Trello vs Asana: Which Is Better for Managing Your Projects?

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Project management software is the engine that drives successful projects. Pick the right solution and it will handle anything you throw at it, removing the chaos projects can bring and giving you back control. But make the wrong choice and you might as well start saving your weekends for all the extra work.

With so many project management tools to choose from, how do you know which one’s right for you? We compared two of the top PM tools on the market to help make your search for the right software a little easier. Buckle up for a head-to-head comparison of Trello vs Asana.

Compare Trello and Asana Against Your Needs

Trello vs Asana

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Trello and Asana are both popular solutions, so you’re probably already familiar with them. But if you want an overview or to see what kind of support and benefits you can expect, you can head over to their product pages.

Compare Project Management Software Pricing & Costs with our Pricing Guide

Trello vs Asana: How Do They Stack Up?

Projects

Project Definition and Description

This is ground zero for your project. Before you begin work, you need to lay out important details like the scope, timelines, goals and responsibilities.

Trello accomplishes this critical feature through the use of cards. As this example board shows, you can highlight different aspects of the project on individual cards to easily keep track of and update project info. There aren’t really limits to what you can include — simply drop a new card into the column and start typing.

Asana takes a slightly different approach. First, you have to be part of a team to create a new project. From there, you can fill in the project’s details, including:

  • Name
  • Team you’re assigning it too
  • Layout
  • Access permissions

Asana provides the description and list of members within the “overview” tab, so everyone can easily keep track of who’s involved and what the project is about.

Pre-Built Project Templates

Templates make life easier and are pretty standard fare. So it’s no surprise that both products come through in this area.

Asana provides multiple template choices based on your team (e.g., marketing) or the type of project you’ll be working on. Of the eight pre-built templates offered, only two are free — the rest are premium.

Trello’s version of templates comes in the form of a collection of sample boards other Trello users have created. Their Inspiration gallery has boards from over a dozen categories such as project management, event planning and operations. You can view these boards to get ideas on how to set up your own workflow.

Custom Project Templates

Ready-made templates are nice. But the ability to create custom templates will help ensure the software fits your processes instead of putting limitations on your team.

Trello makes it easy to build templates with the capabilities you need. It can be anything from a board or list to an individual card. You can add and remove items as needed.

Trello also offers a handy copy feature. Say you have a card with due dates, task lists and labels that you want to use again. You can copy the card and then choose which board it will appear on, the column to place it in and which elements you want to keep.

Asana allows you to edit custom fields, but only for premium templates. Custom fields are versatile and let you add pretty much any type of data you want to include. You can also choose how the custom fields will appear — either available across all teams and projects or restricted to a specific project.

Once you’ve created a template in Asana, you can reuse it. This is helpful for repetitive projects that require projects to have the same tasks, fields, sections and so forth.

Verdict: Despite the differences in how each program approached project details and templates, they both earned the same ratings from our analysts. “Excellent” for Project Definition and Description as well as Custom Project Templates, and “Good” for Pre-Built Project Templates. Mark this first category as a tie.

Advantage
Trello and Asana tie for project functionality in @SelectHub's research & analysis of the two #ProjectManagement tools.

Requirements and Tasks

Task and Subtask Creation

Tasks are the building blocks of a project. It’s impossible and impractical to tackle an entire project as one piece. Like the old adage about eating an elephant, you have to take it one bite (or in this case, step) at a time.

Trello’s task list feature lets you add items to cards and then check them off as you complete each one. That way, you can keep track of what’s done and what isn’t.

Trello Task List

Users can track subtasks in Trello using a card’s to-do list.

 

However, this can also act as a subtask approach since the card itself can represent an overarching task. So if the card task was “publish a blog post” the subtask items on the list could look something like this:

  • Research
  • Write first draft
  • Edit
  • Add images
  • Upload to the website
  • Final review

Asana tasks are the fuel that powers your work. Everything revolves around them. As such, there’s a host of things you can do:

  • Create and duplicate tasks
  • Merge tasks together
  • Set permissions for each task
  • Configure details like the due date or person assigned to the task
  • Group related tasks into sections
  • Add attachments

Like Trello, Asana also supports subtasks. You can add a list of items within a task that pertain to that specific task. It doesn’t automatically populate the parent task’s information, but you can set the due date and assignee.

