In this episode, Bastien Siebman, a web-developer with a passion for minimalism and productivity and an Asana certified professional shares his thoughts and learnings on the most effective steps to managing a project in Asana. Asana is a project management tool used by many agencies and organizations around the world.
Some topics we discussed include:
- How Bastien has created influence with his audience in building out his Asana project management consultancy
- Why Bastien decided to focus on Asana as a project management tool of choice
- How to decide on the feature set of a project management tool
- Steps to managing a project well via communication
- The best ways to manage workflow in a project management tool like Asana
- Steps to managing a project successfully in Asana through project conception and initiation
- How to go about clarifying project definition and planning
- How to manage a project launch and execution
- How best to assign tasks to the employees that fit them
- How to manage project performance and control
- How to use KPIs to track your project’s progress
- Steps to managing a project close
- and much more
Related links and resources
- Check out Minimalist Work – Bastien’s site
- Check out Asana
- Get additional insights from Minter Dial – How to Develop 5 Essential Leadership Characteristics That Boost Growth
- Listen to my interview with Nelly Yusupova – The Essential 10 New Product Development Stages for Successful Projects
- Check out the post – 12 Remote Workers Reveal How to be Happy, Effective, and Valuable
Bastien Siebman 0:00
I never worked in project management before I wrote, I came in as an Asana expert. And what I realized what I didn't expect that the time is that more than half of my work is around workflows on people management and around how to assign work to people. So the first step is to mark the workflows. And then we talk about how to put that inside the tool. But you're right. Actually, people come to me. Some of the clients I have, they come to me because they see their companies a big mess in terms of workflows. And they're seeing that just moving that workflow into Asana is the solution and they don't realize we're going to need to talk about the workflows themselves before and
Vinay Koshy 0:44
Hi, and welcome to the predictable b2b success podcast. Overnight coaching. On this podcast, we interview people behind b2b brands who aren't necessarily famous, but do work in the trenches and share their strategies and secrets as they progress along their journey of expanding their influence and making their businesses grow predictably. Now, let's dive into the podcast. Project Management is the key to sticking to your budget and deadline was keeping the most important tasks of the forefront of your business. Without it, you will in the future of your business, at the mercy of circumstances and and your employees, which is really not a good model. In this episode, we'll be looking at project management and the steps required to manage a project. He is a web developer with a passion for minimalism and productivity which has led him to become an Asana certified Pro. Apart from helping clients all around the world use a celebrant productively. He has a string of other accomplishments, which include publishing 1000s of answers on their silo online community making him the number one contributor in the world. And the two times member of the month is published three books about Asana, created a team of Asana virtual assistants, and released a dozen tools around Asana. Bastian Shipman Welcome.
Bastien Siebman 2:12
Good pronunciation. Happy to be here.
Vinay Koshy 2:15
Great to have you on. I'm curious Bhushan Is this your your I would call it always the love affair with Asana is something that you got introduced to as when when working as a web developer.
Bastien Siebman 2:30
Actually, the first job I had back in the day was that I had my own web agency. We were creating websites and apps and we were looking for a tool to manage the project we had. So project management tool. And at the time, there were there was not a lot of options. There was Zoho, I think Asana was just starting up and a couple of others. So we tried some of them. And we liked the approach of Asana. We chose the sun at work, and everything started from them.
Vinay Koshy 3:03
Right. Okay. And your you obviously got really into it. Because just looking at the things that you've done through the solar community, you've very gradually yet steadily grown your influences in that community. How is my take on it with it? Would that be correct? Yeah, exactly.
Bastien Siebman 3:21
I just I liked the tool, I really did dive deep into the tool and learned how the tool works. And after a while, I started to search for communities online. And I found the Google Groups that existed at the time, and then the Asana forum. And I had this realization that I actually knew the tool very well compared to other people. So I really had things to say about the way it works, but the philosophy, and I really knew the tool in and out. And I just started to help people and you felt good, so I never stops.
Vinay Koshy 3:58
I'm also curious, so given your journey today, what would you say is your personal area of strength?
