Many innovative brands like Square, GitHub, ClassPass, and Asana have something in common: They do design work in Figma, the first professional-grade UI design tool built entirely in the browser. Figma’s mission is to make design accessible to all. As a product manager and early Figma employee, Badrul Farooqi’s role is to make sure the product and engineering teams are building the right things at the right time—and to coordinate successful launches with go-to-market teams, like sales and marketing.
The company today has over 1 million signups, $82 million in funding, and more than 100 employees, but when Badrul joined, the company looked very different. The team was small and Figma had yet to launch publicly. At the time, they were using JIRA to manage product development, but it was too complex for their workflows and created management overhead as the team and product grew. The teams needed an easy-to-use platform that would scale up and carry them through their public launch and beyond.
“My role as a PM involves a lot of alignment, a lot of communication, and a lot of connecting groups of people to make sure they have what they need to make each other successful. We needed a lightweight tool that could scale with us for a while.”
Badrul wanted to find a flexible and straightforward tool that could manage product and engineering backlogs. But the bigger picture was also crucial. He needed to connect cross-functional teams across the company during large launches when all hands were on deck. This would provide organizational transparency and build accountability through clear plans, responsibilities, and deadlines.
Badrul first tested Asana with just one team, to confirm that it was easier to use than their existing system. He then migrated the entire product and engineering teams’ work from JIRA to Asana, and shared light trainings and documentation with the team to preview the tool. Because of Asana’s flexibility, different teams could use it in the way that best fit their specific needs and workflows.
“Asana is our execution engine: do this, build this, test this, update these docs. One of the nicest parts is that one team’s workflow doesn’t have to match another team’s.”
Visibility is baked into all product and engineering work through Asana. When Figma develops a new feature, they create a product spec document, and the moment the team aligns on it, it’s transferred to an Asana project. To make this faster, they use a project template that includes the typical steps and milestones for the product manager, designer, and engineers involved.
The project board becomes the new source of truth. The tasks and timelines keep everyone aligned and accountable because everyone can see who’s working on what. For broader launches, cross-functional teams also manage tasks and due dates in Asana, and they attach files to capture strategy and other details.
“Asana builds trust within and between teams. We know when things are due and who’s going to deliver them, and we hold each other accountable. That trust is critical to a team’s success.”
As work progresses, Asana becomes a detailed record of action and discussion, which provides a historical artifact for the organization and anyone who needs to understand why a decision was made. This speeds up employee onboarding, helps transition teammates to new roles, and even shortens meetings.
The product and engineering teams have been able to cut down their stand-up meeting time by 50%, saving an hour or two every week, because they no longer need to share status updates about what they’re working on—it’s all in Asana. Instead, the whole meeting is spent solving difficult problems together.
“Onboarding new employees is a breeze. People moving between teams is no issue whatsoever. And because communication is centralized, it saves us a ton of overhead.”
What’s next for Figma? They’ll be moving forward on their vision to make design accessible to more people—who aren’t necessarily professional designers—and help them bring their creativity to life. All the products, features, and resources to make that possible will be managed in Asana. As Figma reaches these new markets, they’ll have a new wave of growth but Asana will be right there scaling up with them.
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