April 12, 2019
A simplified project management tool – Trello is intuitive to use, but features can be extended with its Power-Ups add-on catalog
Trello from Atlassian is essentially what Jira (also owned by Atlassian) would be if it were designed with project management alone in mind. It uses the same card and category approach that Jira offers. The difference is that Trello’s cards offer a wealth of information when you click on them including team members involved in the task, comments, checklists for subtasks, due dates, attachments, and labels.
Trello doesn’t have a ton of features when you start a new board, but the Power-Ups extension catalog allows users to customize Trello to suit their needs with features such as Timeline and calendar views, as well as integrations with third-party tools such as Dropbox and Zoho CRM.
Simple and intuitive interface
Power-Ups add customization and added functionality as needed
Lacks common project management features “out of the box” such as dependencies and timeline view
What is Trello?
Trello started life as a product of Fog Creek Software (now known as Glitch) in 2011; it was eventually turned into its own company before being purchased by Atlassian in 2017.
The fact that Trello didn’t start life under Atlassian is kind of surprising, because just looking at Trello you can see a lot of shared traits with Jira, Atlassian’s project management tool geared towards software development. Trello uses a similar Kanban board interface as Jira, and it offers as much simplicity as its corporate cousin.
The big difference is that Trello is clearly built for generic project management with task cards that support far more detail than Jira’s. To start, Trello offers a free tier with a basic feature set, and then you can upgrade as needed with two payment tiers.
Trello’s fundamental data structure starts with teams, as many project management software tools do. Then you have boards, which are best thought of as cork boards for pinning tasks written on index cards. The basic idea is to use a separate board for each project or client. Then there are lists where you organize your tasks such as “In process,” “Pending approval,” or “Completed.” Finally there are cards, which are the basic units where you input your tasks, responsible team members, and other details.
Trello claims its product is flexible enough to accommodate any project, or day-to-day jobs that require task lists. It doesn’t have quite the same flexibility as something like Monday.com simply because its interface and data hierarchy is much simpler. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to like about Trello’s basic approach.
In This Guide:
Trello Video Overview: Project Management in Action
This video from Trello shows the basics of the project management tool including how to navigate the app, and how to organize tasks and lists within boards.
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