Trello vs Asana: what is the better?

Before writing this post I tried both for a while and here my review about free features.

There is no winner and no loser even though Asana has some interesting features…

Project Types / Prject Views

In Trello every project is a Kanban board and are called board. On the other hand Asana call them projects and supports two different views:

  • List
  • Card/Kanban

Here a List Project 

Here a Card/Kanban Project

This Asana feature is very interesting but unfortunately it is not possible to switch between the 2 views.

Calendar

Asana supports the Calendar feature out of the box, while Trello neeeds the Calendar powe up  to be installed in the board and unfortunately in the free version only one power up could be installed.

Conversations / Chat

Asana has another great feature: Conversation.
This allows your team to share your ideas so it is not necessary using slack to let your team talking about the project

Task  Done

While in Trello there is no way to say that a task is completed like in jira (task completion) if not only moving a card from one list to another.
Asana supports it like a check box and using the task completion timestamp to create some charts.

Subtasks

Both support subtasks as a checklist but Asana has something more.
In Trello a line inside a checklist is only text and could only be completed.
In Asana instead, every line in the checklist is a Task; clicking it, it is possible to specify a description and attach files for each item.
This would be great if only it was possible to see each subtask as a card, but unfortunately it’s not available therefore there is not so much difference between them.

Image Copy & Paste

Trello allows you to copy an image and paste it inside a card without saving it as a file before.
Even though it’s a minor feature I use it frequently.

Board Background

This is a stupid feature but you know, not only technical features are important 🙂
Trello allows to set a background from an image set and even though it is useless it is very pleasant.

Automations

Both of them are supported by zapier and IFTTT.

Power Ups / Extensions

Trello supports many power ups that can extend Trello features like calendar, card aging or something more. The only drawback is that only one power up is allowed in free plan. This limit can be extended to 5 if you invite new customers to the board.
On the other hand asana allows integration with some applications that can load data from it. Instagantt is an example of that.

 

Creation Tasks/Cards from emails

Both support the creation of tasks/cards by sending an email to a predefined address.

Conclusion

As I said at the beginning I think that both worth as free tasks manager, I suggest trying both and take your decision basing on your preferences.
Asana has by far more tech features than Trello, while Trello is more user friendly.

I use Trello in my private life, and Jira in my working life in order to manage projects because I think that jira is the best one to work on dev projects.
If  I wouldn’t have used Jira at work I would probably have used Asana thanks to his tech features.
I also use Trello in my daily working life in order to manage all my activities with Getting Things Done GTD methodology.

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The best result comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself AND the group

Some days ago I watched (again) “A Beautiful Mind”.
Even thought I’ve already seen it in the past this movie’s scene made me think a lot

The movie is based on a true story.

Adam Smith said:
“Individual Ambition Serves the Common Good.”
“The best result comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself”

John Nash instead added an importat part:
“The best result comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself AND THE GROUP”

Now move this concept to your company…

In many companies usually it’s more important find who is guilty or worse shift the blame onto someone else. The only thing that cares is to use the stick (carrot and stick Approach).
Even thought many companies are matrix organization or functional organization (silos) they can apply Agile or Deming Cycle concepts… but unfortunately most of them don’t…

RETROSPECTIVE – CHECK ACT

Keep always in mind this list:

  1. Everyone makes mistakes, the problem is not making mistakes but repeating them
  2. Figure out why the there was a problem, do a route couse analysis in order to determine every problem. Doing it you’ll find who did something wrong not shifting blame to him/her.
  3. Define how to avoid it next time
  4. Is it the first time? Talk the person/people that made mistakes and teach them… DO NOT USE THE STICK.
  5. Is this the second time? try to understand why this happend again and take actions (change organization flow)
  6. Is this happened more thant twice? Probably the person that made it is not the most appropriate doing this kind of work
  7. Comunication and Sharing: Talk Talk and Talk with everyone was involved and share what you discovered in the previous steps to all your peers and interested colleagues.
  8. Do not lose what you learned: Write it in your Knowledge Base or Lessons Learned and be sure that everyone knows how to reach this infomation

In addition some more suggestions:

  • Feedback: talk to your team and tell them what you think about their work.
  • Recognize the value of the people when they do great job
  • Say Thank You but not by email…
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Design Thinking

If you’re here, probably, you’ve already read something about Design Thinking.

Design Thinking is a topic where you can find many definitions and books that share the same concept but that explain it in very different ways.

I think that we can summarize it with:

try… catch –> try again catch –> try again and again till you reach your goal

But what is the goal?

The Goal is to find out the best way to interact with something in order to avoid reading instruction in order to use it (easier) and to improve your productivity (faster).
Think about you current smartphone and compare it to a 10-year-old one.
You can apply design thinkin to everything: software, buildings, studios, rooms, working flows ecc

Prototyping is the best way to reach it…

What Design Thinking includes:

  1. It needs a vision, without it nothing worths
  2. The target must be analyzed moving from top (the goal / desired improvement) through down (details, implementation)
  3. Anxiety: It’s generated by being afraid of wasting time and money doing test risking to not reach the target
  4. Accept the risk of failure
  5. Route couse analysis (fishbones diagram, ishikawa diagram)
  6. Creating prototypes redoucing the complexity experiment by experiment
  7. Everything that limits the innovation must be changed
  8. Try try try try and try again… never give up

The best explanation I found about design thinking is in this video (movie: The Founder (2016))

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How to add icons in a word or power point doc using font awesome or material design icons

The most famous font icons used in the web are font awesome and material design. You can find many other icon fonts on the Internet.

