Trello vs Asana – which is the best project management app? (2019)
If you’re on the lookout for the best project management app for your projects, you surely must have come to the crossroads of considering between Trello vs Asana. Both of these established tools have their strengths from a PM aspect, so which one is the best project management app for you?
In this post we’re going to perform a deep dive into these two cloud-based apps to find the strengths, the weaknesses and see which comes out on top when you compare Asana vs Trello head-to-head.
We’ve just reviewed this post in 2019, to make sure everything is relevant, we’ve removed stuff which was no longer relevant and added more details as necessary, to make sure everything we’ve said below is up to date. We’ve updated the pricing tables to reflect the increase in pricing affected by both of these tools.
- Trello vs Asana Summary
- An Alternative project management solution to Trello and Asana
- A quick look at Trello
- A short overview of Asana
- Trello vs Asana Pricing
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Trello Strengths
- 1. Incredibly flexible
- 2. Visual Progression
- Trello’s Weaknesses
- 1. Will it work for you?
- 2. Not ideal for projects with hundreds of tasks
- Asana Strengths
- 1. Great User Experience
- 2. Flexible
- Asana Weaknesses
- 1. Too. Many. Emails
- 2. Process-oriented projects can suffer
- Other Asana Pros and Cons
- Who uses it? Trello vs Asana user persona
- Asana vs Wrike
- Asana alternatives
- Trello Alternative
- Conclusion: Who’s the winner? Trello or Asana?
Trello vs Asana Summary
Trello is mostly a card-based task/project management tool which can be used for almost anything where limited team collaboration is required. Whether you’re doing project managing for websites or managing your home decoration project Trello mimics real-life boards to manage the project.
Asana takes a more task-oriented approach. It is intended more for projects which have a bit of a more rigorous process to them. It’s mostly used by small teams working on projects together.
An Alternative project management solution to Trello and Asana
Ok, so we know this is supposed to be a Trello / Asana comparison – yet we’d like to chime in a little bit over here with some of our comments before we actually continue the comparison (hey it’s our website after all ;-))
We do it for a very valid reason though.
We, the guys (and girls) at BeeWits, also run a marketing/design/digital/web design agency. Whilst we were setting up our digital agency we actually tried using both Trello and Asana – yet we found a problem with both of them. In both of them, you have to recreate a project from scratch every time.
That very specific problem with almost all project management apps inspired us to create a new app – one which solves this problem for us and for the rest of the world out there!
Have you seen the BeeWits review on project-management.com? You might want to look at it!
A quick look at Trello
Before we actually perform a compare and contrast of Trello vs Asana, let’s have a bit of a look at Trello.
Trello was one of the first project management apps which took a drastically different approach to it all. Whilst most project management software works around tasks, and take a specific and particular approach to working on projects and tasks, Trello did take a very different approach. However, the way they went about it was mostly from a UX perspective.
They took a card-based or board-based approach. Trello is in fact based on the Kanban approach – which is essentially a visual way to manage tasks.
Essentially, (at least in my eyes) they mimicked a pinning board where each task is written on a sticky note and pinned to a board. Notes and collaboration then happen around this “card” pinned on the board. After having read more about Trello, even the founders of Trello had this in mind, they just wanted to mimic a brainstorm session on a board, with tasks being assigned to different people.
In reality, rather than a pinning board, this is, in fact, the digitizing of the Kanban board.
In my mind, Trello is a digital version of a sticky note board:
This visual approach, which allows you to view the current state of tasks quickly is surely a great way to look at progress, particularly from the point of view of a project manager.
Particularly, if you organize a project vertically by the different stages of progress, you can move a card or note from one stage to the next as progress is made on that project or task.
For this reason, I’ve seen Trello work very very nicely for the management of publishing websites, where blog ideas go from “Proposed ideas”, to “Approved”, “Awaiting Feedback”, “Published” and “Archived” … or whatever the stages would be appropriate for your publishing site.
Trello can also work very nicely for software development tasks – since once again specific software development tasks can move through a series of stages. You could have a full backlog of tasks which need to be done, pull tasks from the backlog, then see them through a series of progress stages such as “Waiting for review”, “In Development”, “Waiting for testing”, “Ready for release”, “Released” – of course you can apply the stages necessary for your company.