Bastien Siebman 4:06
I think it's the fact that I like clarity, and I don't like the mess. So for example, my desk has almost nothing on it except like a pen and a piece of paper and the coffee. And yeah, it's everything around minimalism and trying to be productive by doing only what's necessary and not doing any, any thing outside of the necessery.
Vinay Koshy 4:35
And what in that era of strength would you say is something that businesses don't know? But should?
Bastien Siebman 4:43
Again, clarity I have. I have examples of meeting with clients. For example, I tell them, okay, can you describe the workflow on how do you open a new shop for example, And it's always the same people do not know the workflow by heart, they have some pieces of the workflow. The other person has some pieces of the workflow. And they always need to call someone up and say, Can you help us identify? What is that part of the workflow. And then the CEO is like, is baffled by the workflow, because he had no idea that was that way. And he had another workflow in mind. And when you really ask people in businesses to write down the steps, they never get it right the first time, it takes them minutes, or even several meetings to get the workflow, right. Yep. And then they realize amazing stuff. Like they have four levels of approvals by different people in the company. And the vast CEO realizes that some people actually wear different hats, just to compensate other department not doing their work. And it's when you when you dive into the workflows, you learn amazing stuff. And you see all the complexity, and you see all the room for improvement that you have. And using a tool like Asana forces you to map out the workflows precisely. And for each step, you need to identify who's doing that step. And how long does it take. And when you map out the timeline, you see that the workflow doesn't work, you have step that you can't complete by the expected due date, it just doesn't work. But because nobody mapped them out. We don't realize that. So for many months, or many years, the workflow didn't work. And it's it's the it's the mapping out on the paper that helps realize the complexity you have within the company.
Vinay Koshy 6:42
It's interesting what you said, because I have been taught that you should only use a tool, once you know your process. But from what you're saying, most companies start using a tool and then sort out the process.
Bastien Siebman 6:59
I never worked in project management before I wrote, I came in as an Asana expert. And what I realized what I didn't expect at the time, is that more than half of my work is around workflows on people management, and around how to assign work to people. So the first step is to map the workflows. And then we talk about how to put that inside the tool. But you're right. Actually, people come to me, some of the clients I have they come to me because they see their companies a big mess in terms of workflows. And they're saying that just moving their workflow into Asana is the solution. And they don't realize we're going to need to talk about the workflows themselves before hand.
Vinay Koshy 7:43
So what would be the correct approach to project management from from your experience? We've talked about this idea of mapping out the process, should should we then be looking at tools and deciding which one would be the best fit? Or should be should we be looking at also mapping out some of the communication that occurs within the company or the business to support that particular process or workflow? before deciding on a tool that then yeah, suffices those requirements.
Bastien Siebman 8:18
Again, my position is special because I am branded as an Asana expert and I do not know the other tools as much as I know Asana. So you cannot come to me and say, should I choose Asana, Basecamp, or Reich have no idea because I don't use the other tools as much. So people usually usually come to me when they already decided they want to work in Asana. Right, some clients, they have nothing there. Some other clients, they already use the sauna for many months and many weeks. But anyway, we always start from the workflows. And you're right from the discussions where discussion should happen. And this is the second biggest problem I see is email chains being sent to everyone. I have a lot of clients that use emails and SMS and WhatsApp. So they have like WhatsApp groups to discuss. So I try to explain that they need to split the work into tasks, and they need to have small discussions at the task scope level. So they really need to have many, many small discussions rather than have one big giant discussion in email, where everything is discussed at the same time. And so big shifts, because people kind of feel overwhelmed by all the notifications because they suddenly have many many different discussions at the same time. From a day, they soon realize that when they open the task, everything then there is in there, you have the assignee, you know who does what, by when, and you have the discussion related to that task online. And I think that brings clarity,
Vinay Koshy 9:55
Would I be right in the scene that coming up with a project concept would probably be the the initial step that that you would take with this entire process.
