I heard about Trello a few times over the course of a week and thought I would check it out. I read through the description and thought, “Eh, it’s worth a try” but it is a pretty great tool.

What “I” like!

The thing I like most is its simplicity. Based on how I’ve used it so far, it’s one or more boards with one or more lists. Each list has cards and each card has a description, comments, and one or more checklists.

In the last week, I’ve kept myself productive by creating a card in a “To Do” list for each task I need to complete. I plan each step needed to do to complete the task, create a checklist, and when I’m ready to start working on the card I move the it into my “Doing” list. As I complete each item on the checklist I check it off and when the card is complete I move the card into my “Done” list.  The card description has been handy to clarify the purpose and goal of the task for one reason or another. And I’ve used comments as a way to remember different ideas related to the card.

Trello Board with Cards

Yeah great, but can you use it for a team?

That’s a great question, so far I’ve only mentioned reasons why I think it’s a great tool for a single person to stay productive. I haven’t personally used it within a team environment but I think it could still be useful for a team because you can assign cards to one or more team members. You can also add a due date to each card and collaborate using comments.

Ok ok, how about for a Scrum team?

I work in an environment that uses the Scrum method for software development and at first I thought this would be a great tool for my team. Sadly, I think I was wrong.  I think for the purpose of Scrum Trello has a couple of significant shortcomings. I think the biggest problem is that Trello does not support Scrum’s horizontal swim lanes which is extremely valuable in visualizing the progress of a single story. And Trello supports up to 6 colored labels for a card which, depending how you use labels, would limit the number of stories taken in a single sprint.

So, how is Trello useful for teams?

Although I do not think Trello easily supports the Scrum process you could adapt your Scrum process to fit Trello.  But  I do think it is perfectly suited for Kanban.

I’d love to hear how you use Trello or some other tool to manage yourself or a team. Let me know in the comments.