How to integrate Slack & Asana

   |    |  
 Filed under:   Best practices

Why use Slack & Asana together?

Slack is a widely-used communication platform boasting around 3 million daily active users. Essentially, it’s texting for business. For those with corporate backgrounds, it’s a sexier and more useful Yammer.

Slack allows you to group company conversations into threads (marked by a hashtag), and its ability to integrate with many different web services allow it to serve as a central notifications hub.

Asana began adding communication features in May 2015, so why would a business want to use both Slack and Asana?

Slack is definitely not an Asana replacement. Slack is a communication tool, not a task management tool. Asana is much more robust in terms of tracking work, assigning tasks, and creating reports. Slack doesn’t have these tools natively, and 3rd-party Slack project management integrations pale in comparison to Asana.

As a best practice, it is definitely recommended to keep questions and comments related to a task within Asana. By marrying this information to the task with task comments, you keep all the relevant context in one place. This is super helpful if reassigning a task or looking back at a completed task in the future.

However, there are a few reasons why some businesses love Slack and want to use it in conjunction with Asana:

  1. Slack integrates with many apps. Slack has a robust API that allows other applications to tie into it easily. For example, I use Slack as a hub for notifications from several different places: my tasks (Asana), my appointments (Calendly), payments (Stripe), and general team conversations. And by using an automation platform like Zapier or IFTTT, the number of possible integrations explodes. It’s difficult to get all that information into Asana in a useful way.
  2. Slack offers a more focused platform for communicating. Slack does one thing, and it does it well. The native mobile and desktop apps allow you to quickly communicate without getting bogged down. Teams that spend a lot of time texting or using an instant messenger are prime candidates for Slack.
  3. Slack is fun. Slack encourages a humorous and fun experience, like supporting GIF images in responses. You’d be surprised how many teams love it purely for this reason!

What does the Slack & Asana integration do?

Slack and Asana offer an integration for organizations that use both services. There are two primary benefits to setting this up:

First, you can see a stream of Asana notifications within Slack. The “#asana” channel allows you to quickly scan what your teammates are working on, and lets managers view different conversations from one central area. There is no equivalent “stream view” within Asana. This is probably most useful for smaller teams (less than 20 people).

Second, you can quickly create and assign Asana tasks within Slack. As you’re conversing and decide you should create a new task, you don’t need to leave Slack and open up Asana. Instead, you can type a simple “/asana” command to create the task, add it to a project, and assign it to a teammate.

How to configure the Slack & Asana integration

  1. From within Slack, install the Asana integration for your Slack team. You must have the admin privileges necessary to do this. If you’re brand new to Slack, you should sign up and create a team first.
  2. Authenticate with your Asana organization. If you ever want to deauthorize, visit the “Apps” tab on the “My Profile Settings” in Asana.
  3. Configure the integration. The following image shows what the configuration options look like.
    • Specify workspace and check projects available for integration. You may need to revisit this integration occasionally to make sure new projects are included in the integration. NOTE: Private tasks within selected projects are also included, so I suggest only selecting public projects. This could be a huge privacy issue, so think this through. I would also advise against including My Tasks, again because you do not want private tasks showing up in the public stream.
    • Comment notifications. Decide if you want all task comments to go to the #asana channel, or instead notify task followers through their individual @slackbot.
    • Choose channel for Asana updates. Recommendation is to create a new channel called “#asana” for these updates.
    • Choose username for the Asana bot. I don’t know why anyone would pick anything other than “asana.”
Integrate Slack & Asana

How to create & assign Asana tasks within Slack

Note that in order to assign tasks to a teammate in Slack, that teammate will need to authenticate their Asana account as well. You cannot assign tasks to someone just because they are part of your Asana organization.

As you’re messaging back and forth with teammates in Slack, you may reach a conclusion together or realize you need to add a task. Adding the task within Slack so that it shows up in Asana is easy. Just change the following information in brackets and hit enter:

/asana add [task title] to [project] @[assignee]

If you don’t want to add a task to a specific project, or if you want to assign it to yourself by default, you can leave off that part of the command.

So for example, if I typed:

/asana add Sales Call to Marketing

Then the result would be a new task called “Sales Call” within the “Marketing” project assigned to me. The result in Slack will look like this:

Slack Result

How do you use Slack and Asana together? What benefits have you experienced in using Slack in addition to Asana?

Start typing and press Enter to search