Project management has come a long way since the days of Gantt charts, WBS elements, and complex software packages. If you’ve decided that cloud-based project management is the right direction for your business, you probably have Asana Project Management and monday.com Project Management on your radar. Both offer a solid set of features, robust integrations, and strong pairing capabilities. However, there are subtle nuances to each tool.
Get started with monday.com and Asana
Learning a complex new tool is always a challenge, especially something like project management, where there are multiple ways to set up task structures, visualizations, and reports. Asana and monday.com both offer free initial builds, with Asana offering a full 30-day trial and monday.com offering a free “perpetual” license with limited functionality.
Apart from price nuances, while both tools run an introductory interview program to help guide a new user, monday.com’s project management interview process was a bit more detailed and ended by a list of patterns based on user responses:
Asana focused more on setting up a hierarchy of tasks and initial views and didn’t recommend templates to get the user off on the right foot.
After setting up your first model, each system includes basic training. Asana displays various tooltips detailing key features, while monday.com offers a basic training project template. The former would likely be most useful for a new team member joining an already established project, while the latter would be beneficial for someone setting up the tool for their team. The basic monday.com training is a fully completed mini-project, so you can learn the tool by interacting with it.
SEE: Basecamp vs. Asana: Comparing project management software (TechRepublic)
Manage daily tasks on monday.com vs Asana
While it’s interesting to discuss dashboards, visualizations, and reports, perhaps the most essential function of a project management tool is to help individual contributors and teams determine where they should spend their time and follow up when that job is done.
Asana offers a rich and highly configurable homepage for users, with helpful information about their assigned tasks and what’s coming soon. The page is designed around configurable widgets that the user can rearrange or remove.
While monday.com offers a My Work view, the interface prioritizes the Workspace, a robust set of tools geared more toward managing the overall project than an individual’s to-do list. The most beneficial approach for your organization depends on how your teams use project management tools. While they’re comfortable with the tool and using it as a personal to-do list, Asana is geared more toward team members tracking work related to a larger project.
Teams with a strong manager who works the plan, monday.com focuses on projects can feel more comfortable.
SEE: 5 Key Resources to Improve Your Project Management (TechRepublic Premium)
Visualizations and interface
There are dozens of ways to manage project tasks and relationships, from complex, multi-level Gantt charts to Kanban-style boards. Both tools support the core visualizations you’d expect, with map views for individual tasks that allow you to embed files and media and quickly add team members using scoring @.
This was another area where the tools approached a similar goal with slightly different philosophies. Asana focuses on simplified and attractive visualizations based on a table-like view of tasks and a simplified Gantt chart for scheduling and tracking dependencies.
monday.com was more robust in its initial setup, using what are essentially nested lists to capture structure tasks and dependencies and a Gantt chart that fans of tools like Microsoft Project will immediately adopt. The different templates provide significant customizations to the main views, and it’s worth experimenting with these templates if the initial interface doesn’t quite meet your needs.
Both systems offered similar functionality. If your team is looking for a little more functionality than a tool like Trello or Todoist, they’ll probably feel right at home on Asana. However, if your team is more sophisticated, Asana may seem too limiting and monday.com will be more comfortable and productive.
Reporting and dashboards
Asana offers pre-made and visually appealing charts with limited customization capabilities similar to its task management layout. The new charts are easy to create and configure, but advanced users may feel limited.
If you’ve used other data visualization tools, monday.com’s interface will make you feel more comfortable, with robust filters, groupings, and chart types.
Integrations and Automations
Asana and monday.com both offer robust integrations with familiar apps, ranging from collaboration tools like Slack and Teams to video conferencing and tech apps. Asana bundles integrations and automations together in its Workflow tool, which uses a basic flowchart-like metaphor to design forms, automations, and integrations with other tools.
monday.com uses a card-like interface that will be familiar to users of apps like If This Then That (IFTTT).
I created basic integrations that sent notification emails for tasks or added and synced items to my Todoist app that I use to track my tasks. monday.com provides a set of automation templates for each integration, which is extremely useful, if only to provide inspiration on what is possible or potentially useful.
Choosing between monday.com and Asana
These tools are robust, highly configurable, and easily integrated into your existing applications. Although they are very similar from a feature standpoint, they take a nuanced approach to project management.
Suppose your team matures beyond simplified task lists and scheduling tools, but doesn’t know a WBS PMP. In this case, Asana hides much of the complexity of project management from the end user and is geared more towards managing moderately complex workloads and programs.
monday.com, on the other hand, offers a robust set of templates, configurability, and tools that should be comfortable for experienced project managers or teams used to working with more complex projects. Both are extremely capable, but consider what you’re trying to accomplish with your project management software and let that guide your decision rather than looking at features.