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How to improve team productivity by 20% with Asana

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    Hey everyone.
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    Welcome to this video and in this video
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    I'm joined by Mr. David Burk
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    from the Electron Shop.
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    Hey David. How are you doing?
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    Hello.
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    In this video I want to talk...
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    David and I are gonna have a bit of a chat
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    and I want to really learn from you David
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    about your journey and
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    your transition moving your team to Asana.
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    Because I know that some companies
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    can struggle with the transition
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    changing how their teams communicate,
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    how they manage their work.
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    It's not always easy to make
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    that transition so I'm really interested
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    to hear your take on
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    your experience with that.
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    So maybe to kick things off
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    you want to give us a bit of
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    background context around like
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    before you guys were using Asana
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    what did your workflow look like?
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    Were you using any other tools
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    or what were the...
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    how did you, tell us the story,
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    how did you get into Asana?
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    Great question.
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    We tried a couple of products actually.
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    We tried Teamwork, and we tried Trello,
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    and then we decided that Slack was
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    working really well for us so we started
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    managing everything through Slack.
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    But it got to be too much
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    and people were randomly
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    dashing off assignments
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    and I was unsure
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    if people could track whether
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    they were still in the queue or done.
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    So we took a look at Asana
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    and in my first review of Asana
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    what I liked the most was the flexibility.
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    It is really, really flexible.
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    That's a plus and a minus, because
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    it's a plus because it's really flexible
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    it's a minus because
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    people tend to go rogue
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    and use it their own way.
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    Yeah.
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    So that's how we chose it.
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    Yeah. Go ahead. Let's keep going.
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    Yes the flexibility,
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    so when you talk about flexibility,
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    it's kind of what you mean is there's
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    lots of different ways you can use it.
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    And one of the things I found is like
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    you don't just have to manage tasks in it
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    like things you can do.
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    You can actually use it to manage clients
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    or support tickets from
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    a customer service point of view.
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    Right.
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    Yeah. I agree it is one of those
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    very flexible platforms.
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    Yeah. I would say that also
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    our project management methodology
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    having been in the agency business
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    for many years,
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    it's very much around just basics
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    of getting things done by the end.
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    Yep.
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    And this idea of having a platform
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    that allows you to reduce everything
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    to a unit of work
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    with a person responsible
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    was really what we were after.
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    Okay.
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    And in your experience the other tools
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    that you tried, Trello,
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    you mentioned a few others,
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    they just didn't quite tick that box
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    in terms of making it very clear
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    who was responsible for what?
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    There were those issues and then
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    there were presentation issues.
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    The idea that in Asana
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    you could look at a list, calendar,
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    and use the advanced search,
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    and then save the search was just
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    unparalleled relative to other products.
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    Okay. Actually that was gonna be one of
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    my questions, was there any,
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    you mentioned the flexibility,
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    but was there any key feature
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    that really sold you on it?
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    Was the advanced search...
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    sounds like one of those?
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    Yeah. The advanced search absolutely.
