In your current hunt for the best project management software for your time, you might have heard of a couple of tools available on the market. I’m sure you’ve heard of the two hard-hitters, Asana and Trello (and not to throw in confusion, but Monday.com or ClickUp could possibly be the best fit for you also). Trello vs. Asana – what’s it gonna be?
In this post, I’ll help you weigh the pros and cons of both platforms. I’ve used both tools extensively for a while now, so I can go in-depth to help you decide between the two. By the end, I hope you get a clearer idea of which will suit your team better.
Let’s get started.
Asana VS. Trello
In Asana, the central unit of work is a task. A lot of companies with a more task-oriented approach use it. In Trello, units are measured in cards. Trello was modeled after a real-life Kanban Board, so you stick notes on different columns.
Trello’s goal is to simplify management, so it’s effortless to understand and use. However, you’re likely to feel like it’s not doing enough as your team expands.
On the other hand, Asana has more of a learning curve, but it had more capabilities than Trello overall.
I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we get to the smaller details, let me give you a quick overview of Asana and Trello.
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Trello was founded by Joel Spolsky and Michael Pryor back in 2011. Since then, it has steadily been gaining users among individuals and teams alike.
Atlassian, the maker of JIRA, acquired Trello in 2017, which made a lot of sense. Many teams would often compare Trello and JIRA but eventually end up using JIRA because it was ultimately more capable.
After further development, the Trello team managed to turn things around. With tools like Zepel, more teams were more inclined to use Trello over JIRA.
The developers of Trello made it a point to approach project management differently, which was very evident when it was founded. Unlike most software in this genre, Trello focused more on the workflow of tasks instead of projects as a whole.
Because Trello took the simple route, it only features three things: boards, lists, and cards.
The Trello Board
I mentioned before that Trello is modeled after a Kanban Board. What does this mean? Teams now have the flexibility to look at each board as a project in itself. Columns indicate the flow which each card will go through. All the actual collaborations happen in the cards themselves.
So if your team is used to using boards with sticky notes at your office, using Trello would be the next natural progression. Since Trello has a more visual approach to project management, your team will be able to see who’s working on what task.
Your team can then organize your Trello board to monitor the progress of each overall task as the cards move from one column to another. All the progress made within each smaller task is indicated in the cards as well.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say your team is working on web development. You could name your columns “to do,” “priority,” “in progress,” “reviewed,” and “done.” All the cards would be in “to do” at first. As your team gets to work, the cards should make their way to the “done” column.
That was just an example. Of course, you can name the column however you see fit. Team members can open up cards and add labels and descriptions to them. You can even upload attachments, set due dates, and have discussions.
One of the founders of Facebook, Dustin Moskovitz, and early Facebook employee Justin Rosenstein started Asana back in 2008. They kept it in private beta for nearly four years before its commercial launch in April 2012. Today Asana has users in 190 countries and over 93,000 paying customers.
Asana puts its primary focus on projects. Every project that you create within Asana can be broken down into sections to categorize tasks. Consequently, every task can have subtasks with unique descriptions, tags, and comments.
After selecting a project, you can make tasks for it by clicking the plus button up top. Opening a specific task will show you its details panel, where you can add more information. The detailed view of each task will also include a timeline of all the activities involved with it.
You don’t have to be limited to a list view. You can also view your tasks on a board, timeline, or calendar. All the comments and other details about the project are consolidated in a separate tab called Inbox.
Asana’s Other Features
Trello, unlike Asana, was primarily built as a Kanban software, so it doesn’t have any other views built-in. Your team would have a view of the kanban board, and that’s it. If you don’t like this view, you’re going to have to use 3rd party power-ups. Still, no power-up will ever let you view everything in one list, and you might be wasting your money on add-on features on Trello.
Asana has different views right from the get-go. It comes with a list view, board view, calendar view, and timeline view. However, you don’t get the timeline view on the free plan.
Asana also comes with the usual features like assigning tasks, putting due dates, making comments, adding tags, filing attachments, and all sorts of integrations. I should note, though, that Asana doesn’t let you add multiple assignees to each task, unlike Trello.
Just basing it on the number of features and views available on the platform, Asana is the winner here. I wouldn’t dismiss Trello just yet, though. Remember, it’s all about what your team needs.
But to fully disclose, I have used Trello for years now for my projects and I love it. I actually looked at switching to ClickUp at one point, but moving systems is just too hard when the tool already does what you need it to.
If I can only impart one piece of advice with this post, it’s this: you shouldn’t have to choose a project management software based on how much it costs and sacrifice your team’s productivity.
As long as your team is benefiting from the tools and capabilities of the platform, the extra costs shouldn’t be a problem. That being said, it may be perfectly fine for your team to be using free software right now. I’m just saying that as your team expands, don’t be stingy on the software.
Now that’s out of the way; I’m going to compare Trello and Asana based on pricing.
Trello is much like the many project management tools out there in that it follows a freemium pricing model. You’re allowed to use a particular set of its features for free. If your team needs more capabilities, you’ll have to start paying some fees.