Bastien Siebman 10:07
Yeah, so usually the person comes with the project, but the project is about what are the goals, and we discussed to understand the project. And I usually try to jump into the implementation with the client. So I'm saying, for example, I'm saying, Okay, I have a feeling that your project is kind of a timeline, you have different tasks, you have some dependencies between the task and we start to build things that way. And in the meeting, maybe they're going to say, or wait, this step is something we do monthly. So maybe we want to take that part out of the timeline and put that elsewhere, because this is something monthly. So yeah, we're trying to build as we go, it's from what I experience. I do not have the brain to discuss all the workflows of the company, and then suggest a solution. I think it's too complex, you have too many moving pieces. I'd rather discuss one workflow, implement, discuss another implement, and then you iterate, and you connect them and you improve as you go. I don't like the approach of taking weeks to discuss all the workflows and then taking weeks to suggest an implementation, I'd really like to dive and get my hands dirty and get the clients and dirty by building the workflows as soon as possible.
Vinay Koshy 11:30
Sure. So what would be ...
Bastien Siebman 11:33
I'm not saying is the right approach. But again, I have I do not have a lot of experience about project management in general. I learned everything from the Asana angles of some of my answers are biased by the tool, I consult on,
Vinay Koshy 11:49
Certainly. So when you have a client saying, I need help with with implementing Asana, do you ask for more clarification in terms of a tangible outcome that would see the project come to a close? Or is a fairly open ended? What is your approach?
Bastien Siebman 12:10
Usually it's a discussion about why they need a signup, sometimes, I see different cases. The first one is they need to scale the business. And they feel like using emails and WhatsApp will not help them scale the business, they need to scale everything. Then I have CEOs coming to me and saying, I need to know everything I need to they're not saying the saying it like this, but they need to micromanage everything, but I can't by email, it's too hard, I need another system. So my goal is to explain that maybe they do not need to manage every single task. And I introduce them to some of the feature giving giving them a bird eye view of the project. So I tried to teach them to let the team work and just have some status update come to them on a regular basis. So this is basically the to the two things I see scaling. Or if it's already a mess, it's making sure they have clarity for the current situation. I'm not sure I'm answering your question, though.
Vinay Koshy 13:13
I was wondering if there would be a tangible outcome. So for example, as CEO, once status updates, does it come to a close once you've built, say a dashboard that provides day to day overview of where people are at where projects at as well as status updates? Would that be?
Bastien Siebman 13:34
Yeah, from my experience, it never stops. And whenever I build a first dashboard that gives them some ideas for other dashboards and then they realize this and this and this and you basically, you never stop. And the first goal you had in mind about the clarity wants them to move other businesses into Asana or move other activities into Asana and move other workflows into Asana and do always more and more and more.
Vinay Koshy 14:02
Okay, so it's an evolving process, but you very, at the very least, certainly help with the launching the young way in what they using Asana. Okay,
Bastien Siebman 14:14
What I try to do, what I always suggest is that the client identifies what I call a hero internally, like an admin or hero, person that will basically replace me when I'm gone, because I'm not going to stay forever. So I'm trying to train those people about everything I know so they can take over and then their team can turn to them for any new project they have. Right. And also, there's an A big part we always forget is the maintenance part. And I have people from my team working for clients just doing some maintenance. Because you need to archive project you need to make sure people do not get overwhelmed, you need to deduplicate things you need to rename projects that are not named properly. need to make sure the guidelines that were decided are still applied, you need to audit the access of people, for example, you know, suddenly, it's really easy to invite someone from the outside into a project. So you need to check the privacy settings of different projects that are very critical. And you need to make sure what each guest has access to. So you don't give away information, private information, there's a lot of things going on, that you need to do on a regular basis, in addition to the initial setup of the tool.
Vinay Koshy 15:30
Okay. Do you also look at integration of a sandwich with other tools? Is that something that is often talked about and you make a recommendation now that your son is not a good fit? Or is a bit is the right fit?
