Manage the workflow with Trello

Apps & Software

TrelloWhile you work with a team on a common project, reactions and information come from all sides. The employees pick up their tasks at different times; they spill out ideas and in the meantime give continuous feedback. In the meantime, the todo list is growing to worry proportions and the pressure of red-hot deadlines are increasing. You need Trello to ensure that you do not lose the overview in the hectic of data, tasks, and employees.

Trello is a tool that looks easy at first glance. That’s right; every beginner can use the web application after a few minutes to set up household task lists. Yet this powerful online program has much more to offer. You evolve quickly to a level where you learn to organize complex projects and you manage the workflow of an entire team that simultaneously works on several projects. In addition, Trello runs synchronously on all devices that are linked to the same account. You can use the tool from the website, but there are also app versions for Android, iOS and Kindle Fire so you can complete task lists on the go. Trello succeeds in dividing the entire project into ready-to-use components, steps that are essential to achieving a good result. Moreover, both the coordinator and all team members can follow everyone’s progress in real time, and that is extremely motivating.

01 Signs and cards

The operation of Trello is based on the system of the so-called Kanban signs, a Japanese organizational method to visualize the workflow with lists and maps. Trello also has a dashboard on which you place different signs. Every sign stands for a project. Click on the Welcome Board to view the content. A board consists of cards, which you can drag from one board to another. In this way, you build a project with maps showing the different subtasks. The cards in the Welcome Board are already full of useful tips about the program.

02 Lists

At the very top is the plus sign to add three things: a new board, a personal team or a business team. The last option is only available for the paid version. In this example, we are creating a new board for the organization of a neighborhood party. Give the board a title. By default, the sign will be private and we can think of few reasons to change this setting. When you have created a board, you can divide this project into lists that are the path you want to take to realize the project. A list is your own command window in which you place a lot of assignments. His list is made up of cards with the individual assignments. By adding lists and sub-lists you get a horizontal tree structure that shows the structure of the project.

Free, gold or business

Trello is free and with this version, you can manage all projects with an unlimited number of team members. Yet you can upgrade to Trello Gold for $ 45 per year. You also get the golden status by inviting new members. For every person you join, you get one month of free Trello Gold, with a maximum of 12 months. The golden status adds in the first place some cosmetic characteristics: 9 premium board backgrounds, the possibility to design your own background, nice stickers, and emoticons. On a functional level, you can upload attachments of 250 MB as a ‘gold member’ and you have the possibility to save frequently used search terms. If you immediately want to give all teammates the Trello Gold status, you pay $ 9.99 per month per user.

03 Rear sides

Every card you add gives you a name. Click on the card again so that the detail sheet appears. In Trello they call the detail window ‘the back’ of the card. This sheet contains, among other things, space for a description. In addition, it is possible to add attachments from the hard disk or from the usual online repositories (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive). To add a deadline, click on the Expiration Date button so that you can select a date in a mini calendar. When you have added all the cards, you make the second round. Some users drag the cards into chronological order; others like to put the cards with the highest priority at the top.

Colors and color blindness

In the menu on the right side under the More button, the function Labels If you are visually oriented, you can highlight certain tasks by giving them a color. In practice, these labels are often used to keep track of the status of tasks. For example, you can use green for ready, yellow for Busy and red for Doing. Or you give each family member his own label. Each color can be given a different name and it is possible to create new labels and thus new colors. At the bottom of the colors is the button to turn on the display for color blindness. This allows Trello to place a pattern over the colors. Another advantage of labels is that you can set the search on labels.

04 Building a team

Initially, the menu is still hidden. By clicking on the button Show menu, you will see this menu column. In the Add Members box, enter the e-mail addresses of those who work on the project. These people will receive an invitation by mail to participate in the project. The initials and possibly the image of the member appear in the menu at Invited members. To have this member collaborate with others on the same board, select the block with the initials of this member and drag it on the board. You can also drag a team member on a complete list or on individual maps.

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To do, Busy and Finished

It is helpful to list on a board to make a list Departments and a list Finished place. That way, when you start a new part task, you can drag the card from Do to Busy. From left to right when the job is finished, he goes to the following list: Finished In this way, everyone within the team can see the progress of each member and the group.

05 Distributing assignments

When that person has executed his assignment, he drags his card to the finished list and so the rest knows that the job has been done. Other employees can in their turn comment on the assignment that their colleague has completed. It is, of course, possible to put different members on the same task. Within a group, you can have a team work together and share multiple boards. There is no limit on the number of teams you create with a free Trello account. Participants in a board can filter by their own name and only see their own tasks. Filtering can also be done by deadline and color.

06 Drop-down lists

In order not to leave anything to chance, you probably want to work with graduation lists. To do this, click on the job card that has to be provided with these types of reminders and select the Checklist item in the detailed information sheet. You give the checklist a name. From then on you can add items to the list via the Add button. To speed up that process extra, always press the Enter key. Afterwards, check the items in the order in the Checklist. If, for example, it concerns a shopping list, use the Trello app on your smartphone to copy it one after the other item in the meantime. The other members of the team will see how you have purchased all items. At the top, you will even see a bar with percentages that indicate what you have completed on the checklist and what your team has done.

07 Communication flow

A problem with group projects is the tsunami of e-mail messages because all employees constantly put each other in the ‘cc’. With Trello you avoid such a messy e-mail flow. The added members of a list or card will receive notifications when something happens to the card. The responses appear on the back of the card. All responses receive a timestamp that can serve as a reference. When you say someone’s name in a reaction preceded by, the person in question will also receive a notification. You can also set whether you want to receive the notifications immediately, periodically or never.

Inspiration

Why reinvent the wheel when there are masses of model lists, browser extensions, and bookmarklets that are all collected in ‘ The Trello Resources board ‘. This source of inspiration is, how else, a Trello board.

08 Power-ups

An interesting option of Trello is the so-called Power-ups. These are extensions that significantly expand the possibilities of this project manager. You can find the Power-ups in the Menu column.

When you open the list of Power-ups, you see that most of the extensions ensure that Trello works seamlessly with other web services. For example, if you want to keep track of exactly how long you work on each part of a project, you can activate the Harvest Power-up, provided you have an account with this time tracking service. The Marker Power-up makes it easy to add screenshots to Trello cards.

Enable the Voting Power-up to allow users to vote on Trello cards. You can view the number of votes cast in the card detail window. Unfortunately, you can only activate one Power-up in the free version. Do you want more? Then you are dependent on Business Class.

09 Calendar

One of the most useful Power-ups is Calendar. Activate this to see a new button in the blue bar at the top: Calendar This button opens a window filling calendar that you can set on week and month view. You will notice that in the calendar all cards are automatically included with a specific due date on the information sheet. You can also add cards directly in the calendar module by double-clicking on a date. In the mini window, you enter the list where this card should come and you determine numerically which position the card will receive.

10 Star rating

Another very interesting Power-up is Custom Fields. When you activate it, you can put new, self-made fields on maps.

You can also indicate whether this field should be visible immediately on the front of the card. With a bit of skill, you use this Power-up to give the cards a star rating so that the members can indicate their favorite cards. In the menu, enable the Power-up Custom Fields and click on the gear to change the settings of this addition.

Give the new field a name, for example, rating. In the Type drop-down menu choose the option Drop-down list and in the List options box you place a star, in the next box two stars, and so on. You get those stars from the Emoji button.

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