So Trello is free to use at first, and the features available on the free version are, of course, limited. Business-class costs $9.99 per member per month when paid annually. If paid monthly, business class will cost $12.50. There is also an enterprise plan that costs $17.50 per member per month.
With Trello’s free plan, an unlimited number of users can be on a team. You only really need to pay more for the extra features.
The more your team uses Trello, the more you’ll realize how much better it would be to use its paywalled features. For example, I found it necessary to make the upgrade for larger file attachments, custom fields, and more power-ups.
On the free plan, you can only use one power-up per board. This really isn’t ideal, especially if you’d like to have it on calendar or timeline views. So not only will you have to pay for the business class, but you’ll also have to pay for 3rd party companies who made those power-ups.
Asana isn’t any different from Trello in that it also follows a freemium model. A team of 15 members can be on the free plan with, of course, a limited set of features. The premium plan costs $10.99 per member per month if paid annually. If you pay it monthly, members will have to pay $13.40 each.
The business plan costs $24.99 per member per month if paid annually. If you pay it monthly, members will have to pay $30.49 each. There is also an enterprise plan if the business plan isn’t cutting it. You will have to contact Asana’s sales team to be on that plan.
Yes, it looks like Asana’s free plan costs about a dollar more than Trello’s. Keep in mind, though, that Asana offers more features just with the free plan alone.
If you consider Asana’s and Trello’s features that come with their plans, it’s hard to make a solid verdict. You just have to weigh your team’s needs against the prices. It all boils down to preference.
Your team could collaborate easily on both Trello and Asana. Naturally, both tools are designed and packed with collaboration-focused features like assignees, tags, comments, descriptions, due dates, and file attachments. Use whiteboards to further improve remote collaboration of the team.
With Trello’s free plan, you can have an unlimited number of members on your team. Small teams and startup companies can take full advantage of this, especially when they don’t have a need for complex features yet.
With Asana’s free plan, only a team of 15 members can be on it. You also only have a 100MB limit for file uploads, even with the paid plans, which is a real shame.
Trello wins in terms of collaboration. You could have a team of 30 members right now, and none of you would have to pay a penny to be on a plan.
Dependencies is one of if not the most critical features in a project management software, above all other collaboration-specific features.
Trello, in particular, doesn’t have the ability to mark dependencies between cards. Asana outperforms Trello in this aspect.
You can add dependencies between tasks in Asana and display them on a timeline. This timeline view comes in handle dependencies that are coinciding with each other.
Dependencies in Asana
Unlike Zepel, you should bear in mind that Asan’s free plan doesn’t have dependencies. Dependencies are only available to Asana users who have upgraded to a higher-costing package.
When it comes to managing dependencies, Asana is the obvious winner. If this is one of your priorities, this is a no-brainer.
UX and Ease of Use
Trello and Asana have both put a lot of effort into creating functionality that’s simple to use. Both also have a fantastic user interface.
You might already be aware that Trello is recognized for its ease of use. It wouldn’t take you longer than 10 minutes to assemble the whole staff in one room and explain how Trello operates.
Trello is the glaring solution for many teams because it eliminates the need for spreadsheets. Not like in Trello, you might not be able to elaborate on all of Asan’s features to the whole squad in a matter of minutes. Of course, you might say that it’s partially due to Asana’s superior functionality.
I like that Asana has a navbar for navigation and has unique tabs within created projects for various views to make your team’s life easier. The sections in Asana can help you categorize tasks into separate buckets.
If you get confused, both Trello and Asana have extensive documentation and fairly supportive forums.
If you want to get started right away, your team should go with Trello. Asana might be the right choice if you’re willing to wait for your team members to learn their way around the platform or if you need the extra functionality.
Both Asana and Trello have great third-party incorporation. Both platforms have partnered up with over a hundred tools! Slack, Dropbox, Hubspot, Salesforce, InVision, and a slew of other apps are available.
If the tool you want to use isn’t on their lists, you may be able to get the integration working with Zapier. Please keep in mind that while both Trello and Asana have Bitbucket, GitLab, and GitHub integrations, neither of them is as well-integrated as other management tools, such as Zepel.
Either way, you’re gold on Trello or Asana when it comes to integrations.
A Quick Pros and Cons List For Trello
- It’s easy to get started.
- It’s simple to enlist the help of the squad.
- It supports a variety of scenarios, including software development and blog calendars.
- An unlimited number of people can use it for free.
- It allows you to easily see what’s going on.
- Its advanced filters make it easier to find what you’re looking for.
- You don’t need a credit card to get started.
- You can’t import anything if you’re coming from other platforms.
- You can’t export your data on the free version, which will confine your team to the Trello platform.
- It’s not the easiest thing to manage software projects. You’ll find that you want to move to another platform sooner than later.
- There is such a thing as too much flexibility on Trello, which makes boards harder to manage.
- You don’t get a list view.
- It doesn’t have quick commands.
- It doesn’t have a lot of agile functionality. You can use it for scrum, but it isn’t a complete scrum tool since it lacks user stories and estimation points.
- It’s not the best tool for software development because it lacks the necessary capabilities.
A Quick Pros and Cons List For Asana
- Its interface is easy to navigate.
- You get several views to map out your projects.