Compare Trello and Asana Against Your Needs

Business Rules

Business rules are a way to automate repetitive tasks for a more efficient workflow.

Asana doesn’t support this feature. It allows you to set priority levels using custom fields, but they need to be changed manually.

Trello doesn’t have built-in business rules either. However, you can use power-ups (their term for apps that integrate with the platform) to get the job done. Zapier, Butler and Board Sync are a few options. This will let you define rules that trigger actions when certain criteria are met.

Kanban Layout

Trello’s bread-and-butter feature is the Kanban layout. Unlike some project management tools, Trello uses the Kanban board layout exclusively. It acts as a visual way to plan your team’s workflow and see how each piece of the project is moving forward or stalled.

A drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to move cards through the board’s columns — called lists — or to rearrange the list order.

Trello Kanban Layout

View of a Kanban layout in Trello.

Since you can create multiple boards in Trello, how you use them is up to you. One option is to build a board for each project. Another approach is to dedicate a board to ongoing activities and use the lists to keep tabs on your workflow.

Each Trello board supports 500 active lists, so how you set up projects and workflows is extremely flexible.

Asana doesn’t place as much emphasis on a Kanban layout, but a board view is one of the two primary options for organizing projects. Asana also has columns, cards and drag-and-drop capabilities.

Task Dependencies

Setting task dependencies is important if you need to keep track of the order your team needs to complete tasks.

Asana has this covered, though task dependencies are only available to premium users. It’s easy to choose which tasks are dependent on another task. You can make multiple tasks dependent on one task and vice versa. The timeline view lets you manage task dependencies as well. This gives you a visual layout of how different tasks are connected and related.

Asana Timeline Task Dependencies

The timeline view in Asana shows which tasks have dependencies.

 

Trello also supports task dependencies. The system’s a bit complex, so you can check out their help article for a full rundown. The gist is that you use a card checklist to represent the dependent tasks. Each item in the checklist is actually a link to another card, which is the dependent task. That way, you know which tasks need to happen in what order.

Verdict: This section was also close, with Trello and Asana each earning “Excellent” scores for Task and Subtask Creation, Kanban Layout, and Task Dependencies. The only difference was Business Rules. Since Trello has power-ups that can accomplish what you need while Asana doesn’t, our analysts gave Trello the upper hand for this category.

Advantage
[email protected] rates better than Asana for requirements and tasks in @SelectHub's research & analysis of the two #ProjectManagement tools.

Users and Roles

Guest Accounts

If you want the ability to invite external guests to view or collaborate on projects, this is a must-have feature.

Trello has a guest setting for users who don’t require as much access as regular users. They won’t have the same editing privileges as team members. You can also select how many boards a guest can view.

Asana lets you create guest accounts for working with outside collaborators like contractors as well. You can even share project info with clients. Permission settings let you choose what tasks or projects guests can view. Guests can add new tasks, invite other members, assign who works on a task and edit tasks.

Compare Trello and Asana Against Your Needs

User Groups Creation

User groups are helpful if two different teams need to collaborate internally on a project.

Asana gives you control over all aspects of a team, such as the name, members, permissions and approval notifications. Every team receives access to its own projects, calendar and conversations. Users can be part of multiple teams. And Asana supports both full member and limited access member users.

Trello allows you to build teams and assign them to boards. This gives everyone access to the system, outside admin controls of course. There’s no limit to the number of teams you can create or to the number of members allowed on each team.

Verdict: Asana and Trello each received “Excellent” marks from our analysts for both Guest Accounts and User Groups. That leaves this category tied.

Advantage
Trello and Asana tie for users and roles in @SelectHub's research & analysis of the two #ProjectManagement tools.

Custom Workflows

Trello requires third-party power-ups if you want the ability to create custom workflows. For example, Workflows for Trello allows you to define a schema for your board so you can specify which lists cards can transition to. Screenful, another third-party app, provides tools for setting up workflows and then mapping your lists based on their status.

