Seven important Asana integrations for project teams

The Asana social task
management platform gets a lot right in terms of features and messaging to prospective and current customers. One area that is helping Asana support its growing customer base is its integration with
other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. I’m highlighting seven important application integrations that Asana offers project teams. (I assume you’re using the applications listed.)

1: Cloud storage

Asana supports integration with Google Drive and Dropbox. In fact, a Google Drive and Dropbox
chooser is built directly into the Asana task pane by default. Chances are, if you’re working on a team using
Asana, cloud storage is second nature, even if you aren’t using Google Apps for
Business. Figure A shows the Google Drive Chooser and Dropbox Chooser on the
Asana task pane.

Figure A

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Google Drive Chooser and Dropbox Chooser on the Asana Task Pane

I find the Asana integration with
cloud storage to be most helpful, since I often attach documents
to specific tasks. In fact, I’m using Asana as a platform for managing document
reviews on a corporate client project; this cloud storage integration is why I
can do that.

2: Google Calendar sync

Some of us are disciplined enough to visit a task list like
clockwork; then, there are those of us who need task items appearing on a
calendar to keep tasks straight. Asana offers integration with Google Calendar
for those of us in the latter category. The integration is clean and easy and doesn’t
require an administrator.

Follow these steps to integrate Asana with Google Calendar:

1. In another browser tab, log in to your Google
Account.

2. Open Google Calendar.

3. Open your desired project or list in Asana.

4. Click the down arrow at the top of the center
pane.

5. Select Sync To Calendar. The Sync To Calendar dialog box appears similar to
Figure B.

Figure B

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Sync To Calendar dialog box

6. Select Google
Calendar.

7. Copy the blue web cal link.

8. Open the tab with Google Calendar.

9. Select the drop-down menu next to Other Calendars on the left.
Figure C shows the Other calendars tab.

Figure C

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Other calendars tab

10. Select Add By URL.

11. Paste
the webcal link from Asana in the URL field.

The integration doesn’t offer much in the way of
intelligence; tasks appear at the top of the calendar day in Google Calendar, though not
at any particular time. I noticed that if you keep long tasks in Asana (e.g., a quality assurance
checklist), too many tasks can drown out your calendar appointments.

3: GitHub

You can get GitHub
commits as comments in Asana tasks using git-hub asana, a free web server
developed by Jamie Forrest and released free on GitHub.

Integrations using Zapier or CloudWork

Zapier is a cloud platform
that enables you to automate tasks between cloud applications. The platform is available at a range of pricing. Asana uses Zapier as an
integration platform. The good news is Zapier’s point-and-click, so you don’t
need to be a programmer to make it work.

While this post focuses on Zapier, CloudWork is another alternative for
automating some of these integrations. Here are some useful Asana integrations that Zapier makes
possible.

4: HipChat

HipChat is a popular
instant messaging platform for project teams. Asana includes integration with
HipChat that enables users to create task alerts from Asana to HipChat. The
integration also supports creating Asana tasks from a HipChat message. The
Asana/HipChat integration is made through Zapier. Figure D shows the
Asana/HipChat integration options available through Zapier.

Figure D

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Asana/HipChat integration options

Project teams that depend on HipChat, especially geographically dispersed ones, can have some fun with this integration, because they can use
HipChat for adding tasks instead of adding tasks via email or into Asana directly.

5: Pivotal Tracker

Integrating Asana with Pivotal Tracker, an agile project
management tool, is a great match in technologies. You can create Asana tasks from Pivotal
Tracker and create a Pivotal Tracker story from an Asana task.

You also have the option to use CloudWork for integrating Pivotal Tracker and Asana.
Figure E shows the Asana/Pivotal Tracker integration options available in
Zapier.

Figure E

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Asana/Pivotal Tracker integration options

6: JIRA

Integrating Asana with JIRA, the project issues
tracker, using Zapier enables project teams to create tasks from JIRA issues
and vice versa. This integration would be ideal for teams
that may not want to open up their instance of JIRA to everybody or have some
users who want a less complex user interface. Figure F shows the Asana/JIRA integration options made possible by Zapier. (Note: My experience with JIRA has been mixed.)

Figure F

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Asana/JIRA integration options

7: Evernote

You can
integrate Asana and Evernote to create Asana tasks from Evernote Notes or
create Asana projects from Evernote Notebooks. You also have the option to connect Evernote
to Asana using CloudWork. Figure G shows the Asana/Evernote integration options
available with Zapier.

Figure G

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Asana/Evernote integration options

Final thoughts

Asana’s integration options make social task management a
natural fit in some project management and software development
processes. If you use Zapier for the integrations, I recommend
spending time with the platform upfront to evaluate it as the most
appropriate solution for your needs and get comfortable with its
pricing structure.