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How the Skillshare team is changing online learning with Asana

Kasey Fleisher Hickey

April 14th, 2015

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Everyone at Skillshare is passionate about learning so it’s no surprise that a company so driven by the desire to institute real change would take a fresh approach to working efficiently, too. Abigail Besdin was introduced to Asana on her first day of work. In fact, everyone on the team is assigned a task within their first 24 hours. From onboarding new team members to meeting agendas and major company initiatives, Skillshare relies on Asana to help their nimble team change the face of online learning, class by class.

Asana and Skillshare, in Abigail’s words

Prior to founding Skillshare, our CEO collaborated with Scott Belsky (founder of Behance) on a productivity book for creatives. Michael did a lot of research for the book and came away from the process enlightened about productivity and efficiency. When he started Skillshare, he already had a sense for how he’d run his company: a place that would allow employees to design systems that wouldn’t feel like a burden and would help unlock creativity rather than blocking it.

We’re a very small team (less than 25 people) but we do a lot and the only way we make that happen is through efficiency. We know that if our foundation isn’t efficient, we’ll never get the amount of work done to move at the speed we want to work at. The only way it happens is with Asana.

We have a number of teachers tell us they quit their jobs to teach exclusively on Skillshare.


How the Skillshare team is changing online learning with Asana

5 ways we use Asana at Skillshare

Asana is the pulse of our company; I can’t imagine how’d we ever do all we do without it.

1. Our marketing calendar

Our entire marketing calendar is in Asana and we would be totally lost if we didn’t use it. Every major campaign, email, and initiative has a due date and is housed in this project so that anyone can look at the Calendar View and know what’s happening, when.

2. Our email marketing schedule

We send curated emails with classes every week. One person manages all our email marketing but different teams will add classes for consideration as subtasks to each week’s email. This way, our email marketer can just click on Calendar View for the week he’s working on and see all the suggested classes, descriptions, and photos. This makes it easy for him to pull together an email — all the information he needs is attached to one task.

3. Our big initiatives

We call strategic projects we’re working on ‘bets’ and these usually have a project associated with them. Every person that touches this project can put their own ‘sub-projects’ as tasks in this project. Bets vary: we have a bets around growth, engagement, and community. By structuring our work this way, we can see that everything is moving along, and can also track personal progress alongside team progress.

4. Running meetings

We try to never have meetings but when we do, our goal is to always accomplish one thing. We create an agenda in Asana and update action steps. Every meeting has a ‘rock’ — a key strategic topic we’re discussing. We always ask: is everything moving along? How is everyone doing? What’s the big strategic question we want to have a hypothesis for by the end of this meeting? Having everything centralized in Asana makes things run smoothly.

5. Gut checks

As a team, we’re always self-editing and running our processes in Asana helps us do so because we can always look back at our tasks and the decisions that were made. We are always rethinking our processes and evaluating whether they continue to make sense. For example, if meetings become too heavy or outdated, we ask ourselves, should we still be doing this?

Sometimes I wonder: what don’t we use Asana for?

Read about the unique ways Skillshare helps employees grow and maintains a culture of lifelong learning on the Workstyle section of our blog.

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