Team members can then collaborate on the various cards on each board, tag each other when necessary, comment on tasks, add images, due dates, descriptions. Membership of a board means that the member can also create a checklist of tasks as necessary to complete the specific “job”.
It’s pretty open, which makes it quite easy to work with.
A short overview of Asana
Asana is completely project based – essentially, teams are organized around projects.
Projects are essentially, lists of tasks – around which teams can collaborate. So for example, you’ll create various Sections for a project. Within each section, you can then create a list of tasks associated with that specific “section” of the project.
Each task can then have sub-tasks of its own should you want to create a nesting of tasks.
Here’s an example of how we (tested out) Asana for managing our blog:
After selecting the project which you will be working ok, you can ‘Add Task’ to specific sections on the top left-hand side. Once you’ve created a task you can select it and then add descriptions, tag team members, comment, attach files, created sub-tasks or whatever else you want to perform on this specific task.
There are then further views for such things as Calendar, files, the progress of a project, due dates, conversations around tasks. Specific views such as My Inbox and My Tasks help one zone into their own specific projects.
Simple task management around projects which works.
Trello vs Asana Pricing
One of the important considerations when making a decision about task management software is of course how much it’s going to cost you. Given that you should be making significant improvements in terms of cost-savings and productivity, the cost of the app should not be at the top of your concerns, yet it’s something to consider nonetheless.
You’ll find that most tools have a similar pricing mechanism, a user-based pricing methodology – where you pay based on users on the system. As the number of users using the system goes up, the actual price per user goes down.
Wrike, and these two projects all use the same user-based pricing, starting from a free (limited) account and then move to about $9 per user.
Trello starts at $0, then works its way up to $9.99/user/month. Whilst the free option is, of course, attractive, it’s mostly a means to get you hooked. As you start using Trello more and more, you’ll find that you will have to upgrade to the paid version of Trello, which removes most limits which you are bound to hit with the free version of Trello. For example, no integrations are included with the free version.
Compare Asana to Trello which starts at $0, up to team members of 15 and then moves up from that, priced at $9.99/user/month. Now, despite saying that Asana is free for teams up to 15 members, this is not an unlimited version with all features available. Just like with Trello, if you’re planning to use Asana as your work management app of choice, you’re likely going to have to bump up to a premium paid account.
Given that the pricing of Asana vs Trello is pretty much identical, we do believe this is a draw, although Asana used to have a very slight edge, this is no longer the case – the prices are exactly the same, except for the Enterprise tier. In my mind, this is not a true advantage, it’s just a way for Asana to get a pricing edge on one of their most direct competitors Trello.
All-in-all, pricing considerations are pretty much head-to-head.
Sorry, we’re butting in again, but hey, we’d like to get in on the fun too! You’re on our blog so aren’t we at liberty to speak about our own product every so often? BeeWits does not have a free tier – we’re much too small to be able to afford a freemium model.
Yet, we have something which is better than Asana and Trello’s pricing. We charge on a per account basis – one fixed fee per account, whether you have two users or twenty.
Your costs are simple and predictable.
Strengths and weaknesses
Once we’re done with the basics, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of our comparison. Whilst you could choose to use Trello and Asana together in the same company, we do recommend that you focus on one of them, just for the sake of making sure that you don’t have multiple systems, multiple training sessions and all types of conflicts and synchronization issues between teams.
Of course, besides Trello and Asana, there are many other tools in place. Particularly if you’re managing relatively small software development projects, you could consider Jira, (and that would have made this post, Trello vs Asana vs Jira making it a pretty heavy post – and Jira is quite software development oriented). Slack would always be a good complement for any team. But rather than trying to make this post a Trello vs Asana vs Slack, or maybe even if you wanted to go for yet another option, Trello vs Asana vs Wrike. We, however, wanted to keep this limited to the two most popular project management tools out there – even if there are other options.
Without a shadow of a doubt – one of the other project management tools you’ll want to try is our BeeWits tool.
1. Incredibly flexible
Trello is pretty much a completely open system. This makes it super configurable – it is literally up to you to design a system and methodology which works for you. Trello is not limited to PM per se, you can use for anything in reality.