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    Okay.
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    And regarding the transition,
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    moving your team to Asana,
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    you've got a little bit of an advantage
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    in that you have a smaller team
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    which obviously makes the transition
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    a bit easier to manage.
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    But what were the common
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    challenges or issues that you faced
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    during that transition
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    and then part B
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    if you want to answer that as well as
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    then how did you manage those
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    how did you iron out those flaws?
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    I think a lot of it is very common
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    change management issues.
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    Number one,
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    broadcasting early and often that
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    in 30 days we're changing.
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    Right.
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    Every day for those 30 days.
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    What are we changing, too.
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    We're changing to Asana.
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    You might want to check it out.
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    Letting people do it on their terms.
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    And then, as you know, we hired up,
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    and that was really good
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    I am fond of saying
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    when you're in uncharted territory,
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    hire a guide.
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    It's worth it. Right?
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    Local knowledge is worth a lot.
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    So for very effective investment
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    basically Paul, you provided us
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    with a framework and a methodology.
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    I took your framework and methodology
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    and then I drafted several documents.
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    The two most important of those documents.
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    First of all, you trained us,
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    we taped that training,
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    any new employee that comes in
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    watches a one-hour training.
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    Mm-huh.
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    Number two,
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    I did a document called
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    Using Asana the Electron Shop Way
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    and that covers all the idiosyncrasies
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    of how we use it.
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    And then the third document was
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    the File Naming System at the Electron Shop
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    Every file has prepended a client name
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    and has date in a certain format
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    at the end of the file name,
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    and then a version number.
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    Gets complicated,
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    but the version number has client's themes
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    and then internal rips.
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    So 1.1 would be clients of 1.0
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    we internally rip to 1.1.
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    And this really helps us
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    track the most recent file.
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    That's really interesting.
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    I want to back up a little
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    something you said at the beginning.
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    You said you had like this.
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    This definitive start date,
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    in 30 days, we're using Asana.
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    What did you do during the transition
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    we using it a little bit
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    and it was kind of you were
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    trying to pull people into it?
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    Why did you choose, how did that look,
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    and why did you choose to do it
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    that way instead of just saying
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    right, starting today we're doing it?
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    Talk me through that a little bit more.
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    I got the free version,
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    which is wonderful for teams under 15,
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    and I pulled people in one by one,
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    and I also did demos once a week just
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    we were on a production call or something
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    and I would say, let me show you something
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    I found this interesting thing.
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    Remember also that
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    like you Paul I'm interested in
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    productivity and efficiency.
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    So I spent a lot of time in the system
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    experimenting with my partner. Right?
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    Just the two of us
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    assigning tasks to each other
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    starting to play
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    with all the various systems.
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    You know.
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    We figured out sections on our own
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    but that was not easy to find.
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    Okay. That's really interesting
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    because I think from the experiences
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    I've had working with different companies
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    as well as companies I've been
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    part of where we've used Asana
