Trello vs Asana – What Should You Choose in 2019?
Marketing project management is tough, to say the least. To keep a clear project overview and balance tasks, you need the right tools. Trello and Asana are both very popular options, but which one comes out on top? When it comes to Trello vs Asana, here’s the complete picture:
At its core, Trello is a web-based list-making app. Users are given the ability to create boards, lists, and cards that will organize and prioritize their projects. Tasks can then be created, assigned, prioritized, and tracked. The building blocks are simple, and the power of the platform often depends on the way it’s used.
Since its launch back in 2011, Trello has tried to achieve a mass appeal. Its staff hopes this platform will be used by both individuals and marketing teams alike, and its freemium model is evidence of this goal.
Trello aims to make it possible to “work with any team.” Small marketing teams and agencies may find the tool is sufficient for managing a project and keeping the team updated. However, some individuals use Trello as a personal to-do list.
We’ll dig deeper into the exact features soon. But for the big picture, it’s important to understand that Trello is owned by Atlassian. It’s likely that Trello is intended to be an acquisition channel for the company’s more fully developed collaboration tool, Jira.
Let’s imagine you’re managing a small marketing team and coordinating the launch of a website. Using Trello, you’d be able to create a board for the specific project and use a range of lists to organize the key project areas. To break each project area down into more manageable parts, cards can be added to these lists.
It’s possible to invite both internal and external stakeholders to the board, which will give everyone insight into the project overview and the current status of tasks. Since these users can also be assigned tasks, your team would be able to share documents and links on each card, while using labels to keep everything organized.
“I love that Trello is extremely simple. The features are very user-friendly and don’t require a lot of training to know how to use them. I also enjoy that the dashboard is very customizable, and even allows you to set a specific picture as your background.”
Kaitlin G. (Source: G2 Crowd)
“Without a doubt, Trello is excellent in all its work tools, but it does not allow to create repetitive work lists to be able to do ‘cycles’ of tasks.”
Miriannys G. (Source: G2 Crowd)
Asana is an application that’s designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. The app helps keep teams on schedule by making it simple to organize and plan workflows and projects. Priorities and deadlines can be set and seen in a visual project plan, which provides updates at a glance.
Compared to Trello, Asana has a more corporate target audience, so it may be better suited to larger teams. It can be used by a diverse set of departments (such as marketing, HR, and product), and it can even be used by an entire company (depending on the size).
Again, this focus on a range of target groups is reflected by its pricing structure. Asana is available in Basic, Premium, Business, and Enterprise packages.
Let’s imagine you lead a marketing team, and you’ve been assigned a project that’s very complex and time-sensitive. For the project to successfully move forward, every team member needs to work in harmony and deliver every task on time.
With its focus on kanban management, Asana makes it easy for project managers to quickly create the project and onboard the team. Sections, columns, and tasks can be used to organize the project, and these tasks will automatically populate a Gantt-style view to offer immediate and clear insight about the project.
As tasks are completed, the visuals change. The project manager is able to dispense status updates, comment on tasks, and create customer and portfolio reports.
“I love the versatile way you can organize information and ideas using the kanban-like interface! It’s like Trello, but more versatile! The mobile app works incredibly well, and the business features have been nice to use to share pages with clients.”
Jennifer S. (Source: G2 Crowd)
“Some really helpful features are only available with premium. It is probably worth the cost, but not something I want to spend money on right now. Some reminder features would be helpful, especially when deadlines are approaching and tasks are due soon. In some cases, getting a reminder on my phone would have been really helpful.”
Davis H. (Source: G2 Crowd)
Trello vs Asana: Key Comparisons
Now that we have a good overview of the two tools, let’s take a closer look at the critical areas.
Ease of Use and User Interface
The best project management tools are simple to use, and they have the gentlest learning curve possible, which helps encourage adoption and drive efficiency. If a tool is clunky and complex, teams will soon get frustrated. So rather than saving time, the tool can complicate and derail projects.
Both Trello and Asana are intuitive to use, offer a clean user interface, and are inspired by the kanban scheduling system. But Asana takes things a step further by incorporating a useful Timeline feature. Meanwhile, Trello can be used out-of-the-box in just a few minutes.
Both tools are impressive, in terms of UI and UX. They abide by established conventions to deliver an experience that feels comfortable and simple.
Pricing is an important factor to consider. Every cent that’s invested in a project affects profitability, so you’ll want to understand the investment that’s required in your project management tools.