In this post I don’t want to talk about wich one is the best but how to use them in word o power point, for simplicity I’ll show only Microsoft Word interface but it’s pretty the same.

Download font Icons

Go to the font icon pack you have decided to use and download it.
These are the links for  font awesome and material design.

Install it to you PC/Mac

Usually what you probably have downloaded is a zip file. Unzip it and look up for .otf or .ttf files.

Install the .otf file if you found it or .ttf
In Windows double click the file and click to install button:

Use it in Microsoft Word

  1. Open Word
  2. Click To “Insert” Tab
  3. On right corner look up for “Symbol”
  4. Click “Other Symbols”
  5. Select the right font and the Symbol you want to add in dialog that will appear

Search for a symbol

Before I have shown how to insert a symbol using some font icons but the problem now is how to look for a specific symbol without blowing up your mind.
With font awesome it’s very easy:

  1. Go to the site
  2. Click to Icon
  3. Insert what you are lookin for
  4. Select the icon you like
  5. You will see the detail page where I have got to select the UNICODE string
  6. Go back to the word symbol dialog and insert that code to search box

Easy way to get unicode with other sites like material design

  1. Look up the .css file
  2. Open it with notepad
  3. look for what you want. For ex. “star” and select the appropriate one
  4. Grab the code

If you have some other interesting tip & tricks share it 🙂

PS:
I found many great icons in flaticon site.
Select the icons you want adding theme in your collection.
Then selection your collection and download it as “iconfont”

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Jira date diff or calculate a range in query

Today I’ve tried to set up a Jira query in my board.
My target was to change the card color evaluating how many days are left before the configured due date.
Here the solution:

What does it mean duedate >= 5d?
DueDate – Now() >= 5d

Note that currently Jira doesn’t allow to do this evaluation with 2 date fields

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List of Management and Leadership Books

I decided to write a post about my management books. I’ll write about every book I readed and I’ll read in the future (updating the post).
In this post I won’t write a description of each book because there are many sites where you can find information.


PMBOK 5th edition

(reviewed 2017-10-09)
I read it in order to prepare the PMP Certification. Here you can find the basic information about how to manage a project. I don’t like it so much because it explains all processes by Knowledge area instead of process group (the usual order during a project execution).


PMP Exam Simplified: Updated for 2016 Exam
by Aileen Ellis PMP
(reviewed 2017-10-09)
This book must be readed after the PMBOK because you need the PMBOK knowledge but this book fixes all concepted learned and It helps you applying all concepts in your daily work. Instead of the PMBOK this one deals processes moving from a process group to the next one.


Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
by Jeff Sutherland
(reviewed 2017-10-09)
This should be the first Scrum book to read because in this book you can understand why Scrum is born, when to apply it and how. This doesn’t address to IT project and this is why it is a good starting point.


User Stores Applied
by Mike Cohn
(reviewed 2017-10-09)
I think this book is nice but I didn’t find many interesting things considering that I’ve been using scrum for 2 years (in the moment I’m writing 2017).
I found some good advice on how to create user story in a better way but I knew some of them mainly because I read many Internet posts about Agile/Scrum.
I strongly recommend follwing the author’s blog: Mike Cohn

Scrum Guides by Jeff Sutherland & Ken Schwaber
This is not a book but a guide that could help adding more information and detail to Scrum (this is the basic for PSM I).
Here the site link


Drive
by H. Daniel Pink
(reviewed 2017-10-09)
I’m a technician so it’s quite normal that I’m used to read technical book. This book has opened my mind and the way I lead my team. This book addresses the intrinsic motivation and shows how our companies are old and how our working/family/school system is working in contrast to what studies showes.
This book is not only useful to Project Manager but it could help managers and HRs in order to improve the company environment.


Start with Why: How great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
(reviewed 2017-11-07)
I think this book is complementary to Drive. In Drive the main topic is the motivation behind doing a job. In this book instead, is explained the difference between Why and What. The book is full of examples useful to understand why some producer have sold more product than other producer even though the technical specifications were worse.
The main drawback is that this book is very redundant. the concept is repeated over and over again

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What is new in the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition – an In-Depth Comparison PMP

Hi, I haven’t read it jet but I want to share this book with you.

Go to Edu Hubspot and you can find it in free resources

Thanks for this work:

– Varun Anand, MS, PMP, CSM
– Asad Naveed, PMP, RMP, MEF-CECP
– Erjola Mimani, PMP, PSM I
– Greta Blash, MA, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, CSM
– Jason Saetrum, PMP, CSSBB, IASSC ATA, MCP, Project + Certified
– Kavya Gupta, PMP
– Oliver Yarbrough, MS, PMP
– Samuel Odemo, Btech, PMP
– Steve Blash, MA, PMP, PMI-ACP

If you don’t want to read it, you can see this video only to understand what are the differences

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