Asana eliminating Dashboards soon—and maybe users’ trust

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 Filed under:   Asana news

In case you haven’t heard, Asana sent an email to a limited number of users and posted a nonchalant message on the Asana Forums that they plan to remove the Dashboard feature for all users on December 1, 2018. They have also alluded to a replacement feature called Portfolios that will debut around the same time.

Dashboards were Asana’s attempt to provide a high-level overview of various projects with the ability for team members to update project statuses and add notes. Some teams have integrated Dashboards tightly into their workflows, but most teams do not seem to have found the current implementation helpful and thus aren’t using them. Some reasons for this are there is no way to roll up projects together for reporting, add and search by project metadata (like Custom Fields), or natively track projects with any type of system like OKRs.

removing-dashboards
This in-app popup lets users know that dashboards are going away soon.

In terms of functionality, this change is a good thing. Most teams don’t use Dashboards because the information they provide requires manual updating regularly, and I think most people find the current Google Spreadsheet integration has little to no value in terms of what information is actually useful for project reporting.

The new portfolio solution will be so much better. But the problem I see, similar to the last time prices were increased, is how this change is being rolled out.

There are secrets Asana, Inc. isn’t telling you

A great leadership lesson I learned is: COMMUNICATION + TIME = UNITED CHANGE. In this case, there has been both poor communication and not enough time to process this change.

Giving users less than 2 months to change what COULD be a major shift for them is an enormous headache. Add on top of that the fact Asana has insufficiently communicated the change (I didn’t receive an email, and the majority of users are not scanning the forums) and it feels like Asana, Inc. is hiding something.

And based on what I’ve read in the Asana forums, there is something important being hidden that wasn’t communicated in any of Asana’s announcements so far.

Asana is taking away what was a core feature people paid for—and perhaps a selling point for using Asana in the first place—with no replacement unless you switch to Enterprise and pay 2x what you’re currently paying for Asana.

The replacement for Dashboards, called Portfolios, is planned to only be available for the Enterprise tier ($20+ per user). I think a lot people are going to feel very frustrated by this. Asana has HUGE switching costs. When someone chooses to run their team or their whole company on Asana, they’re doing it by putting trust in the product and the company backing it. To have features suddenly yanked out from under them and told to pay double the price (a $6,000 difference for a 50-person company!), that breaks the trust.

Did the switch from Dashboards to Portfolios need to happen? Yes, they are creating a much better solution. But why punish and frustrate existing customers?

It seems like better solutions are:

  1. Give portfolios to all Premium customers
  2. Give a portion of portfolio features that at least replace the functionality of dashboards (my recommendation is to hide Portfolio Custom Fields behind the Enterprise paywall since users are already used to having to pay extra for Custom Field functionality)
  3. Grandfather existing users into portfolios and have all new users pay for it, like what Asana, Inc. did previously with Advanced Search

I hope all Asana users get to hear a better announcement about this with the details people actually need to plan. They deserve to know more than, “We’re taking away Dashboards and replacing it with something better,” because that’s only a partial truth. Asana is claiming a new Homescreen can replace Dashboards, but this is not a replacement at all. All the Homescreen does is how recent and favorite projects, nothing related to project progress.

Does this affect you? Speak up!

The good news is that if this rubs you the wrong way, Asana has already shown they will listen to user feedback. This was demonstrated with how they handled feedback from their last price increase.

I encourage everyone to share your feedback and trust they will do the right thing for their customers. Leave a comment below, and copy and paste it as well to the Asana forum topic about this.

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