Bastien Siebman 15:47
Yeah, definitely, for example, the client, they always have an ecosystem of apps, it's always the case. For example, they use pipe drive to manage the sales, they would die from pipelines deletes. And you can do that in a silo, but you can't do everything in pipe drive pipe drive is way more powerful for this kind of work. So if we discussed with the clients how they use the tool, sometimes pipe drive is too complex and they want to move to a silo, sometimes they want to stay there. So we discussed the connection between the two usually using Zapier or an equivalent, so that whenever you signed a new client that creates something in Asana, we also talk a lot about discussing with people outside of Asana, from Asana, so you have two ways to do this. You can create forms that you share with people and the people, they fill in the forms and that creates a task in your Asana. It's a way to ask people outside of Asana for information. And there are also ways using Zapier in Gmail, for example, to send emails to people that are not in Asana, whether you do send email just with one click from Asana directly. So we usually try to have that kind of discussions as well.
Vinay Koshy 17:03
So going back to a project management perspective, if you're, say, taking on a new client, I'm assuming there's a face within a web development agency or any other type of organization where you want to kind of plan out the project. Is this some of the best place for that type of planning?
Bastien Siebman 17:29
You mean planning one specific project?
Vinay Koshy 17:31
Yeah, the as to how the project will be handled, who's to handle it, communication roles, etc, etc. Most, some people might sketch it out and beat them, you know, on a piece of paper. But I don't know if Asana is unique in that, it allows you to do some of that planning within this.
Bastien Siebman 17:49
Usually, if the team is not comfortable with Asana yet, I try to ask them to map out on paper or in Excel or whatever what the project is about and the dependencies they have. And then together, we build that in Asana. So I really want them to see how it works. So I create the task, I create the dependency, they're always missing things from their documents. So we improve that. And what's really important is making sure every single step has an assignee, it has a date. And the dependencies again, are really important, because in Asana, when you complete a task, it's going to trigger a notification for the next task in line. So you really want to have everything mapped out correctly. So you do not have to think about the planning again, and you just get people notified one by one until the end of the project. So it's really important step to create that timeline or process at the beginning. And part of the discussion is also to identify whether or not this kind of project will happen again, and again. And again, because if it does, we want to turn this into a template into a model that we can reuse on a regular basis. And for example, for marketing campaigns, you always have the same steps. So you really want to have a template that you use every week or every month. And you also need to train people to have the mindset of going back to the template to improve the template because they're going to be tempted to that will improve the process on a daily basis. But they also need to go back into templates, improve the templates so that any improvements you do will be part of the next iteration you have of that process.
Vinay Koshy 19:33
And would you say that there needs to be an element of onboarding for every project, onboarding in that everyone who has a role to play is aware of what the project is about and potentially what tasks will be assigned to them and getting their ownership of that?
Bastien Siebman 19:51
I think I think it's important. I would say for each project, you have two types of people, you have the one that have access to the big picture. You have the one that just do small parts of that workflow. And in that, in that second category, you actually have two categories, which is, do they have the rights to see the big picture? or shouldn't they see the big picture. And this is different, because you the permissions and privacy's are not going to be set up the same. Because sometimes you do not want people to see the big picture because you have private things in there or strategic things in there. And sometimes you want the team to understand what their task, how their task is included into the bigger picture. So you need to discuss this. And obviously, people usually people already know the workflows, they're not surprised when the task gets to them, because it's so already what they were doing on a daily basis. But now it's into Asana. But for the people that have the big picture, you need to explain what I just said, the dependencies and modification, how it's going to how it should work automatically. And you need to train them to go on the project in the project on a regular basis. See, if you have some dates, that changes, if you push things in the future, you need to check the dependencies if you have any conflict and adapt, and you need to have in mind the hardest due dates that you have in the project, and make some changes to make sure that you respect that deadline. So yeah, you you really need to, I think the best is to have everyone in the same room for a small meeting and say, Okay, guys, this is the entire project we mapped out. This is how it's going to play out. And each people will be notified whenever they can start working on something. And what's what's special about Asana is, you get assigned task, but for the future, so you might be assigned on something for next month. But you can't work on that now, because it's dependent on other tasks. So you need to explain people how that works. And you need to explain that it's not because you've got a task today that you can start working on it, and you need to explain where in the interface, they can understand that this cannot be done today. And you need to explain that they will be notified whenever they can start working on it.
