Let's face it: no project management tool will magically solve all your team's organizational problems. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but some services, if employed correctly, can cut through your inner chaos, help streamline processes, and provide an urgently needed overview of workloads and task distribution. One such solution is Trello; our team has been working with it for quite some time. So, in this article, we wanted to provide insights into how to get the most out of Trello for your business, be it a larger software company, small developer team, or startup.
Introduction to Trello
Trello is a project or task management tool with cards and columns. Much like a Kanban view, this organizational principle visually represents tasks. The columns can be managed, and the cards can be moved around or re-ordered. One or several team members can be assigned to a card (simple or complex cards are available). For the latter, users can add checklists with milestones or To-Dos or enhance the cards with color coding, comments, team members' mentions, and attachments. Trello is a highly versatile organizational tool that can be very effective if used consistently, and the following tips can assist with that.
Five ways to get the most out of Trello
1. Better focus on set up than fixing
You cannot outsource the thinking process to a project management tool, so carefully consider what kind of workflows you have in your team, how many team members will be using Trello, and which types of project areas you have that need to be reflected virtually in one or several Trello boards. If you do not clarify this initially, Trello will not help you manage your team, and your team will be occupied with managing itself in Trello.
Here are some thoughts to help you set it up: Which kinds of columns help you organize your work? Does each team member need one (say, "Joe's tasks, "Jill's tasks," and "Tasks to be discussed"), or would you rather use a column for a specific step in the process (such as "unassigned," "in the pipeline," "in progress" and "done")? Maybe giving different aspects of your product their columns makes more sense. No general approach fits all teams, and you need to be aware of this. The tool should help you get your work done better and organized.
Practical aspects: Don't use too many columns. Otherwise, you will scroll horizontally without end, and the idea of a general overview will be lost immediately. Also, don't overload columns. If you need to scroll several screens down - there must be something wrong with your board's setup.
Pro tip: Agree on colors to signal certain product aspects or company areas. Managing a huge enterprise? Use various boards, say one for marketing, one for office administration, one for legal, and so on.
2. One man, one card
The important thing in project management is that tasks can't simultaneously be assigned to a few people. Of course, when the big task is divided between a few people, it is real. Still, there should always be a person responsible for tasks done, who makes a report, etc. It makes no sense to include several people in cards, as this defeats the purpose of the Kanban view.
Adding several people to a card will make sense in the following scenario: the card contains one or several checklists, and some items rely on others, so they are included in the card for information.
**Here is a simple example: A card called "Implement special offer graphic on landing page" will include a 2-item checklist: one is "Jeff: Provide Portuguese ALT texts for Dave" and "Dave: Implement graphics and ALT texts for English and Portuguese, do a frontend test."
This card can have Jeff and Dave assigned, but once Jeff sends the Portuguese HTML ALT texts to Dave or posts them in the card, Jeff is free to go and will remove himself from the card. Jeff might have even mentioned Dave in a comment within the card and let him know that he's done with his part of the task. Dave can take over and implement the whole thing, and the job is done.
3. Focus and granularity
As we said in the first point, you need to think hard about setting up your Trello board, and one essential part of that is to ensure you put what you put into your cards. The most significant mistake is having cards with no actual tasks, so they will never be moved or ready to be worked on.
The task should be clear and well-described. The control question is: Can someone do the task without further discussion in the defined amount of time?
For instance, a card titled "Release new landing page" is wrong. No one person will probably release a new landing page, as several people are involved. So, this is not a task but a project or bundle of tasks.
To correct this process, you can create a list of cards like: "Delivery: Graphics for new LP" and "Delivery: Content for new LP" and assign them to the designer and writer. There could be some checklists with subtasks - "talk to frontend lead about requirements," "present drafts for feedback," etc. Once all the content is delivered to whoever implements it, these cards are DONE and will be moved or archived.
Depending on the complexity of your projects, you can create more or less granular in your Trello card definitions. Try to divide the tasks and avoid checklists that will lead to a slippery slope into overloaded cards. The best part of work motivation is to be able to cross things off your list, so make things cross-offable (this word does not even exist).
Example of using Trello card: Someone has to buy the beers for Friday afternoon's team chill-out on the balcony, so create a card that says "Buy some beers and put them in the fridge", set the milestone to Friday 11 am and assign it to - maybe your intern. The intern buys the beer, puts it into the fridge, and moves the card to column "Done."
4. Make cards obvious and self-explanatory
We have already mentioned this aspect multiple times. Make sure the titles of your cards are concise and self-explanatory. Your team should understand what a task is about without having to open it and read the description. And if they open the card, ensure a clear explanation. Do not write a novel; just a short sentence that precisely describes this task.
Good example: Set up wifi in the office (title), and the task description reads, "Set up the wifi router (UPS package in the kitchen) in the main room, set up WPA2 encryption, post passphrase to the intranet."
Bad example: wifi (title), and task description - "There is no wifi in the main room."
Your controlling question should be: Will any team member know what this is about without asking me? If the answer is yes, then good.
5. Discipline will save your project management, nothing else
The last point we want to make in this rather text-heavy analysis is the aspect of discipline. Once your team is on board for a new tool and everyone has opted into its logic, discipline will decide the success or failure of implementing a tool like Trello. You need transparent processes inside your team, and each team member should understand how your company works in Trello and at all.
Your processes should transparently describe how the team works. For example, if you create a task for the design team about a new landing page, but they need text content first, who will be a responsible person to ask about it? Will be the content writers responsible for the task before reassigning or not? Or you will have two separate tasks for two teams. No matter what way you choose - the only important thing is that all participants should have the same view on the same things.
We hope this article can help you move forward with task and project management. Trello is one of many tools, so be sure to compare before you decide what fits your team's or project's requirements best. But remember that discipline is vital. Even advanced tools won't work without proper utilization.
At Lingohub, we are also developing some features that can simplify your localization management, for example:
- Color labels that allow the split of the segments by the logic groups;
- Statuses like 'New", "Preffiled," "Draft," "Translated," and "Approved" to see the exact progress of the project;
- Unlimited numbers of projects to separate your tasks if needed. As well you can group and mark the projects;
- Discussions with team members and segments mentioning;
To find more information - schedule a demo call with our team - we will gladly give you more information or try Lingohub for 14 days for free. No credit card. No catch. Cancel anytime