Asana has built-in workflow options. They aren’t as robust as some of the platform’s other features, but they’re sufficient. If you want to boost the capabilities, integrations like tray.io let you create robust workflows.

Verdict: The native workflow options and extra add-ons gave Asana the edge in this category.

Advantage
Asana rates better than Trello for custom workflows in @SelectHub's research & analysis of the two #ProjectManagement tools.

Reports and Dashboards

Pre-Built Reports

Neither product offers pre-built reports. If you want that capability, you’ll need to turn to third-party apps.

Easy Insight is one of the integration options for Trello. On the Asana side, there’s Mesh, which provides daily reports, and Screenful, which lets you create team status reports.

Summary Reports

Want summary reports to keep your project details chugging down the tracks? Asana and Trello both come through.

Asana provides a timeline tool to view a summary of what’s happening in your project. You can use custom fields to create color-coded tasks. With the zoom feature, you can dig into granular details at the daily level or step back to view the big picture across months, quarters or even years.

Trello’s summary report lets you compile data based on what you want to track at either a card or board level. You can generate a report that shows activities, the length of time a card was in a list, the number of total checklist items compared to the number of completed items and more.

Custom Reports

Trello supports building reports, but you’ll need to integrate with third-party tools. Fortunately, there are a lot of options, such as Report for Trello and Easy Insight. You can create:

  • Time reports
  • Kanban reports
  • Scrum reports

And if you have a paid business class account with Trello, you can export data to Excel or Google Sheets.

Asana, on the other hand, enables you to generate custom reports using the advanced search feature. This lets you control what data you want to filter out so you can track tasks at risk, completed work, project progress and other elements.

There’s also a Google Sheets integration, which allows you to take project data from Asana and insert it into custom reports and visualizations.

Compare Trello and Asana Against Your Needs

Dashboards

If dashboards are your thing, good news. Both Trello and Asana have that option.

Trello’s dashboard layouts are fully customizable. You can choose a Kanban or Scrum view as well as add widgets and pages.

Asana replaced their dashboard screen with a new feature called Portfolio in December 2018. It centralizes critical information across multiple projects in one location for at-a-glance summaries of each project’s status. You can toggle between different view options so your team can use the layout that works best. Portfolio supports exporting to Google Sheets or CSV docs. And you can share a Portfolio with other members or teams in a few steps.

Asana Portfolios

The portfolio view in Asana shows a summary of each project’s status.

However, Portfolio is only available for enterprise accounts. An alternative for getting dashboard functionality without the added cost is by integrating Asana with a third-party tool like Screenful. It’ll allow you to track KPIs at the project level, or you can aggregate reports to gain a more holistic view across your portfolio.

Charts and Visualizations

Asana doesn’t support charts. However, the portfolios feature centralizes data from all your projects into one location. This makes it easy to monitor the progress and health of multiple initiatives at a glance.

Trello doesn’t have any charts or visualizations built in, but the power-ups theme continues. Here are some of the things you can create thanks to third-party apps:

  • Burndown charts
  • Scrum and Kanban charts
  • Gantt charts
  • Time tracking charts
  • Cumulative flow diagrams
Trello Elegantt Deadlines Chart

Example of a deadline chart created using the Elegantt power-up for Trello.

Trello also has an API, which enables you to put together custom charts.

Resource Utilization Chart

Trello’s power-ups once again come to the rescue to provide this feature. These include Ganttify, Plus for Trello and Corrello, along with the API for customized reports.

Asana recently released their Workload tool to provide resource management. Since it’s such a new feature, however, it hasn’t existed long enough for our analyst team to properly research and rate it.

Asana Team Workload

The Workload feature in Asana.

Verdict: Our analysts rated Trello higher overall for this section. While Asana offered more robust features for Custom Reports, Trello was a step ahead when it came to Pre-Built Reports and Resource Utilization Charts.

Advantage
[email protected] rates better than Asana for reports and dashboards in @SelectHub's research & analysis of the two #ProjectManagement tools.

Tracking

Budget and Forecasting

Trello lets you track your budget, but not in the common sense. The workaround is to use cards and lists that contain whatever information you need to track — expenses, payments to freelancers, etc. Adding due dates helps you make sure you don’t miss any payments.

