Airtable vs Asana for Project Management

Airtable vs Asana for Project Management

In this video I give an overview of Airtable and Asana as Project Management tools. I look at the functionality, views, integration and then summarise which one you might want to consider at the end of the video.


Welcome back to the channel my name is Chris Wray and i’m a Technology Consultant.

In this video I’m going to be talking about Asana and Airtable and how they can both be used to manage your projects.

I get a lot of questions about Asana and Airtable but one of the most popular ones that’s come up recently is which system should I be
using to manage my projects and projects in this case can be programs of work, tasks, or just the individual projects themselves.

There doesn’t seem to be much on youtube in terms of answering this question. One YouTuber kind of did a review and said basically Airtable is too hard, so you should use Asana so I didn’t really think that was fair.

I’m just going to give you a brief overview of a project in both asana and Airtable and give you some understanding of the details behind it the views and so on. At the end of the video I will summarise why I think you should use either of the systems Asana or Airtable and some of the benefits and some of the things you may want to consider so stick with it to the end.

Here we have an example project inside Asana, it’s just a sample project I have some of the tasks in here completed some are not and
not all of the details are here and then within Airtable I have the same project. So what i’ve done is exported out of Asana and just brought these very same items back into Airtable so the project is essentially the same.

What i’m going to do is to take you through some of these views. When you open Asana you get the list view and just looking at this particular task we can see that it has sub tasks within it we can see that it’s due on the 29th of May 2020 last year and there are some various custom fields and a description and so on but looking at Airtable we can also see that we have the same ability to view individual
tasks in exactly the same way. We can see the description, the section, who it’s assigned to, its current status, start dates, due dates
and so on and so forth.
Essentially any any field you want to reproduce can be, it’s just simply a case of adding a new field to Airtable. Very similar in terms of the the grid or list view between Asana and Airtable.

Then we move on to what is popular in terms of those people moving from Trello is what’s referred to as the board view in Asana essentially a Kanban board you could just as easy have your backlog, doing and done in very similar way. Again you can just open up the details in the same way as you can in the list view, that not surprisingly is exactly the same in Airtable. You can move things around in exactly the same way in Airtable as you can in Asana. There’s no real difference to the board view if you wanted to open the details
you can open the details of any of the individual tasks.

Next in Asana we have the timeline view. Not surprisingly it’s exactly the same inside Airtable. I’ve called it the gantt view, it’s also the timeline view. Similarly we see exactly the same thing it’s almost identical in Airtable as it is in Asana.

The next one we have is the calendar view. Just forgive me and just imagine that it would probably look something very similar to this
view within Airtable where each item has a date. Some of these things are running over more than one day and you can change it to week view, day view and so on. Ah that’s interesting. So I can’t put a spread of dates within Asana but I can choose the months and so on. So some slight differences there but you’ll notice here that you can turn weekends off in Asana. Potentially you could create a formula to remove certain dates or you could filter by removing the weekend or using a date range on the calendar view within Airtable.

Okay so essentially that’s the views. There is of course the form for getting data into each of these systems so if I want to create a task
within a project I can add it within this form and it will appear within the project itself. You can attach files, you can put in dates, not surprisingly we have pretty much the identical function in Airtable and Asana.

One of the areas that is fairly recent to Asana within the last year or so, is people wanted to add more fields within their Asana setup so there’s a number of items so you can have dropdown boxes, text, this is good for selecting teams or individuals or whether there’s a category or priority within your tasks or even whether there’s a currency available for each of the individual tasks. Ideal for materials or costs. Choose from library is relatively new where you can save a particular data type and describe it as something so you can reuse it within projects or programs.

For Airtable, this really is where Airtable excels because basically to add another field you just create a field type and you can have
anything whatsoever. This is the real power of Airtable and what’s really interesting is currencies, percentages,rating but the probably the most powerful one is the formula. The formula is just not yet available within Asana so my sample here I created some examples.

Here is just a simple example but actually you can have really really complex formulas and complex formulas that bring in data from other tables. This is really where the power of Airtable is and I’ll talk about some of the benefits of using Airtable over Asana at the end of the video.

One of the other places where I think Asana excels over Airtable is this dashboard. If you’re the project manager or you’re a manager managing multiple projects, if you’re team lead or someone you can see the overall summary of your project. We also get the same sort of thing in the overview where you can add in your milestones, you can create a project brief, you can add project roles and there’s this
tracking status you know so you can report at the end of the week whether it’s on track, at risk, or off track.
I think a combination of the overview and the dashboard give you the majority of the essential reporting tools. I’ve not found them particularly useful mainly because some of my clients want baseline versus current and things that are more complex and I don’t think Asana really has got there yet. However the basic dashboard and overview will give the majority of people what they want. For Airtable of course this isn’t available
in the standard views.

However in the the Apps, another piece of functionality that that allows you to do things with the data. (This is probably a whole other video in itself) but you can use the data within Airtable to create pivot tables, do page designs etc. This is probably what I would use for reporting.

Within Asana, one of the the most often used areas is the ‘My Tasks’ section where all the tasks assigned to me are located. In Airtable it’s slightly different. What all I’ve done is i’ve taken a grid view and added a filter, so within the filter are only the tasks assigned to Joe Bloggs. You could create multiple views and individual users could create their own view. You could also filter by tasks that are due in the next week so Airtable is potentially more powerful here.

Essentially there’s a lot of similarities but there are some things that are very different and I think using either system can essentially get you what you want.

On top of this there is Integration. You can connect Asana and Airtable to a huge suite of applications using Zapier. Asana has some integration out of the box with Harvest time tracking. Harvest is a little bit clunky as far as I’m concerned it’s a very manual but
it’s built into Asana so if you’re using Harvest already it makes life easier. They both also have links to adding files in Google Drive Dropbox and some of the more popular online storage applications. So instead of having to upload files into the platform you just provide

So in summary this was a brief overview and comparison of Asana and Airtable. What’s really important is there are some very large organisations with with multiple teams, multiple programmes, and in some cases I’ve seen Global teams using both systems and they all
work perfectly. You can see that there are customisations and a lot of the issues I see with client work is really in setting them both up correctly to work to support your business.

So which one should you use.

I think if you want something that works primarily out of the box, you really don’t want to go up the learning curve of Airtable you should potentially look at Asana. Airtable on the other hand is a more configurable database so the learning curve is a bit steeper, but as you can see it’s a lot more powerful in the use of formulas. The Airtable database could add in additional data, particularly if you’re
looking at something like inventory management or weights and measures or you sell custom products by sizing or
weight or something like that and you’re already using another database for this you could potentially combine Airtable and your database.

I hope that was helpful thanks very much I’ll see you in the next video.

Airtable vs Asana for Project Management

Take a look at my Airtable Consulting page.  For more about Airtable see here.

Take a look at my Asana Consulting page.  For more about Asana see here.

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