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    there's been that almost like
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    that communication element that
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    you've said to your team like
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    guys, we're using this in 30 days
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    maybe hasn't been so clear
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    and it's just like you soft roll it out
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    and you start today
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    and try and get people using it
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    and then when people don't fully adopt it
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    because it's new and it's scary
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    and it challenges the way they work,
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    it fizzles out, and maybe
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    the adoption isn't as successful because
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    that clear expectation wasn't made.
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    But it sounds like in your case
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    you made it very clear.
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    Guys, we're using this.
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    Get on the train
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    because it's leaving soon,
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    which sounds like it worked very well.
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    That's right, it did.
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    And I'll tell you one other thing.
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    I started basically
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    putting people in the system
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    letting them pool around, and I also said
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    starting on this date
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    if you send me something via email
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    I'm not gonna answer.
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    Okay. And how did that play out?
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    Were people pretty good getting into Asana
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    or did you still get a few emails?
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    It took about a month.
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    A month.
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    You know we also use Slack.
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    So Slack and email really confused
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    how do we use these things
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    that's one of the things that's in
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    How Do We Use Asana the Electron Shop Way.
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    Yeah.
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    And so I started delineating
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    Asana is the system of record.
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    Slack is for checking in.
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    Email is for things with clients.
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    That's it.
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    Okay. I want to recap
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    because that's really important
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    and actually you addressed something
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    that I think a lot of people
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    get hung up about is
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    how does this fit in.
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    There's so many tools now
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    if someone emails me or Slack
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    where do I check
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    for these points of communication.
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    And I think which sounds like
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    what you've done really well is
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    have clear divisions of what goes where.
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    You said email is for clients only,
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    pretty much external communication?
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    Correct.
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    Slack it or Asana it,
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    can you talk to me,
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    do you do all you communication in Asana
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    and just informal communication in Slack
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    or how do the two work there?
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    All communication in Asana
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    relevant to tasks.
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    Right.
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    Slack,
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    what we do is it's a sort of thing like
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    I'm on the phone,
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    can you tell me this number
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    or sorry I forgot where this file was
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    it's not in Asana
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    can you point me at that file?
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    That kind of thing.
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    It's just for brief checking.
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    It's got to be like a 30-second thing.
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    My rule is...
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    What we're trying to do is
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    get things down to units of work
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    that take two to five minutes.
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    Right? Slack is a 30-second tool.
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    Mm-hm. That's really good.
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    And I think that's
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    a really good way to divide it.
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    Look, if there's any communication
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    that needs to happen about work
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    which internally in a team
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    that's probably going to be
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    the majority of your communication,
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    like 80% of your communication?
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    So it should live in Asana
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    because it's tied to tasks.
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    It's tied to things you need to do,
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    where Slack is
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    the informal quick communication tool
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    that you can use to quickly
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    get an answer or check in with someone.
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    I think that's a really good way,
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    really smart way to divide the two so that
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    you're not stuck in this transition
