in, even if the project is split into many stages.

We’re giving Trello the nod for ease of use, though neither platform is hard to figure out. Asana is our favorite for design. In addition to looking slicker, it presents plenty of clearly labeled buttons and controls, which give you a lot of options without being difficult to navigate.

Both platforms are easy to use, but if you do need support, you are catered to well. Trello has hundreds of articles in its help system and a forum full of other users to assist you. There’s also a contact form, should you need further help.

Asana gives you an excellent tour of its features when you first use it, which quickly gets you up to speed. The help menu offers many good tutorials in text and video. There’s a handy guide to keyboard shortcuts, too. Like Trello, Asana has an active forum, where questions are answered fast.

Though support is good in both cases, we’re giving Asana the vote, as its help button is easier to find and its advanced tips are more readily available. We also found its help pages snappier and quicker to browse through.

Winner: Asana

Price

Each platform lets you get started for free and has plenty to offer non-paying users. Asana asks you to provide credit card details when signing up, but there is an option to skip that step if you look carefully.

If you do sign up for a paid package, both offer many additional features.

Trello’s Gold package is $45 a year, which is reasonable. For that you get an increased attachment limit of 250MB. You also get to use the full range of Trello’s power ups, which are essential if you want to use your data with other platforms.

There are also cosmetic bonuses for your boards, such as extra stickers and custom backgrounds. They let you customize Trello with your own branding, which can help your team feel at home and provide a sense of identity.

Asana’s premium offering is more expensive at $9.99 per month, but will not break the bank. It gives you extra features, including its timeline and task dependencies.

It also removes the team size limit of 15 users, allowing you to invite as many people as you want to your projects. Those managing large teams will appreciate the priority customer support provided with the plan, as well.

Asana’s premium offering is more expensive at $9.99 per month, but will not break the bank. It gives you extra features, including its timeline and task dependencies.

It also removes the team size limit of 15 users, allowing you to invite as many people as you want to your projects. Those managing large teams will appreciate the priority customer support provided with the plan, as well.

Winner: Asana

Third-Party App Integrations

Asana and Trello offer plenty of options if you want to work with other services and applications. They allow you to share data, as well as do different things with the software. Being able to work with existing data like that can save you lots of time when getting started with either service.

It also lets you take advantage of features from many cloud services and enjoy the strengths of each of them.

Trello’s approach to integration is its power ups. There are more than 30 available and they let you work directly with data you have stored on services ranging from Twitter to Jira. If you want to make full use of them, you’ll need to subscribe. They are available for non-paying users, but only one can be used at once, which is quite restrictive.

Asana also offers plenty of options. Its integrations allow you to connect to many apps. Some of them involve using services such as Zapier and Dossier as intermediaries. Others are built in to Asana, such as support for Dropbox and Google Drive. There’s also a Chrome extension that allows you to add URLs as tasks.

If you are finding it difficult to choose between Asana and Trello, the former’s Zapier integration lets you work with both of them and get the best of both worlds. If you are setting Asana up for the first time, read our Asana beginner’s guide for tips on how to get started.

There’s no clear winner here. Both tools support many third-party applications, so which you prefer will likely depend on the services you want to use with it. In most cases, you’ll find they are available.

Winner: Tie

The Verdict

Trello and Asana are great tools. If you’re looking at using one of them, neither is a bad choice. You can even use them together if you want (though you may want to use Zapier or IFTTT when you do so). For ease of use, Trello is our preferred option. We recommend it if you only need the basics.

If you need more features, though, Asana is the way to go. There are a few things it does that Trello doesn’t. If you need one of them, Asana is the clear choice. We feel it is better for larger projects, too.

Asana is our overall winner because we prefer its aesthetic and enjoy working with it more. Its extra features also make it more versatile.

That said, both tools are worth trying if you are organizing a project online. If you are setting up a virtual team, or you already have one and want to improve it, take a look at our best virtual team software tools. The applications we talk about might help you.

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We hope we’ve given you a good idea of which platform best suits your needs. If you’ve used either, we’d love to hear about your experiences. If you’ve tried both, let us know which you prefer and why. If they’ve made a positive impact on your workflow or you feel there are things they could do better, tell us in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

One thought on “Trello vs Asana: Managing Tasks and Projects in 2018”

  1. Really in-depth and interesting read. I use both Trello and Asana depending on the nature of project at hand. Asana is really good for projects or tasks that are time-sensitive and Trello on the other gives you much more flexibility on getting things done. Since both provide Kanban, IMHO Trello is a lot easier and more flexible.

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