Asana's Culture Code


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Asana is a group of peers on a bold mission: to help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.

Learn more about Asana's culture:
-How shared core values impact decision making and culture
-How we hire extraordinary people
-How we stay healthy & happy in the office
-How we get things done through Episodes, special weeks, hackathons, and using our product.

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Published in: Business, Health & Medicine
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Asana's Culture Code

  2. ON A MISSION MISSION STATEMENT We‘ve set out to do great things. Our mission statement is clearly defined, so everyone at Asana is aligned towards the same ultimate goal. To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly. Image: Nyaya Health uses Asana to help improve healthcare in rural Nepal.
  3. ON A MISSION SHARED VALUES Clearly-defined values drive our culture and decision making: • • • • • • • • • Reason balanced with intuition Mindfulness Balance Honesty & transparency Willful intention without attachment to results Action in the face of fear Leverage Pragmatic craftsmanship Equanimity (Chillness) • Being a mensch • Company as collective of peers • Investing in ourselves & each other • Admitting when you‘re wrong • Fixing problems, even if they‘re not yours • Trust wisdom over rules & incentives
  4. ON A MISSION WITH LOVE Adding a to a task in the product shows gratitude or support. In the office, we treat everyone as a peer, with kindness, love, and respect.
  5. ON A MISSION INSPIRED BY ASANA USERS Our users‘ missions inspire us to continue improving Asana and motivate us to achieve our own mission. Images: Customers Baggu, Mission Bikes, & Emerald Therapeutics
  6. WE‘RE A GROUP OF PEERS Asana is a collective of peers. We hire extraordinary people who share our values and believe in our mission.
  7. A GROUP OF PEERS EXPERIENTIAL RECRUITING We use an unconventional approach to recruiting. Instead of hiring quickly, we take our time to find people who are among the best in the world at what they do or who have the potential to grow into the best. We follow 4 principles for building a world-class team: 1 Get to know the whole person 2 Communicate company values 3 Meet people now who you might want to hire later 4 The best people want to work with the best people ―How we hire‖ on the Asana Blog:
  8. A GROUP OF PEERS GOLDILOCKS MANAGEMENT Too much management blocks creativity and the ability of teammates to reach their potential, while a completely ―flat‖ structure keeps people from growing as much as they could. A balanced, ―just right‖ approach gives people the freedom they need to contribute at their full potential, while also providing the support that helps them grow to become even more capable. Dustin Moskovitz ―Goldilocks Management‖ on Medium
  9. A GROUP OF PEERS AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY ―AORs‖ Instead of having all decisions flow through management, we distribute responsibility as evenly as possible. Everyone at Asana has clearly defined AORs, for which they are the ultimate decision maker.
  10. A GROUP OF PEERS SHARED EXPERIENCES Off-sites, learning lunches, company trips, soccer games, shared meals, birthday celebrations, and office rituals build camaraderie and help us remain a tightly knit team as we grow.
  11. WE‘RE HEALTHY & HAPPY We believe people operate at their best when they are focused and at ease. Our culture and environment are designed to enrich our mental, physical, and professional selves.
  12. H E A LT H Y & H A P P Y BALANCE THROUGH YOGA ―Asana‖ is the Sanskrit word for ―yoga pose.‖ We believe in embracing the inhale and the exhale of the work day. So, we have yoga sessions in the office. Note: This is not an actual Asana yoga session. but a scene from a Hackathon video. For more on Hackathons, see slide 23. Fast Company: ―Stop Obsessing About Productivity— Why Asana Embraces Mindfulness as a Business Model‖
  13. H E A LT H Y & H A P P Y HEALTHY FOOD, HEALTHY MIND Instagram @asanaculinary Good food gives us energy, and good conversations bring us together. Our culinary team serves three meals a day made from local, organic, and ethically raised ingredients. Forbes: ―Tech Bites: Asana – Food Focused on Productivity & Health‖
  14. H E A LT H Y & H A P P Y A SPACE WE LOVE Asana‘s office is conveniently located in San Francisco‘s sunny Mission District, with sweeping views, comfortable lounge space, and even a grand piano. Instagram #asanasunsets