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    or this blurry area where you're not sure
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    did David send me that in Slack
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    or did he send me in Asana
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    you should just know.
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    I think a couple of other things
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    about that.
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    One is, I said that
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    email is for client communication, right?
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    external communication.
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    If there's a task,
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    if the client writes to me,
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    which is every day, and they say
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    could you please
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    change this, do that, fix this typo?
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    I take that and I put it in Slack either
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    as separate tasks, or one task saying
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    please complete fixes and then
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    paste the email into Asana sliced.
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    Because the key thing about Asana
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    that's wonderful is
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    it's all about accountability. Right?
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    You can't shirk it.
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    They're assigned a task,
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    and you need to either do it,
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    or reassign it, or get it off your plate.
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    Yeah. I totally agree with you.
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    It's very transparent like
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    who's keeping up and maybe because
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    you can just click on someone's account
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    and see exactly
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    how much they've got going on.
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    There's no hiding.
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    I think some people may even find it
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    a little bit scary like
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    oh gosh, I need to pick up my game
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    because everyone can see what I'm doing.
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    Yeah. I think it's very good.
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    We have a weekly production meeting
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    and that production meeting
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    consists of a budget review
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    which is done in Harvest.
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    Okay.
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    There we are in terms of hours
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    on various accounts.
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    The rest of the meeting is basically
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    all incomplete tasks in Asana.
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    We go to one by one and also
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    I have saved searches for every employee.
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    Incomplete tasks for tasks for so-and-so.
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    So when I talk to them one on one,
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    I can say I see that this one stuck or
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    maybe you have too much work to do.
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    There's a lot of insight that
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    comes from it as well.
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    I said it was gonna be one of my questions
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    which I think segues quite nicely is
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    what are the business problems
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    that you've solved with Asana?
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    And it sounds like that could be
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    one of them where
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    as the manager, as a leader
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    you can just...
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    it's not about calling people out
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    and saying you're not doing your job.
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    It's about as you've said like
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    where are you getting stuck,
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    how can I help you, how can I help you
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    move these tasks forward?
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    And Asana is what provides you
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    with that transparency.
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    That's right.
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    There's a larger issue at play I think
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    that's really important.
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    And that is engagement,
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    employee engagement.
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    So, when everybody is updating their tasks
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    and nothing is overdue,
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    people know that everybody's engaged
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    and everybody's doing the business and
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    business is as strong as the weakest link.
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    Yeah.
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    Someone is consistently letting
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    their tasks slight past the due date,
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    so every week
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    on during our production meeting
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    I also look at it,
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    and even before I start the meeting, I say
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    Okay I'm assuming everybody has updated
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    the due dates on the tasks.
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    Yeah.
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    It sends a big message about engagement
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    so accountability again is very important
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    and in my personal philosophy
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    accountability is actually
  • 13:08 - 13:10
    a very positive thing for organizations
  • 13:10 - 13:12
    because people don't like it
  • 13:12 - 13:15
    when someone's sitting around being lazy.
  • 13:15 - 13:16
    Yeah. You're totally right.
  • 13:16 - 13:18
    As not just the managers
  • 13:18 - 13:19
    but the employees as well
  • 13:19 - 13:21
    they feel hard done by
  • 13:21 - 13:22
    because hey this guy over here
  • 13:22 - 13:24
    he's not doing his job
  • 13:24 - 13:26