That’s why in our examples above, we mentioned that we’ve seen Trello used for anything, from managing a publishing site to software development to managing marketing campaigns. Anything, where you could use a board with sticky notes to serve as a reminder of the things you do to do – Trello, can be used to manage it.
For example, in some basic cases, we use Trello as a simple CRM, where we manage which users we’ve contacted, who we still need to contact, who we need to follow up with. In essence, anywhere where there are multiple stages to getting something done, Trello is a good candidate. It may not have all of the specific features and functions for that specific “project” – but it’s good enough to work.
2. Visual Progression
One of the beautiful things about working with Trello is getting things done by moving them from one vertical list to the next. Once a task is done from its current stage, you simply have to drag it and drop it to the next stage. That is an immensely satisfying step – where you can literally see your task making progress. It’s something incredibly simple, yet is such a powerful way of visualizing and seeing progress being made on projects.
1. Will it work for you?
We would dare say that Trello’s strength can also be its weakness. Any service which is incredibly flexible requires it to be organized in a way which makes sense for the people using it.
The first thing that a company using Trello needs to do is to make sure they create a process which works for them. It is up to the company using Trello to make it work.
Now, companies might attempt to use the processes of other companies or users which they’ve seen, but this is not necessarily a solution which works for everybody. A specific process which works for one company in a specific industry is not necessarily the right solution for another company.
This is one of the primary concerns and weaknesses with using Trello – you need to create a process which works for you. If you don’t have a process in mind already, you’re going to struggle to make Trello work for you.
2. Not ideal for projects with hundreds of tasks
A card based approach is fine – yet, as the number of tasks / cards start to increase, Trello becomes a little bit unwieldy to handle. You start losing visibility into what’s done, you’ll need to search for cards more and more often. We believe that for teams with large numbers of tasks, it’s not the ideal tool.
Moreover, if you perform projects which have a repeatable process in their nature (for example, web designs, social media or marketing campaigns) – you’ll have to recreate all of the tasks / cards over and over again for each and every project you create.
Other Trello Pros and Cons
- Free. No credit card required for signing-up
- Mostly simple layout with simple instructions
- Both iPhone and Android apps are available
- There is no limit on Trello cards
- No limit on people invited to a board
- Google Drive integration
- Export is not available on the free plan
- Having many cards can get quite hectic
1. Great User Experience
Project-focused Asana is a nice touch. The design of the interface is really intelligent – it makes the optimal use of the available space such that everything is only a couple of clicks away. Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into the UX design of this software, and yes – it is indeed a great user experience to work with Asana. The different colors for tasks based on importance is indeed a great way to immediately focus on what’s more important.
Again, with Asana being very flexible in nature, leaving it up to the end user to define tasks and projects, rather than restrict you into a particular mold, it is easy to set projects up in Asana. Moreover, it’s pretty cool to be able to not pay much (or anything) if you are a small team.
1. Too. Many. Emails
So this is a personal thing – but heck Asana sends too many emails. When a task has a due date set on it, you’ll keep receiving nagging reminders constantly (a week before the task is due, the day before the task is due, the day the task is due, then every day after a task is due for a week). I’m not sure which Product Manager dreamed up this overdose of notifications, but they either don’t suffer from email overload or they simply get so many emails that a few tens of emails more won’t make a difference.
2. Process-oriented projects can suffer
Once again, it’s very difficult to set up a repeatable project on Asana. As web designers ourselves, designing a website is essentially a process which is repeatable in nature. Yes, you do have to do quite a lot of customizations for each specific website you are designing, but in essence, the process does not change. Having to recreate a project with (possibly hundreds of) tasks from scratch each and every time you win a project becomes not just overhead but a concern – having to create each task every time makes it error-prone.
Other Asana Pros and Cons
- Lots of project management features
- Free trial (no credit card required)
- Important tasks can be color coded
- Multiple tags can be added to each item
- Use on smartphone possible through Android and iOS app
- Possibility to quickly add new tasks
- Email integration
- Possible to view personal tasks in one place / following your tasks
- Free for small teams up to 15 people
- Google Drive integration
- Time Tracking through integration with EverHour
- Tasks can only be assigned to one member of a team
- No personal view – just tasks within each workspace
- The interface can sometimes feel overwhelming with graphics
- Sub-tasks are difficult to work with
- Long learning curve
- No two-factor authentication in the app
Who uses it? Trello vs Asana user persona
In our opinion, the persona to whom Asana and Trello appeals is somewhat different. Trello is ideal for a team where there are many individual team members.