Many key Trello features are offered for free, but it does have two paid alternative tiers:
- With Trello Gold, membership is just $5 per month (or $45 per year). This tier unlocks custom backgrounds, stickers, and emojis, as well as an increased limit of 250 MB for attachments.
- Trello Business Class offers a range of additional features that are geared more toward larger corporate teams. The package costs $10 per user per month, and it unlocks a range of admin and project management tools. Reports can be extracted, and the number of app integrations significantly increases.
Asana offers a free option to individuals and teams less than 15 people. However, a range of key features is missing, such as Timeline and Milestones. In terms of its paid tiers, Asana offers Premium, Business, and Enterprise.
In terms of features and pricing, there’s a vast difference between these tiers, so we won’t fully delve into them here. However, it’s important to understand that the complexity of Asana pricing is a key complaint of paid users. In addition to the pricing being more complex, it’s significantly higher than Trello.
Variety of Features for Agencies and Marketing Teams
Agencies and marketing teams have diverse sets of requirements in key areas. Here are the ways both of the tools compare.
File and Content Collaboration
Over the course of a project, modern multidisciplinary teams work on a huge range of files. To avoid confusion, project managers need to find a straightforward, clear way of organizing those files.
In terms of file and content collaboration, both platforms don’t offer advanced in-platform feedback and editing of multiple file formats. However, the platforms do accommodate for file-sharing and linking through integrations with platforms such as Google Docs and Onedrive.
Therefore, it’s possible to share key project documents. But if the team isn’t using the platform appropriately, document management could become a disruptive issue. If project managers decide to use Asana or Trello as their principal project management tools, they’ll want to complement it with a supplementary file and content collaboration tool.
At any given time, members of the team might find themselves working on a wide range of projects. It can become difficult to balance pending tasks, so project managers have to efficiently organize and distribute tasks.
When it comes to customized workflows, Trello tries to offer an overview through its Up Next and Highlights features in the home section. However, many users complain that the system is clunky, so it isn’t immediately apparent what the difference is between the two projects.
However, Asana offers a simpler interface to customize workflows. On the home section, users will see a simple Tasks Due Soon section alongside a Recent Project section. This compartmentalization helps users easily see the next item on their agenda.
Review and Approval Process
Project managers must be able to secure feedback from internal and external stakeholders. This task needs to be able to be quickly and accurately completed, in order to boost productivity and ensure that feedback loops can be constructively used to shape a project.
With its Timeline view, Asana makes it easier for project managers to gauge the progress of a project and see the best ways to focus on review and approval. The platform also makes it possible to assign a task to a team member, which is a nice touch that makes it easy for team members to hail project managers when they’re needed.
However, both platforms don’t offer a specific focus on the collection of clear internal and external feedback, so project managers will want to pursue alternative tools (such as Filestage) in this area.
Trello doesn’t include built-in reporting, but there is a huge range of Power-Ups that can be used to accomplish this goal. In other words, project managers are often able to coordinate reporting through Trello by using the tools they already know. They offer lots of options, so it’s a matter of project managers experimenting with the platform until they find the method that fits their particular needs.
Asana does offer integrated reporting, which gives project managers the ability to create easily accessible reports that can help them get a better handle on their team’s progress. Despite a walkthrough offered within the Asana guide, most users may find that it’s more convenient and effective to use one of the many Asana apps.
One issue with a single project management tool can cause serious disruptions and jeopardize the success of your project. So you need to know you can rely on timely, effective customer service whenever you need it.
Both of these tools offer detailed knowledge bases, as well as active community forums and strong customer support. The replies are prompt and detailed, which helps project managers keep the ball rolling, even during complicated times.
Asana has been in operation since 2008, and Trello was launched in 2011. So both of these platforms make good use of their experience and offer winning customer service and support.
Integrations and API
Project managers want a tool that fits within their established ecosystem. Integrations are very important, so in this sense, both platforms deliver.
Trello offers Power-Ups, a series of adaptable features and integrations that increase the functionality of Trello. Hundreds of these Power-Ups are available across a wide range of categories, including Analytics & Reporting, Automation, and Marketing & Social Media.
All of these Power-Ups are simple to install, and they can be accessed through buttons on Trello cards, which makes it simple to access new functionality. However, these Power-Ups are reserved for Business Class users.
Developers can even build their own Power-Ups, which can be submitted for inclusion in the public directory. In other words, the functionality of Trello is constantly evolving. Trello maintains detailed documentation for developers, which explains its approach to integrations and its API.
