AsyncGo Basics

Welcome! AsyncGo is a collaboration tool meant to help reduce the number of meetings and chat interruptions your team is experiencing, and to help improve the flow around what conversations are happening and what decisions your team is making.

The way we help is by moving most of these conversations into an online, written format, collected in an index of ongoing topics, and which will help you achieve a few key things:

Read on to learn more about what it means to work async, and what it’s like to use AsyncGo. We also have a public employee handbook which contains information about our mission, values, and how we operate.

There are documentation sections for Basics, Onboarding, Roadmap, Topics, Teams, User Settings, Integrations, Templates, and Markdown.

On this page you can find:

What is Async

Async is a style of working where, instead of scheduling or expecting real-time response, you collaborate via a shared document and question and response cycles aren’t expected to be immediate.

It brings a number of benefits:

It’s also important to realize that async is not limited to remote teams - even teams that are colocated and work together in an office can benefit from fewer meetings and more focus time.

Kinds of collaboration that can be done async

Remote work expert Tammy Bjellend describes the kinds of communication that can be done async in this tweet, in order from easiest to hardest:

  1. Informing: Sharing information and updates
  2. Collaboration: Completing a predetermined task
  3. Creativity: Generating new ideas
  4. Decision making: Influencing, gaining consensus, and taking action
  5. Innovation: Turning a new concept into reality
  6. Connecting: Building social capital and deepening relationships

She goes on to say, “When we talk about async in remote, it’s not about ONLY async ALL the time. It’s about striking a better balance between sync/async to allow team members and teams to manage their time, attention, energy. Remote and hybrid teams looking to improve that async/sync balance generally start with the lower order communication purposes. Unfortunately, many stop at #2, and continue to rely on office-based practices for decision making, connections, and innovating.”

A lot of teams are doing 1 or 2, but growing into 3 or 4 is difficult. That’s exactly what AsyncGo is here to help you with.

Resources

Here are some other great resources to learn more about async work:

What is it like to use AsyncGo

AsyncGo fits in neatly between the other applications you use today. It doesn’t replace Zoom, Slack, Jira, or Google Docs, and so doesn’t require you to go through yet another tools migration, but it provides a better place for conversations to happen that can be sourced from or result in an outcome involving any of them.

Imagine you’re having a conversation with a conversation with a colleague in Slack, and you realize that you need to have a deeper conversation, and perhaps want to involve others who aren’t there then, about what you’re going to focus on in your next marketing campaign. In the past you might have spun up a meeting right away, but schedules are always difficult, and in this case there’s a better way.

Instead of creating a meeting, you create a topic in AsyncGo and invite everyone to participate. You set a due date so everyone knows when the conversation needs to wrap up, and then over the next day or two the conversation flows. Because AsyncGo provided templates for your agenda and your outcome, the discussion is super focused, and everyone understands what the goal you’re working towards is. The built-in facilitation tools help keep the conversation on track as well.

Since the topic list is public, others might see you’re having this conversation and might jump in with their own contributions. Or, they may just follow along since once you make a decision, it’s relevant to their own planning.

Team members who are traveling, had something come up that afternoon, or are in different time zones have no trouble participating, and even colleagues who aren’t comfortable speaking up in live meetings have a chance to think and write down their thoughts.

As you near the due date, the team has been collaborating on a clear outcome. A few team members recorded videos to share with each other, and there was even a few people who got together in real time to bounce ideas off each other, but all that context made it back to the issue so nobody missed out.

In the end you have a clear, documented outcome that can be easily found and referred to by anyone on the team, and any action items that came out of the discussion are neatly summarized in the topic. If someone wants to read through the discussion as it happened, it’s always there for reference.

Congratulations - your team is more inclusive, delivers better outcomes, and can do it with no (or at least many fewer) meetings. All that time won back can be used for coffee chats and human connection that isn’t directly oriented around making a decision or achieving some shared goal.

Overview of AsyncGo

Key Concepts

AsyncGo was designed for asynchronous work, which can be different to adjust to if you’re used to interrupt-driven, realtime work, but once you’re used to it it’s quite easy. There are just a few key concepts to understand to get started:

Timeboxing

We recommend setting a due date on nearly every item. Setting a due date helps your team members know when they need to reply by. Most users work down the topic list from the ones coming due most soon to the furthest out, in order to make sure they have a chance to contribute to the topics they are interested in.

This lets everyone manage their own time to decide what they want to focus on at any given point, while having the confidence that they won’t miss out.

Note that due dates are at the end of the chosen day. If you want something to be due at end of day Monday, then you should choose Monday as the date. If, instead, you want it to be due at midnight on Sunday, you should choose Sunday instead.

Due Dates

Clear Communication

Because you aren’t meeting as a team and kicking things off with a general Q&A session, at least via the app, it’s important to write a very clear description that sets the table for the problem at hand. Include links to relevant documentation, sources, and issues, and in general try to not assume any context from the reader. This will also help you later when the topic is reviewed to see how a decision was made.

You can also apply some initial structure to the outcome, indicating the format of what you’re looking for in the end. That can also help focus the team and ensure they understand what you are asking for.

If you are the kind of person who likes to lay things out with spoken words, you can always record audio or video and embed it into the description, outcome, or a comment. Note that embedded videos are not auto-transcribed, so are not searchable.

Slower-Paced Notifications

The primary way to be notified about what’s going on in AsyncGo is via digest notifications. These are meant to be reviewed a couple of times per day, at your convenience, and highlight what’s new since your last visit, as well as any items that are coming due soon.

In this way you aren’t constantly being interrupted to respond to the latest reply in a conversation thread, like you might be in a regular chat application. Also, since your collaborators aren’t expecting immediate replies, it helps everyone be in the right mindset.

This may feel like you’re slowing down overall, but it just isn’t the case. By working on several topics simultaneously, rather than serially as you would in meetings, you actually get more done. While it’s true that any individual item may take slightly longer, the overall productivity is much higher. In any case, if something is urgent and needed right away, it’s always possible to reach out to the person directly.. but this should be saved for real urgent situations, because whenever you do this you’re impacting the team’s async flow.

Notifications

Keyboard shorcuts

AsyncGo comes with several keyboard shortcuts to make it easy to use.

From anywhere

Topic index page

Topic page