Project management tools: Monday.com vs Asana
Monday.com and Asana are two of the biggest project management solutions available today. Both offer convenient ways to organize your work to help you meet deadlines and make the best use of your time, but they also offer a lot of different features. Let’s take a closer look at how Monday.com and Asana stack up, as well as which project management solution is best for your freelance needs.
Monday.com – Put your fingers on the “pulse”
Monday.com is great for projects of any size. It’s also highly visual and very intuitive, so you don’t need any training to use it.
Monday.com uses a visual board system which shows you all the tasks you need to do to complete a project. Each of the tasks, which they call “pulses,” have their own status column with customizable progress indicators to help you keep track of your work.
You can create your board yourself, or use one of the more than 200 ready-made templates, and drag and drop in over 30 types of columns to customize your board to do things like assign tasks, prioritize what’s important, set timelines and dependencies, and manage your workload (or your team’s workload, if applicable) all in one place.
Choose your view
There are also several different views available so you can see your project the way you want to, such as by Timeline or Gantt chart to see deadlines and dependencies, by Calendar to see how your tasks spread out over time, and even by Kanban, where you move task cards from column to column to map out what needs to be done. These are all easily accessible through a drop-down menu.
If you are working with a team, you can easily communicate and share files no matter where you are with the mobile app. And besides managing tasks for your projects, Monday.com also offers easy-to-use reporting and financial management capabilities. Formula columns allow you to perform different financial calculations just like an Excel spreadsheet.
Asana – Using lists to get the job done
Asana was one of the first cloud-based project management programs, and it employs a more traditional method of organizing tasks around projects. Besides freelancers, many small and medium-sized businesses like Asana because it has extra features that can be used to manage complex projects. Asana is a trusted tool that has been featured on many best freelance apps lists.
Coincidentally, Asana is all about lists. You break your project down into lists of tasks. Each of those tasks also contains a list of what needs to be done to complete it, including lists of subtasks with due dates. You can also adjust your lists, so you only see what you need, such as the tasks due soon, or the ones already completed.
Like Monday.com, you can view your project in different ways, such as by calendar or timeline to see where your priorities need to be right now, and to see where tasks overlap. You can also create a Kanban board which visually displays the tasks you need to do and then move them around to show your progress.
Streamlining your processes
Asana can help you streamline your processes by creating customized rules to automate common tasks like assigning work and setting due dates. You can also choose from more than 50 templates for your processes that can help you save time and improve efficiency.
If you are working on a team project, Asana is a great collaboration tool. Besides commenting on tasks and communicating with your team, Asana’s workload function can track and measure the work capacity of each person on your team. This helps ensure that no one is being overworked while others are left twiddling their thumbs.
How do their prices compare?
Price shouldn’t be your only consideration when choosing project management software, though Monday.com and Asana do have different pricing structures. It’s a good idea to compare the costs so you know exactly what you are getting for your investment, and whether you need to adjust your own working rates to maintain monthly subscription costs.
Monday.com’s pricing is a bit more complicated than Asana. Monday.com is free, but only for two team members. While that gives you an unlimited number of boards, it offers few features, such as the different views. Monday.com then goes up in price if you want to work with more team members and use more features.
The Basic plan includes unlimited team members and provides greater customer support and file storage for $11 per user per month up to a maximum price of $33 per month if you sign up for a year. The Standard plan is the most popular, though. It includes Calendar, Gantt, and Timeline views, as well as limited automations and integrations for $14 per user per month up to a maximum price of $42 per month for a year.
Then, there is the Pro plan for $22 per user per month that includes all the features and increased automations and integrations. There is a customized Enterprise plan for larger companies.
Asana is free, but only for collaborating with up to 15 team members. For freelancers, the free offering should provide you with the basic features you need to manage simple projects. But if you have a bigger team and want to access Asana’s automation capabilities and other advanced features, you’ll need to upgrade to Premium.
Premium is $10.99 per user per month if you sign up for a year, or $13.49 if you pay monthly. Companies that manage work across different projects can buy the Business level for $24.99 per user per month. You can also contact them directly for Enterprise pricing for large teams.
Monday.com vs Asana–the details
Let’s take a closer look at the various features to see how the two project management tools compare.
Task dependency can be critical if you have tasks that cannot start until another is completed.
Monday.com has a Dependency Column that allows you to create connections between tasks. When you add to this column, an automation is immediately added to your board to ensure that particular tasks never start before the tasks they are dependent on.
Asana has a built-in task dependency management system that allows you to designate particular tasks that need to wait for another task to be done first. After that task is done, a notification is sent to you or the team member waiting to proceed with their task.
You want to be able to easily integrate your project management software with other cloud services, apps, and programs that you, your team, and your clients use so you don’t waste time switching between different software.
Monday.com offers fewer integrations than Asana, but it does have many of the most useful ones for a freelancer, such as Zapier, Slack, Dropbox, and Microsoft Teams. It also integrates with other project management software like Jira—and even Asana!
But Asana is the clear winner here. It offers more than 100 integrations, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Dropbox, Mailchimp, and more. Asana's integrations with time tracking tools and other software can help you maximize your productivity and efficiency.
If your clients need to give you highly confidential, proprietary information to do your work, you want to make sure your project management system has the right security systems in place to project the information you are using.
