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How Asana uses work management for smoother creative production

Alicia Raeburn contributor headshotAlicia Raeburn
March 12th, 2024
4 min read
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For Tara Vajra, Head of Creative Operations at Asana, creative production is a tight balancing act. Her role requires her to constantly measure existing resources against new requests and larger marketing goals. This is especially tricky at a global company, where she needs to produce assets that work across cultures and partner with stakeholders who live around the world.

"We’re tasked with figuring out how to efficiently scope work, triage requests, and fit ad-hoc tasks in between our large-scale projects," says Vajra. "And as a global team, we need to make things that resonate in different regions and align to marketing strategies. It’s such a delicate balance, and finding that harmony can be the most challenging part.”

Despite those challenges, Vajra and her team have crafted a method to streamline their operations, ensuring projects are as impactful as they are creative. Learn how Asana turns the multifaceted nature of creative work into a streamlined, cohesive journey.

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The challenges of creative production

Creative production is inherently complex, requiring teams to coordinate resources, manage stakeholder inputs, and deliver compelling content that resonates across global audiences.

To do this, you need to stay aligned with overarching marketing strategies, while also navigating disjointed communication across different tools. Coordinating between internal teams and external partners can quickly become a logistical nightmare, fraught with miscommunications and delays. And to top it all off, you need to maintain a consistent brand voice and aesthetic across a variety of creative assets.

This is an overwhelming list of pitfalls to navigate—if you don’t have the right support. But it’s also a perfect example of how software like Asana, loaded with automations and AI features, can remove the drudgery of daily tasks.

Morgan Keys, Art Director at Asana, describes the painful process she used to go through before she came to Asana.

“In my prior experience, every person had a different, disconnected system for project management,” Keys explains. “A creative producer might keep a spreadsheet to track a project’s progress. Then as a designer, I had a to-do list in my personal notes app and kept certain emails unread to remember important action items. It was so disconnected and disorganized, I’m amazed we got anything done.”

6 ways Asana streamlines creative production

1. Automated intake requests with forms

For many enterprise companies, teams submit new creative requests through email, in meetings, or via other disconnected tools. This is a headache at best. At worst, it can drag out production, costing more money and wasting your talented creative team’s time.

At Asana, the brand creative team uses a custom-built form to gather requests. This helps them collect every piece of information they need upfront, including:

  • What kind of creative support they need

  • The due date

  • The target audience

  • The project scope

  • A list of stakeholders and their responsibilities via a RACI

  • Design specifications

Any time someone submits a response to this form, it automatically funnels into an Asana project where the team can review requests, prioritize, and assign resources.

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2. Customizable project templates

When she’s ready to launch a new initiative, Vajra will create a new Asana project to kick off the work. But she doesn’t have to start from scratch. Instead, she uses a pre-built project template where she can dictate how information is labeled and stored.

Templates for common project types streamline setup and kick off, allowing teams to dive straight into the creative process. For example, she uses labels (what Asana calls custom fields) to show the project status, who’s assigned to the work, and which global marketing initiative the work aligns to. This helps stakeholders quickly understand how work is progressing and by who.

By incorporating custom fields into their templates, they can structure and organize the intake of crucial project details, ensuring nothing is overlooked. 

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3. Collaboration across internal and external teams

Larger organizations often rely on external agencies to outsource some of their creative work. But working with others outside the company network has its challenges. For one, how do you keep information secure? And for another, using email threads or other traditional communication platforms is time-consuming and inefficient.

But with Asana, everything from communication to the actual work can be done securely in one space. By adding their external partners as guests to their workspace, the creative team at Asana can work with them via dedicated projects. These serve as centralized collaboration spaces where internal teams and external agencies can seamlessly interact, share feedback, and monitor dependencies, ensuring projects remain on track and within budget.

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We have our process integrated with our overflow agencies, so if we determine that they’re going to work on a specific project we can kick off directly in Asana without having to do a massive hand off through other tools.”
Tara Vajra, Head of Creative Operations, Asana

4. Automated workflows

Leveraging Asana's powerful automation tools, Vajra and team have significantly reduced the time they spend on repetitive tasks. From auto-assigning tasks based on project type to streamlining approvals, automation frees the team to outsource repetitive tasks and give themselves more space for their creativity to shine.

For example, in Asana they can create a much simpler review process by designing a workflow that automatically sets due dates, assigns review tasks, and alerts managers when they need to step in. Coupled with their approval workflows, this ensures projects move forward swiftly and accurately.

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5. One central source of truth

Asana’s integrations with creative tools like Figma, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Google Suite make it a powerhouse for creative teams looking to centralize their workflows and communications.

Instead of sending over documents to each individual stakeholder in separate threads, they can attach any assets directly to an Asana task. This way stakeholders have instant access and can provide feedback within the platform. 

Integrations with leading design tools and cloud storage solutions allows Asana to serve as a single source of truth for all creative assets, facilitating easy access and ensuring brand consistency across all materials.

6. Resource management

Trying to determine the exact resources you need for creative projects is a tricky balancing act. Who has the bandwidth, and when are they free? Do we need external tools and agencies, and how much do those cost?

Trying to keep track of this in a static tool like a spreadsheet means you’re stuck manually updating and consistently sharing out those updates with your working partners. The creative team at Asana saves countless hours and headaches by using Asana's workload and portfolio features. This gives them a bird's-eye view of ongoing and upcoming projects, enabling effective distribution of creative talent and resources where it's needed most.

When a new request comes in, the creative team simply needs to review their workload dashboards in Asana. They can quickly see who’s working on what, now and in the future, and identify who might be free to take on additional tasks. Likewise, they can use a budget project to determine what funds they have to allocate to new work, and prioritize accordingly.

Creative production, reimagined

Navigating the complexities of creative production, especially on a global scale, requires not just talent and vision but also the right tools to streamline processes and enhance collaboration. 

Tara Vajra and her team at Asana exemplify how integrating smart, adaptable software like Asana into creative operations can transform potential chaos into a well-orchestrated symphony of productivity. 

By automating mundane tasks, facilitating seamless communication across borders, and maintaining a unified source of truth, Asana empowers creative teams to focus on what they do best: producing innovative and impactful creative assets. 

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