It’s a manual approach rather than letting the platform tally the numbers and present it to you in a neat-looking chart. But it does provide a way to keep track of how much the project is costing and where the money is going.

Asana doesn’t have a way to track expenses.

Risk Management

Every project has risks. And you need to stay on top of them at all times in order to finish by the deadline.

Asana enables you to put together a risk tracker using a combination of rules, fields and custom workflows.

Trello, again, takes the manual approach. You can use a board and cards to create a log for tracking things like risks, issues and change requests. Colored labels identify the status of each issue. For example:

  • Green shows an issue is open
  • Yellow means the issue is at-risk
  • Red indicates it needs attention
  • Blue means it’s been taken care of

You can use whatever color scheme you want, as long as it makes sense to your team.

Verdict: Because Trello has budgeting and Asana doesn’t, our analysts declared Trello the winner for the category.

Advantage
[email protected] rates better than Asana for tracking capabilities in @SelectHub's research & analysis of the two #ProjectManagement tools.

Integrations

Integrations are a key part of project management software. Third-party apps like the ones we’ve seen are one thing, but often, it’s helpful if the solution can integrate with other systems your company uses.

Let’s see how Trello and Asana compare in this realm.

Compare Trello and Asana Against Your Needs

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Trello integrates with Salesforce and Zoho CRM. Asana also integrates with CRM giant Salesforce, and Asana can also be configured to act as a CRM in its own right.

Email Clients

Email integration is pretty common. So as you’d expect, both products connect with popular clients. Trello has add-ons for Gmail and Outlook while Asana supports Gmail, Yahoo and Microsoft Exchange.

File Storage

Another common expectation is the ability to attach documents to tasks. Asana and Trello both integrate with the following apps:

  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • OneDrive

Verdict: Asana earned an “Excellent” vote from our analysts for CRM, Email Clients, and File Storage, making it the winner in this section.

Advantage
Asana rates better than Trello for integration capabilities in @SelectHub's research & analysis of the two #ProjectManagement tools.

How We Compared Asana vs Trello

(Feel free to skip ahead to find out which product won our comparison.)

Our team of analysts looked at each software across a list of key requirements from our project management Leaderboard. Things like task creation, project templates and customizations. Each requirement earned a rating based on how robust it was, ranging from “excellent” to “not supported.”

Our analysts then chose a winner for each group of requirements.

After that … voila! Whichever program performed better overall for more sections earned the winner title.

One caveat: just because a product wins a comparison like this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best choice for you.

This Asana vs Trello post showed you how each product’s features stack up against the other. Now you can take that info and apply it to your specific requirements. But when it comes down to making your selection, we always recommend choosing whichever product will best suit your specific needs, not simply the winner.

Get our Requirements Template for Project Management Software

Speaking of which:

And the Trello vs Asana Winner Is …

Both products performed well overall. But when looking at Asana vs Trello feature-by-feature, our analysts chose Trello as the winner.

It rated higher for reports and dashboards, requirements and tasks, and tracking. Trello’s main feature is its Kanban layout. If that’s your thing, and you don’t care as much about built-in bells and whistles, it’s a great choice. And if you do want extra functionality, Trello’s power-ups have a lot to offer.

However, Asana is still a solid choice. It outperformed Trello when it came to workflows and integrations, and it rated “good” or “excellent” for 14 of the 21 requirements. So it may be more suited to your particular needs.

One great way to find out whether Asana or Trello is better is to take them on real-world test runs. Both products have free versions, so you can get your team into the system and see how it works for you. Just remember that the free tiers don’t come with all the features.

We also recommend grabbing our free project management pricing guide. It will show you how all of our analyst top-rated PM solutions break down in terms of pricing plans and specifications.

Did we miss any major features in our Trello vs Asana breakdown? Comment below to let us know!

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Zachary TotahTrello vs Asana: Which Is Better for Managing Your Projects?

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  • Tomas P. - June 8, 2020 reply

    ASANA allows to add custom field possible to track numbers/costs etc. similar to trello

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