Vinay Koshy 22:16
That certainly makes a lot of sense. I was also wondering, is there anything else that you will need to consider as you plan out a project and then start to launch and execute on all those tasks?
Bastien Siebman 22:33
Do you have an example?
Vinay Koshy 22:35
No, I was just wondering from, from your experience, if there was something else that we should consider, as we look at during from planning through to launching and executing?
Bastien Siebman 22:48
I think while you're doing the project, it's always good to question the workflow and see if you can simplify. For example, the the approvals is something I see very often, you need approval for this and this and this, and you need approval for level four, your manager and your managers manager. And sometimes it gets really complicated. So I always try to challenge people to challenge the workflow. And really make sure that do they really need to have those approval, maybe it's easier to just give access to the project to the managers. And if they want to have a look, they can. But maybe you do not want to block everyone have everyone wait on an approval. And you can streamline everything and remove some of the steps and some of the roadblocks by just giving access to the project managers. And if they want to go there they can, but they don't have to they don't want to question the workflow and always go back to apply to the template the changes you've made, because next month, you do not want to have the previous workflow, you want the new one?
Vinay Koshy 23:58
Would it be wise to build a review at the very least every few months where you were the champion that you were talking about or the hero would sort of initiate a review of current processes to see Yeah, definitely more streamlined.
Bastien Siebman 24:17
Yeah, definitely. And I think part of the the champion job is to, to watch what's going on in Asana and read the comments. And if someone says, You it should have been done before or I can't do that because I'm waiting on accounting to give me the heads up. If the dependency doesn't exist in Asana, you have a problem with the workflow and you need to do something about it. So yeah, rewatch what was going on, and definitely review the workflows on a regular basis.
Vinay Koshy 24:48
Okay. When you are working remotely or have virtual assistants, how does that come into play? Because there is, especially for virtual assistants, I would think Have a degree of training about the company, the culture and things that nature, as well as how to apply a Senate to this specific instance, your recommendations or thoughts on the process of doing that.
Bastien Siebman 25:17
Usually companies already have some onboarding steps. It's usually inside the head of people from HR. So first step would be to map this out into Asana write down exactly the onboarding process for person, they realize they actually missed some steps. And they need to brainstorm with two or three managers to make sure they have the right list. And once you do, you need to use that list for every single new employee that comes in, right. And part of that process is training on Asana. So a couple of possibilities, you could have someone like me train them, it's not really scalable. So if you hire a lot of people, you might want to have some training automated for them. So you could have videos done by people from the company explaining things screencasting, you could also have what's what I'm seeing often is an onboarding project in Asana with steps, like, go to that task, and comment, then come back to that task and mention your manager and come back, create a project and assign a task to your manager and something like gamify, the whole Asana experience, so they saw the manager can see the progress by looking at all the tasks completed and the person will we need to use the tool to complete the training.
Vinay Koshy 26:38
Would it be a similar process, if you were to invite say, a client into Asana to provide, I guess, input or even some status updates?
Bastien Siebman 26:52
So it's good question. It really depends on what you expect the client to do in Asana. You do you only need them to comments, do you need them to assign tasks? Do you need them to create tasks to review things? So there are a lot of if you only need to come to comment, I think a simple screencast of five or 10 minutes should be enough to explain how it works. If you want them to assign task, change values of custom fields, or these kind of things might take a bit longer, and also depends on how many clients, I have seen people that had eight new clients per day, the business works that way. So in that case, you need a scalable solution. If you have one new big client per month, then you can have a one hour two hours long meeting to explain how Asana works. She also really depends on how scalable your solution needs to be.
