For those in the Asana ecosystem, it’s very exciting to see Asana continuing to grow its customer base (>93,000 users!) and onboard more enterprise customers.
As this growth continues, more and more customers are finding that having thousands of tasks and projects that can be difficult to keep track of.
So it makes sense that in Asana’s most recent quarterly update “Work Graph visualizations & reporting” was the first area for major investment*.
Not everyone within an organization is an Asana user, or wants to log into Asana to get an understanding of the progress of an important project. These could be executives, managers, clients, or other wo-workers on a different team.
These stakeholders often want to be able to quickly get simple and actionable reports, with the ability to view this information from multiple angles.
Real-time is key, as well as having the flexibility to customize charts to fit with the organization’s unique Asana structure.
So, we wanted to dive into what “Asana Reporting” actually means:
- What are the options for an organization that wants to export Asana data across their organization?
- How can Asana users better understand patterns across huge amounts of data within Asana?
We break “Asana Reporting” down into 3 main categories:
#1: “THE SCREENSHOT”
Simply take screenshots of a relevant view in Asana and paste into an email or Slack and send the image. It’s tedious and isn’t scalable, but can work to quickly share simple status updates.
With this method, you can answer basic questions for someone that doesn’t have Asana – “what tasks are due this week” or “how many tasks are currently overdue?” From a “List View” in Asana, if you filter all open and incomplete tasks, you can take a simple screenshot, and paste into a Slack, email, or PowerPoint.
Asana has no limits on this (you can even do it on the free plan) but in exchange your data is clunky, static, and hard to read. (NOTE: we don’t recommend this method except for a few one-off scenarios)
Although simple, this probably isn’t the most ideal way to share information across your organization. Your colleagues likely prefer a cleaner, formatted version of your reports.
“The screenshot” is a “quick and dirty” solution to share with someone looking to see a snapshot of your progress. Don’t worry, this isn’t the only way!
#2: BUILT-IN ASANA TOOLS
The second way to share reports with your organization is by using Asans’s built-in reporting tools. These tools vary based on your needs and your Asana account level.
Let’s start with Project Dashboards:
From within an Asana project, click “Dashboard”
From here, you’ll see options to create simple Dashboards. These are great tools to be able to better understand and visualize high level metrics that are happening within your project: “How many tasks are open?”
You have the option to create custom reports with relevant milestones, filters, and a selection of different chart types.
Although these Project-level reports are helpful, as you can see there are a limited number of metrics that can be accessed. Often, they don’t quite hit the advanced reporting needs of more sophisticated, enterprise customers.
Another option Asana offers is the ability to export and download a CSV file of your Asana tasks. This provides a one time “snapshot” of what your project data looked like at that particular time.
Once you download the CSV, the file can be opened in Excel or Google Sheets where you have all the power of your favorite spreadsheets to create reports, charts, pivot tables, graphs, etc.
Although useful, the major drawback is that the data is static. Once any task is updated in Asana, it will not be reflected in your spreadsheet. The data will almost immediately be outdated.
There’s no doubt Asana has already greatly improved its reporting and dashboarding functionality and will continue to do so in the future. You can read more about Asana’s reporting capabilities here and here.
#3: 3RD PARTY TOOLS
Lastly, as an open platform, 3rd party developers (like us!) have the ability to create applications that allow customers to expand the value of their Asana data. You can find a number of reporting tools here, including Velocity!
(Asana also has great integrations for time tracking, file sharing, and other popular platforms- make sure to check those out too.)
Velocity connects directly to your Asana account, and is specifically built for Asana reporting. When you create a Velocity account, your Asana data is automatically imported so you can quickly get a high level understanding of project stats across clients, projects, and teams.
There are 2 ways to access your exported Asana data within Velocity:
- Velocity Application
- Data Links
Within the app itself, you can access dashboards and reports, build custom reports or use one of the dozen preset reports to give you a headstart. These dashboards are continuously updated, so when Asana is updated, Velocity is too.
If you want to ask “How long do tasks take to complete from the Engineering team versus the Design team?” you can create a simple report that not only shows you the answer right away but is updated in real-time so you have accurate charts for the next time you log in.
The second option to view your data is with a Data Link. Data Links are most helpful if there is a lot of data to manipulate or your team has very specific reporting needs.
Remember that problem when downloading CSV files from Asana? With Data Links, you can create a raw data feed of the relevant rows and columns that automatically refreshes any time there is an update in Asana.
No need to download a CSV every time you want to create a report! Your spreadsheet is always up to date and accurate.
When creating Data Links in Velocity, you have the ability to add only the most relevant columns of data for your organization – including custom fields. You can also filter by assignee, project, section, tag, team, completed date, and more!
Remember – whether you choose to use Data Links or work directly in the Velocity application, all reports and dashboards are continuously updated and refreshed with real-time data.
We hope this breakdown was helpful for you. We’d love to hear from you on your best practices for exporting and reporting on your Asana data!
Of course – feel free to reach out to us anytime: [email protected]