    and I'm working my ass off.
  • 13:26 - 13:28
    Yes, that's really interesting.
  • 13:28 - 13:31
    Were there any other significant
  • 13:31 - 13:33
    business problems that you solved
  • 13:33 - 13:35
    with Asana that you can think of?
  • 13:35 - 13:38
    Version control on files
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    so we insist that
  • 13:41 - 13:45
    if you update a version of a file then you
  • 13:45 - 13:47
    delete the one that's attached to the task
  • 13:47 - 13:49
    and attach the most recent one.
  • 13:49 - 13:50
    Right.
  • 13:50 - 13:51
    So it's always there.
  • 13:51 - 13:53
    That was a big one.
  • 13:53 - 13:57
    And I think this idea of
  • 13:57 - 13:59
    employee performance
  • 13:59 - 14:00
    and resource allocation
  • 14:00 - 14:03
    there are many indicators of that
  • 14:03 - 14:04
    within the system.
  • 14:04 - 14:07
    I would say those were the major problems.
  • 14:07 - 14:10
    We are probably
  • 14:10 - 14:14
    I'm gonna guess, 20% more efficient
  • 14:14 - 14:17
    in productivity because of the system,
  • 14:17 - 14:18
    because everybody knows
  • 14:18 - 14:19
    what's hanging out there
  • 14:19 - 14:21
    and they don't wait around for you
  • 14:21 - 14:22
    to tell them to do something.
  • 14:22 - 14:24
    There's a whole list. Right?
  • 14:24 - 14:25
    Yeah. Go pick something.
  • 14:25 - 14:27
    Yeah, that's some 20%
  • 14:27 - 14:29
    and that's not a small number either.
  • 14:29 - 14:30
    Yeah. Pretty good.
  • 14:30 - 14:31
    And do you...
  • 14:31 - 14:33
    you've touched on it a bit with
  • 14:33 - 14:35
    your client working things but
  • 14:35 - 14:37
    what kinds of work do you track in Asana?
  • 14:37 - 14:38
    I mean you've obviously
  • 14:38 - 14:39
    got the client side
  • 14:39 - 14:42
    that's really important in terms of
  • 14:42 - 14:43
    your business planning
  • 14:43 - 14:45
    and business project
  • 14:45 - 14:46
    so working on your business
  • 14:46 - 14:48
    rather than in your business.
  • 14:48 - 14:48
    Can you talk about
  • 14:48 - 14:50
    the different kinds of work
  • 14:50 - 14:52
    that you're currently tracking in Asana?
  • 14:52 - 14:53
    For internal projects?
  • 14:53 - 14:55
    Oh, just in general
  • 14:55 - 14:57
    like if you have to think about
  • 14:57 - 14:58
    or talk us through your projects,
  • 14:58 - 15:01
    in both internal and with clients.
  • 15:01 - 15:02
    What are the main things that
  • 15:02 - 15:04
    you're using Asana for?
  • 15:05 - 15:07
    It goes to the framework that we're using
  • 15:07 - 15:08
    so let me just talk
  • 15:08 - 15:10
    about that for a second.
  • 15:10 - 15:13
    I think that the most confusing thing
  • 15:13 - 15:16
    in Asana is the word, teams.
  • 15:17 - 15:21
    Because there is an organization,
  • 15:21 - 15:23
    which is the Electron Shop,
  • 15:23 - 15:25
    my company. Right?
  • 15:25 - 15:26
    Then we have teams
  • 15:26 - 15:28
    and our teams are organized
  • 15:28 - 15:30
    around clients.
  • 15:30 - 15:32
    We use teams as a client name
  • 15:32 - 15:34
    and then we have projects,
  • 15:34 - 15:35
    and then we have
  • 15:35 - 15:37
    tasks within the projects.
  • 15:37 - 15:39
    The reason that Asana is good for us
  • 15:39 - 15:41
    is because we're a digital agency,
  • 15:41 - 15:45
    we have multidisciplinary tasks going on.
  • 15:45 - 15:46
    So how do we organize
  • 15:46 - 15:50
    an interdisciplinary team on a project?
  • 15:50 - 15:51
    Right?
  • 15:51 - 15:53
    The types of projects that we do
  • 15:53 - 15:55
    and by the way Paul, when I tell you
  • 15:55 - 15:57
    we're gonna try out that templates
  • 15:57 - 15:59
    function that just came out.
  • 15:59 - 16:00
    Oh, great.
  • 16:00 - 16:04
    So that could be a website development,
  • 16:04 - 16:09
    could be a weekly email,
  • 16:09 - 16:13
    could be an integrated content calendar,
  • 16:13 - 16:18
    could be blog posts,
  • 16:18 - 16:20
    things to write,
  • 16:20 - 16:23
    ads, paid ads.
  • 16:24 - 16:28
    Really, we do a very wide range of things
  • 16:28 - 16:30
    and again I said Asana is very flexible.
  • 16:30 - 16:33
    You can pretty much track anything in it.
  • 16:33 - 16:34
    Let's save that in there
  • 16:34 - 16:37
    advertising and the right.
  • 16:38 - 16:39
    That's really good.
  • 16:39 - 16:40
    David, look, thank you so much
  • 16:40 - 16:43
    it's been really interesting to learn
  • 16:43 - 16:44
    how you're using it
  • 16:44 - 16:45
    and the challenges you face.
  • 16:45 - 16:47
    Do you have any kind of final
  • 16:47 - 16:49
    nuggets of advice
  • 16:49 - 16:51
    that you would suggest to anyone watching
  • 16:51 - 16:52
    like who's maybe using Asana
  • 16:52 - 16:54
    they're just onboarding their team
  • 16:54 - 16:55
    at the moment?
  • 16:55 - 16:56
    What would be
  • 16:56 - 16:57
    your couple of key bits of advice
  • 16:57 - 16:59
    to people getting started
  • 16:59 - 17:00
    in terms of how they can
  • 17:00 - 17:02
    just be more effective with it
  • 17:02 - 17:06
    or get their team using it better?
  • 17:06 - 17:08
    There are two.
  • 17:08 - 17:10
    One, you told me, which is
  • 17:10 - 17:12
    turn off email notifications.
  • 17:12 - 17:13
    Oh yeah.
  • 17:13 - 17:14
    But if you're gonna turn off
  • 17:14 - 17:15
    email notifications
  • 17:15 - 17:17
    then you have to follow this rule
  • 17:17 - 17:20
    Check your inbox every hour on the hour.
  • 17:20 - 17:20
    Right?
  • 17:20 - 17:23
    You cannot forget just let it go.
  • 17:23 - 17:25
    The inbox is the key starting point
  • 17:25 - 17:27
    to everything.
  • 17:27 - 17:28
    When I say that to clients
  • 17:28 - 17:30
    when we're working with clients
  • 17:30 - 17:32
    and they're adopting the system.
  • 17:32 - 17:34
    Check your inbox every hour on the hour.
  • 17:34 - 17:36
    They get much better adoption at that.
  • 17:37 - 17:38
    Yeah. Great tip.
  • 17:38 - 17:40
    I think it addresses one of
  • 17:40 - 17:42
    the common problems I see people facing
  • 17:42 - 17:44
    which is they're not sure
  • 17:44 - 17:46
    what am I supposed to be doing,
  • 17:46 - 17:49
    what am I working on right now,
  • 17:49 - 17:51
    where is the latest updates,
  • 17:51 - 17:53
    and it's that inbox and you can
  • 17:53 - 17:55
    really create a lot of noise and stress
  • 17:55 - 17:57
    for yourself by getting the emails as well
  • 17:57 - 17:58
    so definitely turning those off,
  • 17:58 - 18:00
    and then archiving those notifications
  • 18:00 - 18:01
    once you're done with them.
  • 18:01 - 18:04
    So your inbox is... really
  • 18:04 - 18:06
    it only contains or should only contain
  • 18:06 - 18:07
    the active work in progress
  • 18:07 - 18:10
    like comments that you're still working on
  • 18:10 - 18:12
    or obviously new notifications as well.
  • 18:12 - 18:15
    Great, thanks for the tip, David.
  • 18:15 - 18:16
    Thanks for having me.
Title:
How to improve team productivity by 20% with Asana
Description:

In this video, I chat with one of my former clients, David Burk, from the Electron Shop. David adopted Asana and rolled it out to his team a few months ago. I helped David to review his companies account setup and train his team on the best practices. David has experienced a 20% improvement in team productivity since making the switch to Asana.

Read the full blog post here: http://paulm.in/2fuEVuP

Sign up to Asana using my partner link and get 10% off an annual subscription: https://paulm.in/2BFvAvR Or existing users can go to the following page (http://asa.na/offer) and input the promo code 'paulminors' at the bottom before starting their free trial to get a discount on an annual purchase. NOTE: Discounts are approved by Asana, so I cannot guarantee eligibility.

Sign up to my newsletter to get regular tips and videos on how to use Asana better: http://eepurl.com/gk9Vfb

If you need additional 1-on-1 support optimising your Asana account and with team training, you can book a 30-minute introductory call from my consulting page: http://paulm.in/2hkXlQ3

Or, purchase my 90-minute Getting Started with Asana video and PDF and learn how to implement and successfully rollout Asana to your team: https://paulm.in/2tjYfCv

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
18:17

English subtitles

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