Trello is a really useful online collaboration tool.

With the Concise Training team based in various locations around the country, it can be a challenge to manage collaborative tasks

As we have been using Trello, an organisation toolfor nearly two years, we thought it was time that we shared our experience.

What is Trello?

Trello explains this best“Trello is the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything” Source 

Imagine a whiteboard and sticky postit notes.  On each postit note, you can add text, images, URLs, documents etc. Now, imagine multiple whiteboards for different stages of a task or project and the ability to move the post-it notes between boards.  Finally, imagine everybody in your business – wherever they are based, has access to the whiteboards that matter to them – both on desktop and mobile – and you can start to imagine the power of Trello.

Twice a year we update our online courses and qualifications.   For each course, we need to update it to reflect the way the relevant channel has changed, proofread the updates, make any corrections and then finalise the course for publishing.  Each of these tasks is often done by different people on the team to ensure a quality approach.

As you can imagine, this involves a lot of collaboration and communication. In the past, we have used a shared excel spreadsheet and emailto track progress and inform each other when courses are ready for the next stage. This process became tedious and wasn’t easy to manage so we began looking for alternatives.

Then we discovered Trello – we use Trello for a number of different projects now, but I’ll take you through the way we manage our course updates.

  1. Start by creating a board. We create a new course updates board each time we go through the process (twice a year).
  2. In the board create lists.  We create a list for each member of the team who is involved in the course updates as well as a list called ‘final’. 
  3. In each list create ‘cards’ where you can add comments, images, links, or a checklist. Each card can be moved from each column so if I need to pass a task onto another member of the team I would move that card into their column.

Watch this short video to see this in action.

Adding information to cards

 

By using this online collaboration tool you create cards so you can document information.

Add to Card Options (on right)

Quite a bit of information about a task can be added to a card.  

  • Description – you can add a detailed description to a card so other members of the team are aware of what it is for
  • Add Comment – a comment can explain the progress of a card or can be a way of giving other members of the team a progress report.  It is possible to include a URL, attach a file, tag another member of the team, add an emoji or even attach another card or board. 
  • Activity – what has happened to the card (which boards it has been moved to, any comments added etc).
  • Members – which Trello users have access to the card.
  • Labels – coloured labels allow you to add visual information to a card.  Labels can be set up for anything – for our course updates, we use labels to show the status of a course.

By using the online collaboration tool, Trello, you can add labels to your cards.

  • Checklist – if you have multiple tasks to complete on one card then you can add a checklist.  We don’t tend to use this for our course updates but have used it recently to list changes required to a website we are updating.
  • Due Date – add a date in which the task needs to be completed by.
  • Attachment – attach a file to the card from Google Drive, Computer, Dropbox, OneDrive etc.

Actions

  • Move – another way of moving a card rather than drag and drop.
  • Copy – create a copy of the card.
  • Watch – if you watch the card you will receive notifications when anyone else adds a comment or moves it etc. You can also choose to watch a board.
  • Archive – if you no longer need the card you can archive it. Once you have archived a card you then have the option to delete the card.

The benefits of using Trello

The obvious benefit is the simplicity of the tool – it is easy to implement in a virtual team – though we would recommend a short initial training course to ensure everybody is using it in the same way. 

Other benefits include:

  • Trello is a free tool to use. With the free version, you can have unlimited boards, lists, cards, members, checklists and attachments (up to 10MB in size)There are 2 paid options in which you can add app integrations, added security and the ability to manage multiple teams. 
  • You can invite people outside the team to engage with specific boards so it becomes an easy way for clients to collaborate with us.
  • The mobile app gives the same functionality as the desktop so it can be used by all members of the team wherever they are.

We found Trello to be essential for course updates and have now created different boards to manage all our activities in the tool.  We have boards to manage the creation, review and publication of blog posts and newsletters for clients, a board to manage what each of the members of the team is working on and a board to manage the design, creation, review and publication of websites. 

Do you think Trello will be a tool that could be useful to you or your business? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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