Vinay Koshy 27:44
Bastien Siebman 27:45
But involving the clients is a complicated topic, because you never know how tech savvy they might be. But you never know if they're willing to come into your Asana and work with you. It can be very different from one plan to the other. And you do not want to have friction with a client just because of the tools you use. Yeah, so for some of them, you might want to stick with the good old email and WhatsApp. And for some of the others, you might want to push them to use Asana. And I've seen people use Asana to work with contractors, and it sees you with contractors because if they want to get paid, they need to do what you tell them. So you can tell them okay, from now on, we started WhatsApp and you come into Asana. But with a client, it's a bit different. Although I like to suggest you explain to claim that if you are as good as you are, it's because you use a tool like Asana, so you might want to get them excited about using such a tool. And we can even try to convince them convince them to use Asana themselves for their own their own work.
Vinay Koshy 28:50
So what do you mean, when you say we need to assign tasks to the employees that fit them? When we were talking offline? But yeah,
Bastien Siebman 29:03
okay. You mean that fits them that fits their, their role? Or their?
Vinay Koshy 29:10
Yeah, I assume that that's what you were mean. But I would just want to clarify, did you mean that by saying tasks that you're referring to their role, or their personality and the overview that they have on the project,
Bastien Siebman 29:25
I don't remember what I said, I don't remember what it relates to. But there's this two ways of assigning tasks. You can assign a task to an actual person if you know who's responsible. But sometimes you want to assign tasks to a team, but you do not know who's going to do the work. And in Asana, there's ways to do this. And one of the way is to create like a bucket for the IT team and you move a task into their bucket and you let them decide who's going to work on this. And then you either have people pick the task They want to work on or you have a manager assigning tasks to the right person based on the skills or the workload. And in Asana, you have a tool to help you, which is called the workload feature that shows you the workload of people within your team. So if you deal with 80 requests, and you have a team of 20, people, you might want to use the workflow tool to see to dispatch to work on the people that are the less overwhelmed or the less overloaded.
Vinay Koshy 30:31
Which brings us to another aspect of managing a project, which would be that of the actual performance of the project and having control over it. Most traditional ways of managing would be I guess, around something like KPIs or key performance indicators to track the progress or project is that how you would do in Excel as well?
Bastien Siebman 30:59
And yes, you do, depending on the plan you pay for you have some features, or you don't have some features, they do have progress report for each project. So you know, the completion how far along you are in terms of completion of tasks, that makes it very important to map out the entire project with all the steps. And also define milestones. So you can see where you are in terms of milestones. There's a feature called portfolio that gives the manager a bird's eye view on the project. And you can actually have project next to each other and compare them in terms of progress and milestones. Right. And so so one way to do it, and they recently, I think it was last week introduced a new feature called dashboard. So for each project, you have now a dashboard where you can see incomplete tasks, number of incomplete tasks, number of milestones completed tasks, within the last two weeks, you have a couple of KPIs, and I'm sure they're going to improve this as well. And I also build a dashboard myself, myself for my clients by using the Asana API, because often declines need KPIs that are not available within Asana. And because the dashboard feature which was just introduced last week, up until last week, you know, some of the KPIs were missing. So I'm building dashboards for clients that need to, to see some specific KPIs. And to give you an example, I have a client that have a project in which they work with their clients, his team and his clients. And he has requirements, which is either their team or the clients need to answer within 16 business hours, it's the use case they have, and up until last week, then you need to go to each task within their project and look at when the last comment was made, and use their brain to see if it was late or not. And I built a dashboard, listing all the tasks that didn't have an answer within the last 16 business hours. So this is the kind of dashboard you do not get in Asana. But you can get from external body like me, when we use the Asana API to build dashboards,
Vinay Koshy 33:15
You're probably familiar with the the acronym SMART and CLEAR. When it comes to managing projects. How much of that can be applied to to Asana,
Bastien Siebman 33:29
I think it applies at different levels, how you define a task, how you describe a task, how you map out a project, how you name a project. And just if you go back to the task naming thing, most of the time, people do not name tasks properly, like a task would be named September report. But this is not a task. The writing the report is the task reviewing the report is the task proofreading the report is a task. And usually they do not include in the description. And they usually do not comment. So I'm trying to teach everyone to be very explicit in the way they name things like what is the action you want people to do? The action changes with the life of the task. So first, you write the report and then the same task becomes redo the report. And then the same task become approach to the report, for example. And I also push people to be very clear in their communication. So they I teach people to reuse the comments a lot. So saying in the comments, I did this I just for example. Just renaming the review the report just renaming rights to report to review the report is not enough. In my opinion. You should have a comment saying? I'm done with writing the report. Can you please review the report and then you assign to someone we need to be very explicit. If you if you don't, people might get confused. And they might drain their energy, their energy to try to understand what's the context. So I tried to get people to really be explicit and clear and create actionable tasks every time.
