There are some common problems at work in almost every industry, mountains of emails, inefficient progress debriefing meetings, and team members working on the same project not having access to the same information. Day in and day out, these questions can slowly overwhelm one and bring a lot of "work about work" at the same time.
Two Facebook engineers got tired of dealing with such problems, so they worked together on a side project to make their workflow Buy email list easier, which ended up being a $900 million company.
When these Facebook engineers singled out their side project to start a standalone company, Asana, their sole goal was to eliminate email at work. But in the process, they discovered many ways to make collaboration and communication more effective. Better project management and collaboration can benefit every team in every industry.
So the Asana team did a very difficult thing, they built a tool that anyone in any company can use and love to use.
They do this by focusing on two main things:
They intentionally manage the boundaries of the product only around project management.
They are committed to developing a best-in-class project management tool for a broad user base.
By reimagining communication in the workplace and linking emails, data and project information updates, Asana helps companies build a "team brain" that allows them to work better, smarter and more together. Today, the company has more than 20,000 paying users, including Airbnb and Uber, and hundreds of thousands of free users.
Let's take a deeper look at how Asana is based on a noble idea to develop a SaaS tool that works for everyone, both for free users and for teams in large enterprises. In this article, we will mainly answer the following questions:
How did Asana clearly define their product in its private beta phase to differentiate it from other collaboration software?
How Asana is iterated and tested with a broad user base to understand what product features resonate with the broad user base.
How did Asana double down on creating a great user experience and redesign the product from the ground up?
The Asana team didn't necessarily build a perfect product, but they had a very strong product vision and made smart adjustments to the product along the way. These long-term strategies are valuable to anyone trying to grow a company. Let's dig a little deeper.
2008-2011: Asana's private beta and differentiation from other home of collaboration tools
"Our goal is to build a product that works for everyone, in the same spirit as products like email are." - Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Asana.
The Asana tool and the company were built with that in mind. Two of the first things Asana's co-founders settled on when starting the company in 2008 were a product codebase and a list of company values. They wanted more than just an app, they wanted to create a whole new way of working.