Asana is a great tool when there is a single person such as the CEO, a Project Manager or a Product Manager who wants to keep an eye on things.
Asana vs Wrike
If you’re considering a tool for managing your work and projects, there is another alternative to Trello and Asana: Wrike. This is is one of those tools and services which have been rapidly growing in popularity, feature and functions. Their recent funding rounds have also helped push this service to the next level in terms of its capabilities.
We’ve fully reviewed these two tools in our feature here: www.beewits.com/wrike-vs-asana
One feature we really really love about Wrike is its ability to “digest” emails and add them as tasks directly into a project. All you need to do is carbon-copy your Wrike designated email address, and the specific email and contents will be added to the project as a new task, assigned to the people which are copied in the actual email.
So while Asana is pretty good at sending stuff by email, Wrike is pretty good at picking up things FROM email, which is a pretty strong difference.
Wrike has some pretty great reviews out there and has been voted best tool in quite a few places – it’s THAT mature.
In terms of look and feel, these are quite different overall, so what we would suggest is for you to actually try out both of them and make your decision together with your own team.
Try out Wrike by clicking here.
Now that we’ve considered most of the features of both of these options, it’s time to have a look at a number of alternative options if you are considering any of these tools.
If you haven’t already seen our list of project management services, we urge to visit this now – all of these are viable alternatives to Asana.
Rather than going for a never-ending list – we’re proposing 5 solid alternatives.
All of the above are major players in the industry, and of course, all of them are doing something right, given their popularity and customer base. We’d suggest having a look at each of these and see whether any of these can be considered a viable Asana alternative for you and your company.
These guys, we haven’t included specifically as alternatives, because they are in a bit of a different branch of services. However, if you are a digital marketing agency, web designer or developer, or anybody who works with websites as an end-result should definitely have a look at Project Huddle.
Essentially, this is a tool, which creates a “commenting layer” on a website, allowing you to have a conversation internally or with your client, super-imposed on your work. This is great for those who want to point out certain specific things to their client or want feedback about something.
Have a look at the image below to understand how this works.
ProjectHuddle are running a sale, this week only (1st to 8th April 2019). Use coupon code BEEWITS25 to get 25% OFF!
Now that we’ve suggested a few options, let’s continue with our 2nd product.
With this being quite a particular product with quite a unique look and feel, we do believe it’s not easy to find a good Trello alternative. Nevertheless, we’re going to make a few suggestions of products which you could consider if you’re interested in this kind of user experience.
Once again, instead of a long-list, we’re going to give you a concise list of options, such that you don’t waste a bunch of time considering all products which are quite different from our focus.
- Kanban tool
Once again, we focused mostly on having a Kanban-like look and feel, available on all of these services, such that they can be considered true Trello alternatives.
BeeWits – built for web designers / freelancers and small agencies.
Let me tell you a quick story before we end this article. When our parent company, the digital agency Switch was setting itself up, like many others before us, we started looking for work management software which caters for web designers, agencies and creatives like us.
We scoured the internet. We asked our peers. We visited websites and forums, Facebook groups and everywhere else people were willing to listen to our question.
“Is there any good web design project management software. something specifically built for agencies?”
The answer was dismal. Yes, there are plenty of software solutions. No, they’re not specifically for web designers, agencies or freelancers.
We were both dejected and amazed that nobody had catered for such a large niche of users.
So, ever the entrepreneurs, we decided to build it ourselves.
A couple of years later and here we are. BeeWits is specifically built as web design project management software – built for web designers, by web designers.
Conclusion: Who’s the winner? Trello or Asana?
We’ve seen that both of these project management tools are good choices – you’re not going to get fired for choosing Trello or Asana. Despite some weaknesses or drawbacks, both of them are very well-rounded products which should get you well on the way in managing of your projects.