I wrote about how I was evaluating task management apps for a new project I’m working on. In the evaluation, I tried Asana, Basecamp and Trello. In the mean time I also found Streak (I’m testing it now). Streak is integrated with Gmail and that’s an added plus as it’s nice to have everything working within email. It goes along with my thinking that task management application should get out of the way.
Anyway, in the end we decided for Trello as a way for us to track what we’re working on and to follow the progress. I wanted to write a little bit more about the different apps we tested as an attempt to make a series out of it. Hopefully the reviews can help you once you need to decide what you’re going to use for task management. The first one I’m going to cover is Trello.
As in the first article, my thinking is for the applications to be useful and for us to actually use them they should
- get out of the way, easy and quick to use (less than 10 minutes a day)
- be visual and intuitive so anyone can pick it up easily and just drag and drop
- be flexible, we need to be able to have different milestones based on the tasks. We want to have writing collaboration between authors within the tool as well as product development and support
Trello fits all the above requirements and you can’t beat the price as it’s free. It’s built around the concept of boards (projects), cards (tasks) and lists (milestones). You can create as many boards as you want depending on how you want to set up your workflow. It’s also possible to set as many lists as you need and this can be different for each board. Once you’ve configured everything it’s extremely easy to create tasks and move them between lists. Trello is a breeze to use also for teams as it’s easy to add new members and assign cards (my favorite task). :)
Besides the obvious lists as milestones, each card can have check lists which are basically sub tasks. You’re able to put due dates as well as attachments (integrated with Google Drive and Dropbox). Color coding is also possible and this can be useful (green, yellow and red) if we want to be able to quickly detect issues.
One of the things working really well is how easy it’s to use Trello for personal stuff as well. Once you register you can create organizations. In the organization you can register as many users as you want. Once you create a board you can either make it private (yours), public (visible by anyone) or assign it to an organization (visible for users registered under the organization). When you login you see both personal tasks and organization tasks so it’s very easy to manage everything within one single interface.
I also found a great extension for Chrome which lists cards assigned to you across all Trello boards. I use it all the time so I don’t need to go to the website all the time. You can find more about the extension here.
Trello is not perfect and I miss Google Apps integration and especially Google calendar integration. I think this is in development though. One of the cool things is you can follow Trello development. It’s of course in Trello. :) One other thing I’m missing is time tracking. I really hope the developers will add this soon as I see it in ideas so it’s not in development yet.
Trello is really easy to use so our goal to quickly be able to manage the tasks and following individual as well as whole team progress was accomplished. I spend about ten minutes a day and have a great overview of how everything is going. Overall, I think Trello is an excellent application and would highly recommend it.