Project Management

Spark a Project Management Revolution with Trello

June 27, 2014

Guest Author

You may love SharePoint, can’t wait for Mac Airdrop sharing, or rely on other project management tools. Everything seems to run smoothly, but the hiccups you experience aren’t that monumental.

Perhaps you’re a budding entrepreneur just getting the hang of things and creating structure for the small yet growing departments within your business.

In business, communication between departments and employees are key to success. If you’re tired of clunky, disjointed, and distracting communication and project collaboration tools, then commit yourself to Trello for two weeks. Trello yourself, your small department, and maybe even your entire company.

Streamlining Project Collaboration and Communication

I searched far and wide for a better project management tool for our small yet busy marketing department. After participating in a social media marketing webinar promoting the web based tool, I took the bait.

The Trello bug quickly caught fire and evolved into a personal addiction. I manage individual tasks, projects, group projects with colleagues, all on one platform. The list and card functions create a visually organized experience that’s not replicated with other PM tools or platforms. The features are easy to understand and learn. The learning curve is minimal and the immediate upside is far too exciting to measure. Yes, perhaps I’m a bit over-the-top enthusiastic, as you could  ask coworkers, but it makes work easier.

Do You Hate Email as Much as I do? (Email Haters Come Hither)

Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Thunderbird. My daily enemies come in the form of email clients. Despite well found enthusiasm and support from colleagues or outsiders who love the use of email, I can’t possibly stand it for work communication purposes. I’m the type of person who cannot leave my inbox alone. I spend large chunks of my day answering emails, organizing, and keeping that inbox spotless.

When emails arrive it creates an immediate distraction on my computer screen. Also, having a cross office or out of office conversation regarding project updates, questions, and other inquiries over a lengthy email thread is exhausting. Forget email, reserve it for special occasions and necessary messages for clients.

Trello Creates a Clean Project Communication Platform

The web based and mobile ready platform masters the art of communication. You can add members (work colleagues) to organizations, boards, cards, and even checklists within cards. Instead of sending the supervisor an email updating them about a task completed for a project, you can check off your assigned task on the project card or board.

When completing a task, every person attached to that card or board receives a notification. If you want to comment on a project or ask a question, type in the “@” symbol first and members attached to that project board or card automatically come up. You can speak directly at one person without involving the other individuals involved on a major project. This eliminates the side conversations often associated with email threads.

The ability to comment at colleagues, assign people to boards, cards, and individual tasks creates a smooth communication system that’s not nearly as burdensome or annoying as email.

Drag & Drop: Life made easy

The drag and drop function on this platform is undeniably one of the best features. When finished a minor project, I can drag the project card from my “To-Do” list to the “End of Week” complete list. This not only lets me measure weekly and monthly work production, but a supervisor can quickly check in and see how production varies.

For a major project, such as a website redesign, every person can move their individual cards to the completed list to proceed forward to major steps  in the project process.

Ultimate Control Over Notifications

Remember earlier how I complained about the uneasy notifications from email? I know you can disable desktop notifications for email, but there’s still something unnerving about seeing an email notification. For Trello you have the ability to limit or increase the amount of notifications you receive. Enable email or desktop notifications. Subscribe to a board. See what percentage of notifications works best for you without becoming overwhelmed.

Everything is in One Place for Mobile

The mobile app syncs with any and every change made from a web browser. Don’t attempt to manage an influx of sudden emails on bathroom breaks anymore.

The biggest advantage entails all-in-one accessibility. Communicate, read project updates and progress, attach and access photos or documents from Microsoft Word or even Google Drive. The same convenience comes through the mobile app. You don’t have to bother with the hassle of sending one email with pictures from the latest company event, emailing a document to countless people, or writing progress reports that consume unnecessary time.

If a supervisor wants to know a project’s progress, they can look on a board or card, read the latest comments, see attached documents, and observe the progress bar on the project checklist (as seen above).The ability to use one application on your mobile device and desktop or laptop is invaluable.

The question I receive from people asking about the platform focuses on it’s web to mobile translation. You’ll encounter a web based tool that doesn’t translate well to mobile or the opposite situation exists. Fortunately, this issue is not the case here.

The Wish List

This platform misses the mark with two features. When copying a card to a separate board, changes made on a card do not sync with the copied card. The second miss comes with the checklist feature, in that you cannot add unique due dates to individual checklist items only to the whole card itself.

For small to medium sized companies, to no one’s surprise, I would wholeheartedly advocate the use of this application. All of the necessary features are free. The training required for understanding the platform is nil. When interested in implementing a Trello shift at your organization, take baby steps and read their blog. At our company, the marketing department relies on it for project management.

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