Top 5 Tips for Trello: Easy to use project management for business and personal projects

Best practices and overview of the Kanban system

image from Trello

When you’re camping in the forest, you need a walky-talky to communicate with your group, and you need a map to find your way.

As we mentioned in our other posts, Slack is the walky-talky. It is a great tool for communications but in addition to the daily comms, your company is going to need its full roadmap…and that is where Trello comes in handy.

To boost your productivity, you’ll need these three tools to cut down a large portion of your workload and make your work efforts effective.

The three tools are

  1. Properly use email (for external communications only)
  2. Use Slack for all internal communications
  3. Use Trello (or a similar management tool) for project management — we recommend Trello but others have great success with tools such as Asana.

After implementing these tools you will drastically improve your ability to manage your company and your time. We’ve covered Inbox Zero and Slack in our previous posts and today we’ll walk through Trello.

Trello is your map

Trello shows you what project you’re working on, its stage and status, what steps you need to take to complete the project and who is responsible for next steps.

Communication tools are a quick and easy way to share ideas, but if something is a task, project or to-do then it requires a project management tool. The more complex a project is with different stages, the more important it is to use a tool like Trello because all of those different states are hard to track within a comms tool.

At Leverage, we use Trello to fit our business and therefore our layout looks slightly different than how it is intended for use. We’ve created a board for each client, and within each client’s board he or she may have several tasks. However, typically speaking, if you’re running a company you could use this on a per project basis such as “Create an IOS App” and then each section would help guide your process of creating the IOS app.

In the visuals below, we’ll walk through examples of creating a wedding to show an easy example of how to set-up a Trello board.

1. Start by creating four categories for your project

- Backlog, doing, waiting, done

2. Write each task within each phase of you project

Backlog contains items that aren’t a priority yet, such as sending invites and creating seating arrangements. Once you’re ready to start a task you move it to “doing.” If you are waiting for the task to be completed or need info from another source, move it to “waiting.” Once you are finished with the task it can be placed in “done” therefore you always have a list of your completed items.

3. Create and customize the specific details within each card

You can make a checklist for each task such as a list of venues that you want to visit in California and New York, then cross each one off as you go. Within each card you can also choose:

  • Due date
  • Color label
  • Assign a member/owner of the task
  • Add other attachments such as receipts, directions, etc.

4. Power it Up!

Use Power Ups to make your workflow more efficient. You can include things such as a calendar power up to view a broad scope of your whole project and keep it organized. Other Power Ups like the card repeater can help automate a recurring task. Therefore if you want a new Trello card to pop-up every Monday to remind you to check in with your florist, the card repeater will make that happen.

5. Get familiar with best practices

A few extra helpful tricks to organize your workload are:

  • In the “doing section, “ list each task in the order you want to complete them
  • Create a line between a group of cards to create a distinction — or to break your big list up into smaller, sections of lists
  • If more than one person owns a task, then nobody owns it- aka you’ll never need more than one member on a card because if the card requires more than one person, most likely it should be split up into two separate tasks, plus
  • If nobody owns the task, there is a greater chance that the work won’t be completed — each person on the card might think the other person is responsible for the task. Having only one owner makes it clear who is responsible for what portion of the project/task

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