Trello vs Asana for project management

trello vs asana comparison

A great project management app is the key to better organization, collaboration, and effectiveness as a team. In fact, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found a link between high-performing projects and project management software long before the pandemic accelerated the rise of remote work.

Trello and Asana are both heavyweights in the project management/work management spheres. Asana is trusted by teams at Google, Spotify, and The New Yorker (just to name a few) and users love it for its beautiful and functional design. Trello, despite what it’s most popularly known for, isn’t just a virtual Kanban board. Since early 2021, Trello has evolved from the boards, lists, and cards model into a robust (yet still user-friendly) solution. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In this post, we’ll dive into the fundamentals of Trello and Asana, where each platform shines, and where each still has room for improvement. Our goal is to give you all the information you need to choose the right project management solution with confidence and clarity. Let’s compare Asana and Trello!

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Trello vs Asana: functionality

Let’s start with functionality. In other words, what does each platform allow you to do? We considered the top features most teams need to carry out their day-to-day work, then we personally tested how Trello and Asana perform in each area. Here’s what we found:

Cross-platform functionality

Trello and Asana are available across all devices: desktop (Mac and Windows), mobile (iOS and Android), and web.

Hierarchy and organization

Cards are the building blocks of Trello. Create a card for every task, then organize them into lists on a Trello board (Board View is the default view). You can create a Trello board for every project and have multiple boards in your workspace.

The framework for Asana is slightly different. On Asana, simply add new tasks, then group them into sections in List View. The downside to Asana is that you can’t assign a task to more than one person.

Trello allows you to have multiple assignees per card.

Multiple project views

Both platforms rely on visual and graphical elements to bring your projects to life. As such, Trello and Asana let you switch between different views (ways to visualize your data). 

On Trello, you can view your cards in six ways: 

  1. Board
  2. Calendar
  3. Timeline
  4. Map
  5. Dashboard
  6. Table 

With Asana, you can also visualize your tasks in six ways: 

  1. Board
  2. Calendar
  3. Timeline
  4. List
  5. Forms 
  6. Progress

Customization

No two teams have the same exact workflow, which is why customization is so important. No matter how great a platform is, it has to be adaptable to your team’s processes. Trello and Asana both offer customizable templates and custom fields, which allow you to add data that is specific to your workflow.

Here are some examples of custom fields that are useful for specific teams: 

  • “Story Points'' for Scrum teams
  • “Publish Date” for content creators
  • “Conversion Goal” for marketers

We prefer Asana’s custom fields to Trello’s, simply because Asana lets you create a library of custom fields that your entire organization can use (great for standardizing processes). On the other hand, when you create a custom field on Trello, it can only be used on that same board. 

Messaging

Communication is essential for team collaboration. In regards to messaging, Asana has the leg up. Asana lets you send real-time messages to individuals and teams — plus, you can connect messages to relevant projects for an extra boost of context. On the other hand, Trello doesn’t have an internal messaging feature, but there are integrations or Power-Ups you can add (like Slack!).

Automation

Both platforms allow you to streamline workflows and reduce busywork through no-code automation. Trello’s Butler lets you automate actions based on a schedule or certain triggers. Likewise, Asana’s Rules feature lets you combine triggers and actions to move routine tasks off your team’s plate.

Due dates

How does each platform make it easier to stay on track? Trello lets you add start dates, due dates, and due times to your cards. You can also add checklists to your cards, then add due dates for each list item (great for subtasks!).

Asana is similar, allowing users to add due dates (with date ranges and due times) to tasks and subtasks.

Plus, both platforms let you plot items with due dates on Gantt charts (via Timeline View) or on calendars (via Calendar View, obviously) for easy tracking.

Task dependencies

Asana outshines Trello in the dependencies department. In Asana, you can clearly delineate when a task or even multiple tasks are blocking another. On the timeline view, dependencies show up as a connecting line between tasks to depict the relationship.

