Case-study: How Azur Games develops world-level games with Asana

About Azur Games 

Azur Games is an international mobile game developer and publisher. The company’s portfolio has 100+  launched free-to-play projects in various settings. More than 20 mln users play Azur Games daily, while by downloads the company is one of the world top-10 mobile game publishers.  

Having tried Asana for its project management, Azur Games turned into a true Asana-champion: all the teams from developers to accountants successfully work with the task-tracker. It means that there is a single source of truth in the company, tasks are no longer lost in messengers and emails, while efficient intercommunication of different departments no longer requires any extra tools.  

At one time we had a conversation with our colleagues from Azur Games. Sergey Kuznetsov, Head of IT and Procurement, described the process of Asana implementation and shared their first impressions of working in the task-tracker.

This year we decided to revise the game developer’s case to learn more about their approach in building different processes with Asana, its most useful functions, as well as about the company’s philosophy in using the software. We went into details with Lyudmila Chernyshova, Azur Games Process Manager.

How new employees get started with Asana 

One of the major elements of new hires onboarding at Azur Games is Asana demonstration. Generally, one welcome-meeting is enough for ordinary employees to master the software major functions, because the tool is intuitive and easy to get started with. Yet, all additional questions can be easily addressed to Lyudmila.

Project managers and team leads onboarding usually takes more than a single meeting. In this case, Lyudmila assists to fine tune the processes. For instance, if a person previously worked with another project management tool and got used to its specific system, Lyudmila could help to implement this vision in Asana. 

Besides training with a mentor, each employee can independently familiarize oneself with Asana manuals. They became available at Azur Games a little later, but have turned into a crucial complement to the newcomers’ onboarding process. For example, there are instructions on how to create a technical task for the art-team, on how to forward a vacation request to the HR-department, as well as on how to formulate a request to motion designers and so on.

Requests management  

Departments whose work requires strict technical tasks now spend much less time on requests with Asana. This process has been automated in the two following ways.

The former – with the help of projects and tasks templates. For instance, a higher-level task with numerous subtasks within is created from a template. These subtasks are automatically distributed among different projects: artists, screenwriters, production staff. There is no need to spend time on manual tasks assignment. 

The latter – work requests submission via forms. Thanks to the forms branching, employees save time filling out only those fields that are relevant to the task. 

Project templates
Forms

Process automation

Most Azur Games teams work in sprints. Generally, they organize tasks in the form of a kanban board with three sections: “New requests”, “In progress” and “Completed”. Asana rules help to properly configure shifting between sections, projects and assignees in order to save resources.

Automation is also used for integrations. For example, teams have customized automated messaging on new tasks, comments and deadlines from Asana to Slack. 

If a company needs some specific automation rules, unavailable in the original version of the product, individual scripts can be written. Thus, Azur Games ordered a personalized development from Swedbyte. Our teammates have developed software for employees’ activity tracking in Asana. 

Adding automations to repeating operations

Analytics and reporting

Analytics is usually handled by project managers and department leads. Generally, they need data on a particular user’s performance: tasks completed, requests in progress, assignments planned for the coming week. Asana offers advanced tasks search for this purpose. It allows the user to filter tasks by a number of parameters specified – from the task’s start and due dates to its level. This data can be exported as a CSV-file in order to build charts in Instagantt later, e.g.

What is more, analytical charts can be built right in Asana.  You need to switch to the “Reporting” menu tab in a sidebar.  This function allows users to compile reports on tasks and create charts based on project metadata. 

One of many ways to build a report in Asana

Integrations

Azur Games tend to work fully in Asana. Teams integrate Asana with other platforms to ensure specialists the access to all the needed tools within a single space without any distraction.  Slack, Google Workspace, Flowsana and other integrations have already been configured for the company. Lyudmila told us a little more about some of them.

Asana and Google Workspace integration is used by all the Azur Games team members, but it is especially useful for video production. All video content is stored on Google Drive. The Google Drive file selection function is built into the Asana task-bar. 

With its help employees can easily attach “My Drive” video-files straight to the tasks, saving time that colleagues spend on finding needed materials. Employees also leave comments and edits in the task tracker.  

We mentioned above Asana-Instagantt integration to build complex charts.  According to Lyudmila’s observations, these tools’ synchronization is very fast and seamless. Team members are particularly happy that changes to analytics can be made in both, Asana and Instagantt, accounts with no data loss. 

Some teams integrated Asana with time-tracking tools as Everhour, for instance. Azur Games has no time-tracking and employees efficiency is assessed by tasks completed. Therefore, time-tracking tools are needed generally at the stage of a new team building. Further on, colleagues refuse this integration as they get used to properly plan and allocate resources. Moreover, Asana inbuilt fields to specify when the work has started and has been completed are usually enough for most of the teams. This information is used to make a timeline showing employee’s occupation in the certain time-periods, the most time-consuming and complex tasks. 

Connect to your teams favourite apps

Philosophy

Azur Games major principle – all work is done in Asana: from project management to routine tasks discussions. Lyudmila stresses that it should be necessarily conveyed to the newcomers. From the very first day at the company they have to get used to fix all their steps in the task-tracker.

Such an approach lets management easily track the entire department progress, what is particularly important for large teams with high workloads. What is more, Asana allows you to see certain employees’ growth and development. For example, the decreased number of edits and comments from colleagues that a team member receives is reflected in Asana analytics. Changes in tasks complexity and completion time can also be analyzed – all in a single place. 

Lyudmila points out that Asana flexibility is one of its major advantages. All departments can tailor the work to their comfort and convenience. In particular, artists prefer working with large tasks, while other departments tend to divide a big one into several smaller sub-tasks and work within such a structure. 

At the same time, if the vision of major working processes is neither clearly articulated, nor properly conveyed to the company’s staff, its managers will have difficulties tracking the activities of different teams. That is why Azur Games pays that much attention to Asana in the new hires onboarding. 

Today Azur Games is represented by more than 800 professionals working remotely and in-office in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Miass, Minsk, Dubai and Larnaka. For international distributed teams it is crucially important to have a common space for inter-team cooperation. With Asana Azur Games achieves high-level consistency and easily adapts to any business challenge.

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