Likewise, Asana offers a range of integrations with key applications. The potential it presents is exciting, and it helps project managers boost their communication, file-sharing, and reporting functionalities. Again, Asana maintains a lot of information for developers.
Enterprises and Scalability
Project managers will want to use a project management tool that can grow along with their team and their scale of projects. In other words, all key functionalities should keep operating smoothly, and the number of team members and projects in operation at any one time should be limitless.
Both Trello and Asana are scalable, as evidenced by the various tiers of membership the platforms offer.
Trello makes it possible for project managers to create teams, and boards can be assigned to those teams. So it’s easy for a project manager to see everything that’s happening at a glance, including all relevant lists and cards in each project.
Various Trello integrations make it possible to keep tracking complex projects and receiving detailed automated reporting. Of course, these premium features require a Business Class membership.
If a company really wants to invest in Trello’s project management needs, it offers Enterprise solutions that can be created through direct consultation with the Trello team.
Asana offers similar functionality, which empowers project managers to create teams to organize various projects. However, this feature is considered premium, and requires an upgrade before it can be accessed.
Again, Asana offers a range of tiers that can be quite costly, but it also offers enterprise solutions to companies who want to make a more significant investment.
Asana vs Trello: The Verdict
Inarguably, both of these platforms are high-quality. As we’ve seen, the two are very evenly matched in a lot of key areas.
However, when it comes to ease of use, Trello makes it very easy for a new user to get started and get the maximum benefits from the platform. The layout is simple, and the drag-and-drop mechanics are particularly easy to understand.
If project managers are looking for a plain project management tool they can quickly implement within a team, this simplicity is a key benefit. But this simplicity comes at a price…
Asana offers a superior range of more sophisticated tools. Specifically, its timeline feature includes a Gantt chart, which can be a really useful way to help project managers track the progress of their projects (including the placement of bottlenecks).
When it comes to Asana, the general organization of tasks is also good. Team members are given a clear list of priorities, while Trello’s homepage can be a bit confusing and unwieldy.
On both platforms, the free options are somewhat limited. They’re primarily intended to be try-before-you-buy previews. That said, the free version of Trello offers more functionality than Asana. Of course, both platforms have numerous integrations and applications.
At the end of the day, Trello is a cheaper and more bare-bones option for smaller teams. But if you plan on making a significant investment, you might find that Asana’s range of additional tools and features make it a savvier choice.
Our Verdict: Asana
Suitable Alternatives for Marketing Teams and Agencies
Both Trello and Asana are not a perfect fit for every business. Here’s a closer look at some powerful alternatives to Asana and Trello for marketing teams and agencies:
Filestage is a marketing project management software and allows project managers to simplify the review and approval process for all collaterals related to a digital project. Those managers can quickly secure accurate feedback and sign off on projects from clients, coworkers, and other stakeholders.
Filestage is aimed at project managers working on both marketing teams and agencies. These managers understand the challenges of acquiring clear and timely feedback from a range of stakeholders, so they demand a slick, technology-driven solution.
Let’s picture an advertising agency that works to create high-quality video content for a range of international clients. After the first round of editing, the project manager needs a simple, effective way of collecting feedback from the client.
Using Filestage, the client can quickly leave their feedback about the video in a clear way that the entire team can understand. On top of that, Filestage allows you to adapt your current review process and digitize it. Filestage is meant to streamline the way you communicate and view internal and external reviews. It allows you to have multiple internal and external review steps where you can manage who can access different files and comments.
Workfront is aimed at a range of teams within large businesses, which includes IT, marketing, product development, and professional services teams. Specifically, it helps these teams connect, optimize, and adapt their work to be more productive.
Marketing teams often find it difficult to show the impact of their work. Workfront can help project managers track the results of their projects, which helps balance competing priorities and makes teams more productive.
Brightpod is a piece of software of marketing project management that aims to take the chaos out of managing projects. It achieves this goal by helping managers define priorities and focus on what really matters.
Brightpod is aimed at digital marketing and creative teams that need to find solutions that will improve collaboration and planning. The tool achieves this goal by offering features such as task management, time tracking, and activity logs.
If a marketing project manager is struggling to keep a lid on a wide range of projects, Brightpod can help. This tool can help managers get an idea of a project’s progress at a glance, and find out exactly what’s going on.
We hope this post has helped you make a wise decision between Trello and Asana. As you’ve seen, both tools have a lot of potential, but they often require the addition of a supplementary platform to unlock their full benefits.
Max is a SaaS enthusiast and loves actionable content that provides direct value.