Vinay Koshy 35:12
How do you handle the unexpected? It's great when things follow the prescribed timeline. But every now and then we do come across the unexpected. The Times that we're living in at moment being being a case in point. So how does that factor into the planning? stage does everything need to be redone to fit the the unexpected events, or does it allow for a degree of flexibility?
Bastien Siebman 35:42
You do have flexibility. For example, if he used the timeline in Asana, it's basically a Gantt chart, if you define the dependencies properly. If you move something in the future, it will push everything else to make sure you don't have any conflict, that this is something available to you in Asana, you can disable this if you want to. But you have the tool to play with the task and change the duration of the task assigned to other people to make sure that everything fits inside the box. And you also need to be very clear about the hard deadline you have. If you need to open a new restaurant, you probably can't change the opening date, you have a hard deadline. And it has to be very clear in us. And so you need to create a milestone that is not dependent on anything, so doesn't move. And then that milestone will give you like a vertical line you can go across, and then you move you do whatever you need to but you need to make sure everything says on the left of that line. In Asana, you can play around as much as you want. If you define the dependencies correctly, that will show up as red if they can't be met. And you should define things correctly. You can play as much as you want. And the unexpected should be easy to deal with in that case.
Vinay Koshy 36:57
Perfect. What about bringing a project to a close? How do you recommend clients do that within within the center?
Bastien Siebman 37:06
I think yeah, I think it's important to define in advance the steps to set up a project and the steps to close a project. And usually, when the client map out their the project, they forget those steps. So for example, the setup is choose the name for the project, define the dates, define the hard due dates, milestones you want to define assures the project owner, you need to define how often the owner needs to give management updates, status updates. So this has to be defined and be those need to the steps inside the project. So you need to be you can be sure that we're done. And then you have the debriefing steps, which is make sure all the tasks are completed, archive the project, send the final status update, send a thank you note to people from the project, these kind of things that are probably always the same, you need to write them down once and for all and always use them. And yeah, I think writing those as a task is a big step. If you do that, then you should be fine. And also make sure again, to go back to the template. So learn from your mistakes, maybe have a meeting with the big template on the screen and saying, Okay, guys, what went wrong? And what can we improve to make sure next time it's better? And how can we improve the templates to take into account? What happened with the other project?
Vinay Koshy 38:34
Is this one great because it's one thing to talk about projects, but projects are really about helping create an outcome or an experience for for yourselves or for someone else? As part of the closing of the project? Do you recommend doing surveys in order to ensure that the experience was what was meant to be?
Bastien Siebman 38:59
Sure, Sure, why not? You can have your forms in Asana with a couple of questions you can send the entire team. Yeah, definitely.
Vinay Koshy 39:08
So just listening to what you're saying, correct me if I'm wrong, but it really boils down to three things, or three key things at the very least one the seller feature set and deciding which ones to use. That seller should be able to compliment your communication within the organization. And of course, the workflow should be streamlined fit in with the reality of what you were doing, even prior to using the center.
