I love post it notes. Post it notes for my ‘to dos’, my ‘not to be forgottens’ and my ‘remember to take your milk out of the work fridge’. Imagine my joy when I was introduced to Trello when I started at Blend.
Based on the three-stack structure inspired by Japanese Kanban boards, Trello’s organisational structure provides a visual representation of tasks, which is perfect for those who think visually.
At Blend, we use Trello to manage our client projects, studio workflows, and more recently, as aid to collaborative content collection for client blogs. With regards to project management we need to be realistic, no project management tool will solve all of your organisational issues overnight. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You will require buy-in from the whole team, and the tool will not do the work for you. However Trello can, if utilised the right way, help to streamline your processes and provide you with an overview of workloads and distribution of tasks in one view.
Trello uses a structure of boards, lists and cards.
A board is typically assigned to a client, a major project, or a series of projects for one particular client. At Blend we use our main ‘Blend projects’ board to capture and manage all of our clients projects. As a result our main projects board is continually being worked on and updated.
A list is a way to divide a board into different categories. At Blend we’ve set-up a list for each client. But typically a list could represent a stage of progress such as ‘to do’, ‘in progress’ or ‘complete’ if your board had been set-up for just one project.
A cards are like digital sticky notes that are searchable, shareable, have reminders and deadlines. Cards can be moved up and down your lists as they progress or become more urgent. At Blend we use our cards as projects notices. Each card can contain one or several team members and can contain several checklists and milestones. Cards can be given color coding, you can add comments or add attachments.
5 tips for using Trello effectively
1. Spend time setting-up your work structure.
Define the right way to work for you and your team. Consider what kind of workflows you need for your team, how many team members will be required and what type of project tasks you will be required to track. If you fail to execute this process effectively in the beginning, then your team may spend more time managing Trello, than progressing with the task in hand.
2. Agree and define your signaling processes.
Establish your label colours and preferred communication channels in order to collaboratively update projects. Once you have defined how your organisation is going to use Trello, communicate this succinctly to the entire team.
3. Spend a little time every day on housekeeping.
Update the cards that have been assigned to you on a daily basis. Alternatively, if you are the person responsible for generating cards, spend a few moments to check on what progress has been made, review team queries or resolve any roadblocks that may have developed.
4. Ensure your cards are self-explanatory.
Cards should contain a well-defined task requirement with specific milestones to meet. Your team members need to easily read their task, access any supporting information and cross the task off of their list within the defined amount of time – with as little intervention from you as possible.
5. Maintain regular face-to-face team catch-ups.
Mondays are Trello days at Blend. Even though Trello is doing a splendid job of keeping us, and our projects ticking along nicely, we’d be lost without a little facetime. It’s just an hour out of every week where we run through every card, on every list, for every client. Invaluable for eradicating any problems or concerns that aren’t very well articulated in writing.
Depending on what works best for you and your team, Trello is a great visual project management tool can help shape your workflow, communicate deadlines and aid your teams collaborative creativity.