Another amazing feature is that Asana’s has special notifications for dependencies. If Claire can’t start Task A until Jamie is done with Task B (ahem, a dependency), Asana will notify Claire as soon as she has the green light.

On the other hand, Trello doesn’t have a built-in task dependencies feature. Trello offers a workaround in their Knowledge Base, but not without extra work. We’d love to see a smoother way to create task dependencies in Trello in the future.

Portfolios

Asana makes it easy to manage multiple projects at a time with Portfolios, which gives you a bird’s eye view of everything you’re working on. Trello has a similar feature called Workspace views, which also gives you visibility into all boards in a single workspace. However, Trello’s interface appears busy and crammed in comparison to Asana’s Portfolios. 

Time tracking

Neither tool has time-tracking, so if time-tracking is a part of your team’s workflow, then it’ll come down to external apps you can integrate with either Trello or Asana to achieve that functionality.

Trello vs Asana: ease of use

Trello and Asana both feature visually-appealing interfaces with drag-and-drop elements and intuitive usability. As far as the learning curve goes, it’s much easier and faster to pick up Trello. However, the user experience starts to become awkward as projects become more complex. Asana, on the other hand, has a steeper learning curve but can handle complex projects more elegantly than Trello.

Trello vs Asana: integrations

Trello and Asana both excel in the integration sphere. Asana has a library of 200+ integrations you can bring into the fold. Not to mention that you can create your own custom apps. Notable mentions include Microsoft Teams, Clockwise, Slack, and Salesforce.

Trello offers 203 integrations and 251 Power-Ups with some overlap (e.g. an app can count as an integration and a Power-Up). Here’s how Trello’s knowledge base explains the difference between the two:

“They're very similar. You can think of both as ways to bring additional features or information into your Trello account. Integrations tend to bring information into Trello or send it to another service. Power-Ups can do that too, but they don't necessarily have to — they may simply add an extra feature to your board!”

For Trello, notable mentions include Slack, Jira, Google Drive, and Dropbox.

And of course, both platforms connect with Zapier for even more automation and integration possibilities.

Trello vs Asana: pricing

So, how much does all of this cost? Here’s a quick rundown of the plans that are available with Trello and Asana.

Trello plans

  • Free plan: $0
  • Standard plan: $5 USD per user per month billed annually
  • Premium plan: $10 USD per user per month billed annually
  • Enterprise plan: The estimated cost for a team of 25 is $17.50 USD per user per month billed annually – with a lower estimated cost for teams of more people. Contact sales.
  • Any add-ons? Yes, Atlassian Access is a separate subscription for SAML single sign-on and enforced two-factor authentication that your organization can use across all Atlassian products (including Trello).

Asana plans

  • Basic plan: $0
  • Premium plan: $10.99 USD per user per month billed annually
  • Business plan: $24.99 USD per user per month billed annually
  • Enterprise plan: Contact sales.
  • Any add-ons? No, all features are made available with Asana’s plans. 

Trello and Asana both offer free plans, but there are a few key differences between the two. Trello’s free version works for unlimited team members, and Asana’s free version is for teams no greater than 15 people. On the other hand, as a free user, you get more views with Asana than you do with Trello. The free version of Asana gets you board, list, and calendar views; Trello only gives you the board view for free.

TD;LR: When it comes to each platform’s free versions, Trello users are limited by views and Asana users are limited by number of users.

Note: Both project management tools offer free trials!

Final verdict

Trello is a fantastic choice for solo freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small teams who are just getting started. It’s simple and intuitive — yet packed with powerful features that help to streamline project/task management. As your team grows or projects become more complex, you may find yourself reaching for a more feature-rich collaboration tool like Asana. Asana is ideal for organizations dealing with many moving parts, who may need advanced features like dependencies. If, at the end of the day, it’s a down-to-the-wire decision, remember that both project management tools offer free trials!

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