Trello, a collaboration tool organizing your project into boards, is a preferred project management tool for most of the startuppers at LUISS ENLABS. Why? Andrea Gattini from Slapped explains: “After trying alternative tools, we have come to a conclusion that Trello is much more intuitive and when you work under the pressure, your team does not have to lose the time figuring out how it functions. Moreover, due to its popularity, even when there is still a doubt, you can easily ask your coworkers in the open space!” Indeed, over 4.5 million people have already signed up for Trello and every month it has over 1 million active users on the site! What are the advantages of using Trello for a startup?
  • Startuppers work in an ever-changing environment and Trello gives them the maximum amount of flexibility. It allows agile teams to easily and regularly re-prioritize their project delegation during every monthly meeting, weekly kickoff, or daily stand-up.
  • Trello makes extensive use of the collaborative features of each card, by having their developers engage in dialogs, and even sub-task “checklists”, right on each card itself. This feature of Trello smoothes the communication inside the team.
  • Trello allows you to use any organizational style you prefer: you could manage the progress according to the working flow, as well as by task owner.
The Kanban principles Trello uses a Japanese paradigm Kanban (Kan (看) means “visual”, Ban (板) means “signal”), spread by Toyota in the 1980s for supply chain management. Originally, Kanban is based on the use of real labels with the relevant information (codes, supplier, client, quantity, etc.) to manage production, purchase and material movement. The main objective of Kanban is to avoid overproduction that is the most impactful waste in the production system. Similarly to Japanese Kanban method, Trello uses the virtual cards correspondent to tasks, where one can add all the necessary information important for the completion of the task, such as:
  • Members: the owners of the task
  • Labels to classify the tasks
  • Deadlines
  • Description of the task
  • Checklist with all the steps essential for the task completion
  • Attachments
For each project, you can create a board with the lists of tasks. Users can organize projects through the utilization of boards, lists and cards, which form a bespoke data hierarchy that facilitates effective management of projects, jobs and tasks. How to organize your work with Trello Trello cardsare supposed to demonstrate the progress of your project: the cards are passing from one list to the next (via drag-and-drop), for instance mirroring the flow of a feature from idea to implementation. Some useful tips to better organize your working process:
  • Use more than one board for a project, otherwise you risk to find yourself continuously scrolling the screen
  • Centralize the process in the hands of one moderator to avoid the confusion
  • Manage the notifications not to get overwhelmed:
    • request the right amount of notifications
    • only subscribe to the necessary boards
    • choose the right types of notification that work best for you among passive, active notification on your device, active alert on your desktop or email notification
  • Ensure all team members are involved and get the notifications:
    • use @mention syntax to send a one-time notification to another Trello member of the board
    • subscribe the member to a card (will get all activity notifications for the card)
    • assign the member to a card (will get all activity notifications for the card
    • subscribe to a board (will get ALL activity for everything on the board)
  • Create a project backlog: each team member should be able to add new stories in a separate backlog. Later on, the team can decide which cards to dispose of and which to keep in the workflow.
How to track a working progress Trello has some useful extensions to give a serious try if you want to leverage completely the potential of the tool. Trello Scrum extension provides a set of Fibonacci-sequenced buttons for adding estimates to cards, then it adds up the all cards on each list and displays the estimate per list, as well as an aggregate estimate for the whole board. If you have a project on each board, you can easily track how many hours or user points you’ve added to it during a planning meeting. Another useful extension for Trello is Burndown Chart that shows you at a glance how your team is performing. Read more on the related topic in one of our previous posts: How to Manage a Distributed Team: the Experience of Qurami   photo credit: nathos via photopin cc