Both Monday.com and Asana are compliant with many security and privacy regulations, including General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
While Asana does offer single sign-on authorization through Google on Premium plans and up, Monday.com offers optional two-factor authentication for extra security on all plans.
Monday.com provides many handy ways to help you navigate their software and assist you out if you have any problems, such as tutorials, forums, webinars, and help guides. It even has phone support, which is good for those times you need help right away.
Asana has FAQs, forums, webinars, and help guides, as well as Asana Use Cases, to learn how others have used Asana for projects similar to yours. There is no phone number to call for a quick response though.
With Monday.com you can only comment on specific tasks. When you click on a task, or pulse, a window opens up where you can leave comments and attach files. The mobile app also has an inbox that displays all the communication on your boards, even if you’re not mentioned in the comment or been assigned the task.
With Asana, you can comment on more than a specific task. There is a dedicated window where you can start a conversation about the entire project, as well as a team page for discussions and announcements. Your inbox alerts you when a conversation starts and when you are mentioned in a comment.
Asana also has a unique feature that is good for designers. When you upload an image within a task, people can click on any part of it to give feedback.
Monday.com has a highly intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Its charm comes from offering the simplicity of a collaboration tool, with the addition of the functionality you may need to manage your entire project, such as reporting and calculating finances.
Once you create a board for your project it’s easy to figure out how to add tasks, details, and columns, as well as switch views. Some people may find the interface a bit too simplistic, however. For example, some icons don’t have labels and may not be immediately recognizable.
Asana is also intuitive, but its user interface is more traditional. The menu is located on the left, and it contains all the key destinations for the site, such as the inbox for messages, and task lists. There are also lots of icons to guide you throughout the site.
When you are within one of your projects in Asana there is a button to add tasks, and the menu at the top clearly shows you how to do things like switch views and start conversations with your team. But part of what makes Asana so easy to use is the fact that it contains less functionality than Monday.com.
Let’s get started!
All you need to do is click “Get Started” on Monday.com’s homepage, enter your email where indicated, and you are off and running. The software takes you through the basics, such as how to create tasks and add people to your project team.
Getting started with Asana is also pretty quick. Once you enter your information you receive a welcome email with information about managing tasks, creating the right process for you, and onboarding more people if you are working with a team.
Both Monday.com and Asana provide many templates to help you set up your project management process.
Monday.com conveniently groups its templates by industry, and provides examples of relevant, real-life content by filling in details such as development status, approval, timeline, progress, and more for several tasks.
Asana only displays templates related to the industry you selected when you created your account, but you can switch between other template types. Asana doesn’t provide as much sample information as Monday.com, though. It gives examples of tasks, but adds no extra details such as owner, description, or due date.
While Monday.com shows a lot of important task information at a glance, it can be overwhelming. With each task you see the owner of the task, color-coded status updates, timelines, and progress. Fortunately you can decide to delete columns of information to make the task information less busy.
Adding new tasks can also be time-consuming, as you have to find the project and fill in several pieces of information.
With Asana, you click on a task to expand it to show more details. You can also create a new task quickly by using the pop-up window to enter the task name, owner, and description, and then selecting the project from a dropdown list. The task is then automatically added to the project. Asana also displays tasks that are due soon, as well as a list of all the tasks assigned to you.
Monday.com gives you several ways to view your project: In a table, or by timeline, Kanban board, calendar, Gantt chart, pie chart, or map. It also instantly transforms your project information into whichever view you select. That means you don’t need to constantly switch back and forth between different views of the project.
Timeline and Gantt help you make sure you meet deadlines. By using your Calendar view you can ensure you’ve spaced out your work properly, and the Workload view is good for teams so no one is overloaded while others are waiting for work to do. Within each project you can customize your workflow by adding a variety of columns.
Asana also offers similar views for seeing your project, such as lists, calendars, Gantt charts, and Kanban boards. They don’t have quite as many as Monday.com, but they offer some advanced views. For example, the Files view lets you see all the project’s attachments in one place.
There is also a Portfolio view that is good for companies. It monitors everything that is going on in the business, from marketing to sales to finance. The Workload view gives you a real-time snapshot of what your team members are doing, so you can focus in on a particular team member’s capacity during a specific date or time. In addition, the automation features you receive by paying for the Business level can also help you streamline your processes and save valuable time.
Working in teams
With Monday.com you can invite people in and give them permission to create new boards or contribute to existing boards. You can also give other people read-only access.
But Asana is more geared for teams. If a group of people belong to the same company or organization, you can break into teams to work on projects and tasks. Each team gets its own Team page where everyone on the team can see all the team's projects, a calendar, and all comments and conversations. If team members are outside your organization you can give limited permission to share specific parts of the project with them.
Which is right for you?
Both Monday.com and Asana are effective project management tools, but Monday.com offers a greater level of simplicity for all that it can do.
For freelancers working on their own or with one or two people, Monday.com is a good choice. Its boards display lots of detail at a glance, and you can view that detail in many different ways. It offers the same workflow views as Asana, but offers more functionality, such as reporting.
But if you're working on a complex project and need to work with many internal and external team members, Asana will work better for you. It has better team management features, so the team can view all communication and information in one place, as well as the Portfolio and Workload features to help you effectively allocate resources.