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If you’re on the hunt to find the best project management tool to help you manage your tasks, you've likely come across Trello and Asana. Both of these freemium project management tools are extremely popular and are used by many big name organizations. Trello has been chosen as the preferred project management tool by the likes of Adobe and Google, whereas Deloitte and General Electric are currently using Asana. While both tools possess many merits from a project management aspect, how do you decide which is the best tool for your brand?

CMSWire, with the assistance of leading experts and practitioners reviewed Trello and Asana to help you decide which is a best fit for your organization.

What is Trello?

Trello is a task management tool that utilizes the Kanban project management system to help you organize and track your projects.

Each task is housed in a “card,” which then sits in a list. You can have as many lists as you like, a typical setup consists of three lists: to-do; work-in-progress; and completed. However, you can add and remove lists at will, and then drag-and-drop tasks across from one list to another as they get completed.

Related Article: Top 16 Enterprise Project Management Software Platforms

What is Asana?

Asana was developed by former Facebook executives Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, who created the popular task management app back in 2008 to help manage Facebook’s internal coordination. The application became publicly available in 2011.

Asana uses a very basic and plain approach to task/project management. Users can create tasks and organize them into three groups: Today, Upcoming and Later. Users can also group single tasks into a project and even divide the tasks by project, purpose or theme.

Asana also comes with pre-existing templates out-of-the-box. And you can also create custom templates that fit your requirements, such as questionnaires and checklists.

Related Article: How to Use Salesforce for Project Management

Trello vs. Asana: Exploring The Differences

Seth Nichols, Link Builder at Heroic Search, discussed the key difference between the two project management tools. “Trello and Asana are two of the leading collaborative project management tools on the market. Probably the key difference between the two tools is that Asana offers more workflow functionality. In Asana, a project workspace allows the user to add and name a column for each step in a given project cycle. Tasks are then simply added at [the first step] and [then] labeled. [Users can then] drag and drop [the task] across the workspace as they progress towards completion,” Nichols said.

Nichols continued, “Trello is a more basic tool. The workspace is divided up into 'cards' for each project. You can add lists and attachments to each card. A crucial difference from Asana is that there is no inbuilt functionality for labeling and identifying a task. When five or six users are discussing multiple tasks at once, Trello can get very confusing, and it makes it easier for questions and reminders to slip through the cracks,” Nichols stated.

Tim Brown, founder of Hook Agency, noted that the principle difference between the two platforms is ease of use. “Trello is a Kanban-style board, and is more of a really easy to use to-do list, whereas Asana has been built from the beginning as a project management tool for teams,” Brown began. “Strangely though, I find Trello extremely easy to use, and way more intuitive than Asana. The incredibly diverse ways of using Asana, actually become its downfall. Whereas the simplicity of Trello, makes it, hands-down, one of my favorite project management tools to use,” he continued.

What Trello Says

Justin Gallagher, head of product management, gave CMSWire an exclusive quote on what sets Trello apart from Asana. “When we launched Trello in 2011, our idea was to take the simple paradigm of sticky notes on a wall and turn it into a tool that helps people collaborate in real-time. Trello is a highly visual, fluid and adaptable tool that can be used to solve a wide range of problems that all revolve around getting people on the same page, and that continues to be what differentiates Trello from other tools. While many project management apps are highly specialized for one kind of task, Trello is flexible enough to use in your whole life, so it’s used by everyone from people planning their next vacation to employees at the biggest enterprises.”

What Asana Says

Robbie O’Connor, head of EMEA sales, gave CMSWire an exclusive quote on what sets Asana apart from Trello. "Work management tool, Asana, helps enable new levels of connectivity and interaction — that transcends both personal and business communication. As a user-friendly platform trusted by some of the world’s largest corporations such as Spotify and Sky News, it helps organizations move faster by making sure everyone knows the team’s plan, process and who is doing what by when. It now has 50,000 paying customers in 194 countries."

Trello Review: CMSWire’s Take

Trello is indeed an extremely easy platform to use. The lack of features feels deliberate — not to mention necessary. Any more complexity could see Trello drift away from its tradition of accessibility and become more akin to Asana, which is comparably a more complex project management solution.

With that being said, Trello gives users everything they need to manage projects and tasks. Each card can be labeled, commented on, moved, copied and watched. Team members can be assigned to cards, and attachments can also be uploaded, albeit with a file size limit of 10MB in the free version.

Trello’s visual and interactive approach to project management appeals to both technical and non-technical minds alike, and it’s hard to imagine anybody getting “stuck” or “lost” when using the platform. Hence, Trello is a solid option if you’re looking to very quickly roll out a project management software to a large and diverse team.

Price

Trello is free for any number of users. However, if you want unlimited integrations and better security, you’ll need to upgrade.

  • Business Class: $9.99 per user, per month billed annually (includes 250MB file uploads, advanced user permissions, unlimited board integrations).
  • Enterprise: $20.83 per user, per month billed annually (includes two-factor authentication, SAML, intrusion detection).

Pros

  • Free to use for an unlimited number of team members.
  • Features like comments, color coding, @mentions, etc.
  • Kanban-style boards make it visually appealing and interactive.
  • Integrations available with tools like Slack and Google Drive.
  • Available on both iOS and Android.
  • Supremely easy to grasp, requires no training.

Cons

  • Export feature only available with a premium subscription.
  • When multiple tasks are used, it becomes difficult to manage since there is no clear way of identifying a card.

Asana Review: CMSWire’s Take

Asana is a more rounded project management tool. Aside from the Kanban view, it gives users the same freedom to create tasks, add due dates, assign members and add comments. You can adjust the task list to show all tasks, due tasks only, or completed tasks only, and filter out content you don’t wish to see.

Further, you can manage your inbox, which displays notifications about things like tasks that are due, and new tasks that you’ve been tagged in. You can also access reports on tasks you’ve created, tasks you've assigned to others, and tasks completed. Projects can also be assigned to "favorites", so you can access them quickly from the Asana sidebar.

Moreover, the Portfolios feature enables larger teams to manage multiple projects at scale, seeing each one in a grid-style view through the Portfolio interface. Compared to Trello, Asana isn’t quite as easy to use, but it does seem like a more robust tool that’s built for actual conversations and collaboration across a broader range of projects.

Price

Asana is free to use for up to 15 people. If you want a larger team, or more features, you’ll need to upgrade to either:

  • Premium: $9.99 per user, per month billed annually (includes timelines, advanced search, private projects).
  • Business: $19.99 per user, per month billed annually (includes portfolios, multiproject management, locked custom fields).

For enterprise features such as SAML, data exporting and custom branding, you’ll need to get in touch with the Asana sales team.

Pros

  • Free to use for teams up to 15 people.
  • Features like comments, color coding, @mentions, etc.
  • A single task can be linked to more than one project.
  • Available on both iOS and Android.
  • Integration with email, Zapier and more.

Cons

  • Tasks can only be delegated to one member of a team.
  • The interface can feel slightly overwhelming at times.
  • No two-factor authentication.
  • May require some adjustment and potentially some training.

Trello vs. Asana: The Verdict

Trello and Asana have similar goals and similar functionality. They’re built to help you visualize and tackle tasks with a view to completing projects.

Both solutions have pros and cons. Trello is the visually appealing Kanban-style solution that is ideal for smaller teams, but questionable when projects start piling up. Asana, on the other hand, is comparatively daunting, and more powerful — particularly when it comes to delegating tasks and managing multiple projects.

In the end, it might just come down to taste. And the greatest thing about freemium products, is that they can be tasted for free.  

Which project management system wins your vote: Trello or Asana?