- You can put custom tags.
- It comes with numerous integrations.
- You can view the tasks assigned to you.
- Save templates.
- Can use its filters to narrow down your searches easily.
- You’re forced to pay more because of the paywalled features that your team may need to use.
- Tasks can’t have multiple assignees.
- There is quite a learning curve.
- Only 15 members can be on the free plan.
- It doesn’t have quick commands.
- You can’t view tasks (and subtasks) all at once.
- It’s not as powerful as a full-fledged agile tool.
A Comparison Table For Trello and Asana
|Pricing||The free plan can be used by unlimited members with restricted features. The business plan starts at $12.50 per user per month.||The free plan can be used by 15 members with restricted features. The premium plan starts at $13.49 per user per month.|
|Notable Features||Kanban boardsPower-ups||Access controls Project portfolios Kanban boards Calendar and timeline views|
|Agile Capabilities||Has some agile capabilities with 3rd-party integration||Doesn’t have scrum capabilities and agile reports.|
|Integrations||It has tons of integrations that can be used for CRM, design, etc.||It Has native integrations, including Slack, SalesForce, and Zendesk|
|Best For||Starting non-technical teamsMarketers||FreelancersSmall businesses Engineering teams|
As you can see, both Asana and Trello have their own advantages. The ideal tool for your team is, of course, going to depend on its size and needs.
For example, Trello may be a great fit for a smaller engineering team. If you’re working within a non-technical team (like marketing or advertising), Asana might be a great fit.
Trello and Asana wouldn’t be the best fit for larger engineering teams. You may want to look around and consider some of the most common alternatives for Trello. You could add Asana as a source to Zepel and submit requests if you’re using Asana and have dependencies with your engineering team.
Other Management Software Aside From Asana and Trello
If you’re part of a software development team searching for more capabilities than Trello or Asana has to offer, Zepel is a viable solution. Zepel has agile methodologies (scrum and kanban), provides useful reports, and has developer-friendly features to keep your team productive.
Unlike other project management software, Zepel allows you to import customer reviews and bug reports from other tools like Zendesk, Intercom, and Sentry. You can then prioritize your tasks with the right context and create customer-focused products with ease.
Even if you add more than five members, the first five’s memberships are always going to be free too. And if you are on the free plan, Zepel won’t limit you in terms of functionality. The standard plan begins at $5 per member per month when paid annually and $7 per member per month when paid monthly.
If we’re talking about industry standards, we look to JIRA. When other tools aren’t capable enough for software teams that want agile features, they eventually turn to JIRA.
However, in recent years, this pattern has begun to change. More and more teams are dissatisfied with the tool’s slowness. That’s why most modern teams would rather consider JIRA alternatives.
Your first 10 JIRA members can use the platform free of charge. There are, however, certain limitations in terms of features. Plus, when you move to the premium plan, which starts at $5 per member per month, JIRA’s pricing policy requires you to pay for the first ten members anyway.
When Notion was publicly released in June 2018, it took the industry by surprise. Notion is multipurpose productivity software that can be used as a project management tool, note-taking app, and more.
It’s easy to use and can be shaped in whatever direction you choose. Since it’s so adaptable, many teams use Notion as an alternative to Evernote, Asana, and Trello.
You can download it for free, and you’ll have the option to invite up to five guests. If you want to use the paywalled features, the paid plans range from $4 to $8 per member per month.
For non-technical teams looking for a Trello or Asana alternative, Wrike is a great option that has been around for a while. It has kanban boards, Gantt charts, time monitoring, custom templates, and excellent integration with familiar applications like Dropbox, Excel, and Salesforce.
Wrike offers a free account with restricted features for up to five users. Their paid packages range from $9.80 to $24.80 per member per month.
If you own a remote services business that doesn’t need views like kanban or Gantt, Basecamp is an excellent alternative to both Trello and Asana. Founded in 1999, Basecamp has task tracking, a forum-like view for messaging, to-do lists, time tracking, and check-in buttons.
Basecamp’s pricing is also straightforward. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial and try out all of the services. Once the trial period ends, you will be charged a monthly fee of $99 for an infinite number of projects and users.
Should you choose Zepel over Trello and Asana?
If you have a team working on software products, I have to say that Zepel is the simplest project management tool designed for such a team. It’s designed to take away all of the frustrations and inefficiencies that teams face during the production phase.
Zepel makes it simple to create customer-focused apps with features that bring the customer’s exact words into the tool for quick prioritization, sprints, boards, reviews, automated scanning, and more.
With cool features like markdown editors, hierarchical view, deep integrations, and chrome extension, Zepel goes above and beyond to make the collaboration process more efficient.
The best part is that you can import your current data from other platforms with a single click. You can also use Zepel for free!
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A project management tool is essential for a team with strict goals. Whichever you choose, it should allow you to build task hierarchy quicks for accurate and timely execution. It should allow you to specify which steps are linear and which tasks are interdependent.
Of course, there’s also the matter of price. As a small team, take advantage of the free software that is available right now. When the time comes for expansion, don’t be afraid to shell out the extra money for a project management tool that will accommodate your new goals.