  15. H E A LT H Y & H A P P Y BENEFITS KEEP US AT OUR BEST In addition to healthy food, yoga, events, and our beautiful SF space, we offer other perks to ensure Asanas contribute at their best. • Up to $10K for our desk setup. • Executive & life coaching to develop and hone our skills. • TaskRabbit & Uber credits monthly to make activities outside of work easier.
  16. WE GET THINGS DONE As a company, we‘re devoted to improving teamwork, so it should come as no surprise that we‘ve set up a structure that enables us to prioritize, get things done, and do great things.
  17. GET THINGS DONE EPISODE BY EPISODE We organize our company calendar into ―Episodes.‖ Approaching our work in focused periods of time helps us prioritize, keeps us accountable, and ensures we‘re always moving forward. • We plan and define goals before the start of each episode during Roadmap Week. • Every team sets goals for each Episode called Key Results. • Each Episode has two special weeks: Polish Week and Grease Week. Quora: “How are Sprints & Episodes Structured‖
  18. GET THINGS DONE ACHIEVING KEY RESULTS or ―KRs‖ We give equal attention to our mission and the small steps that will get us there. Each day, we focus on putting one foot in front of the other, but never forget that we’re shooting for the moon. • We set goals, called KRs, at the beginning of every episode, and use Asana to track our progress. • At the end of each episode, we share a summary of our work with the community, which aligns with our value of transparency and holds us accountable to our users. ―End of Episode 8 Summary‖ on the Asana Blog
  19. GET THINGS DONE SETTING MILESTONES In addition to setting KRs for the entire episode, we set milestones to maintain momentum along the way. • We commit to achieving a goal by a due date. • Milestones are tracked in Asana and visible to everyone.
  20. GET THINGS DONE 5 WHYS FOR IMPROVEMENT We treat ―failures‖ as opportunities for growth. • When things don‘t go according to plan, we run a ―5 whys‖ exercise. • For example, if we miss a deadline, we ask: Why did we miss the deadline? We underestimated the time it would take. Why? We didn‘t have the right tools set up. Why? etc. • By the time you get to your ―fifth why,‖ you get to the root of the problem. • Then, you can better avoid the same issues in the future.
  21. GET THINGS DONE POLISH WEEK Building a well-designed product requires pragmatic craftsmanship, which is one of our values. • Every episode we take a week away from our normal schedule to make user-facing improvements. • Polish Week is also a fun time in the Asana office: We dress up, eat Polish food, and even paint our nails and faces. ―Episode 8 Polish Week‖ on the Asana Blog
  22. GET THINGS DONE GREASE WEEK • Grease Week is Polish Week‘s counterpart. • During Grease Week, we make internal improvements, like fine tuning our processes and updating tools. • We don‘t add any new features during Grease Week, but the work we accomplish is vital to our ability to ship features efficiently in the future.
  23. GET THINGS DONE HACKATHONS Hackathons give us time to do the things we don‘t normally do, learn something new, or do something totally outside our comfort zones. There are only a few rules for Asana Hackathons: 1 Hackathons are held once per Episode. 2 Everyone participates, even non-technical teammates. 3 Have fun. Get creative. Challenge yourself. 4 Ship it & show it at Hackathon demos. ―Thankshacking‖ on the Asana Blog
  24. GET THINGS DONE NO MEETING WEDNESDAYS • We really don‘t have meetings on Wednesdays. It sounds simple, but requires discipline. • The goal of NMW is to ensure that everyone gets a large block of time each week to do focused work. • Free from interruptions, we complete more tasks and have more time to focus on what needs to get done. Wednesday 1/15 Business Insider: ―Why Every Office Should Try ‗No Meeting Wednesdays‘‖
  25. GET THINGS DONE TEAMWORK WITHOUT EMAIL, IN PRACTICE We‘ve eliminated the vast majority of internal emails. Instead, we keep work & conversations together in Asana. Here‘s how we do it: 01 02 03 About to write an email? Write a task comment instead. Need to ask a question or get an updated file? Create a task. Have a team announcement? Use the shared Asana project.
  26. GET THINGS DONE WE USE ASANA AT ASANA Asana is more than a product, it‘s a way to work together. Every time we improve our product, we improve our own ability to work together, and get one step closer to achieving our mission.
  27. DO GREAT THINGS. For more information on our culture and team visit To change the way your team works together, sign up at