Bastien Siebman 39:38
Yeah, exactly. And that the communication part is really important because we have many tools available to communicate. Usually client moving to Asana, they also have other tools like teams or slack. So you need to make sure that you explain how to use slack and how to use Asana when it comes to communication, and I think it's the hardest part. Because slack is so easy to use, you might be tempted to discuss any single task in slack. But if you do that, then Asana will be emptied out from all the discussions, and you will lose the context and you will lose all that precious information about the tasks. But you can't have everything in Asana, either, because slack is good for real time. And are you coming to the meeting and WhatsApp today? So it's, I think those two tools are important, but they are not to use the same way. So it's really important but hard to explain how to use both of those tools,
Vinay Koshy 40:40
Which, again, in my mind raises another question, which is, how much of a conversation Do you have around organizational culture, while trying to implement this summer into the organization?
Bastien Siebman 40:56
Again, it's not my background. So I realized that being an Asana consultant, you do not have a choice that you need to discuss this kind of it's kind of topics. So you try to add that discussion, in the context of a son in the context of the tool, is to try to understand the structure of the teams of the departments of who needs to see what and in terms also in terms of collaboration. So, for example, do you have departments collaborating very often together or almost never happens? That will guide the way you structure the Asana will guide the way you structure the teams and the project and the privacy settings of the entire thing. And sometimes the org chart is very complex. And if you can't simplify the org charts, it will create a complex structure in Asana to try to simplify it as much as possible, or at least understand how it works. And it's it might also be a good way to challenge the way things were done, and try to streamline some of the workflows. streamlining the workflow might mean that a team in one country might have to collaborate more often with another team, even though they were not collaborating. And what I've seen, I've worked with clients working in different countries, and for example, they had a marketing team in France and marketing team in UK. And those teams do not have the same workflows. So it's we'll be using Asana would be the good time to say, Okay, guys, we need to find the same workflow for both of you because you do exactly the same job. We can't have different workflows, it's a mess, you need to do everything the same way. So even though you have different teams, and even though up until today, it was complete, completely different scene and workflows, you really need to get together in your room and think about how to have the same workflow applied to both of the teams.
Vinay Koshy 42:56
And this has been great. Is there an aspect of using Asana or managing projects with a summer that I haven't asked, and you feel that we should highlight?
Bastien Siebman 43:08
I think it's, it's important to emphasize something that happened recently at Asana, they, they renamed Adam naturally, they renamed themselves but they used to talk about project management. And now they talk about work management, because the tool is not only about projects, Asana is great to manage a personal To Do List things you have to do yourself on your own. And it's also good to manage the entire company as a whole. For example, they introduced a feature called goals, where you can basically do OKR, inside Asana, that doesn't relate to a specific project. It relates to the company as a whole. And in Asana, you can for each project you can say to which which goal, it helps reach. So you have that link between the goals and the project. But I think, saying that Asana is more about work as a whole instead of just projects and focusing on timeline and projects. It's not, it's not all of it, you can also do personal stuff. You can do company wide stuff. It's not just about projects,
Vinay Koshy 44:17
Certainly, so many different applications really to how you manage work and side hustles and projects and things of that nature. Exactly. bashing if you were listening to this episode, what would be your top takeaway?
Bastien Siebman 44:35
I'd say that Asana is totally worth looking at. And if you feel like your company's a mess right now, and if you basically if you use email, you probably have some problems, probably reached the limits of what your brain can do with email. And you might want to consider using a tool like Asana, maybe some Asana beats Basecamp, or Reich or smart sheets, but I think the key takeaway - really look at how you work. Ask yourself, do my work? Are my workflows mapped out somewhere? Or is that only in the heads of people in their minds? And if that's the case, then you have a big problem because people tend to leave companies and change companies. And people tend to forget. And if you need to put three people in a room to map out a workflow, then you're probably missing steps all the time, because people just forget.
Vinay Koshy 45:30
Yep, yep, certainly. Bastien, minimalist hyphen work.com. Is your website. Is there anywhere else that you would recommend listeners head to in order to find out more or connect with you?
Bastien Siebman 45:47
I think my LinkedIn account is a good place to start and then your website minimalist hyphen work.com.
Vinay Koshy 45:53
Excellent. We'll include links in the show notes. Bastien, thank you so much.
Bastien Siebman 45:59
Vinay Koshy 46:01
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