August 5, 2016

Project Management with Trello

By Elena Azadbakht, MSI, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg.

Looking for a new way to manage projects or visualize your to-do list? Give Trello a try! Trello is a (mostly) free web-based project management tool based on the Kanban method popularized by David J. Anderson. It works across several operating systems, browsers, and devices. (There’s even a Trello smartphone app.)

Prior to this summer, I managed my to-do list using a document within Google Drive. While this text-based method was simple and straightforward, I wasn’t really able to visualize my various goals and tasks and the progress I was making towards accomplishing them. A colleague introduced me to Trello, and as it seemed to provide the features that were missing from my Google Drive system.

Trello allows you to create “boards” for different projects or areas of your life – I have separate boards for work and home. Boards are made up of “lists,” which in turn are comprised of “cards.” Boards are private unless you opt to create a team and share your board with other Trello users, which can come in handy if you’re working in a group. A newly-created Trello board comes with three default lists – “to do,” “doing,” and “done” – to help you keep track of your progress, but you can rename these lists or create your own. Cards are used to map individual tasks and can be edited to include due dates, checklists, images, attachments, and color-coded labels. You can also assign specific tasks to team members. Both lists and tasks can be moved around a board simply by dragging and dropping, and you can edit any card with a quick double-click. A menu on the right-hand side of your board is easily accessible and provides you with several options to customize your board.

Like any technology tool, Trello is not perfect. While the basic set of services is free, certain more “advanced” options are only available through a subscription. Although you can edit, move, and archive lists and cards, you cannot delete them outright. I also haven’t found a great way to represent recurring tasks, like reference shifts, on my Trello boards.

Overall, I’ve found Trello to be useful and user-friendly. I’ve used it to plan out a timeline for writing an article and to visualize the individual steps I’ll need to take to complete a series of video tutorials. Trello could also help you manage collection development and outreach, including relationships with faculty. (For an example, check out this humorous Harry Potter-themed board.) If you’re in the market for a new project management system, I hope you give Trello a try!

Elena Azadbakht is Health and Nursing Librarian at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. As a liaison librarian, she does a mix of instruction, outreach, collection development, and reference work. Right now she’s really interested in website usability testing and instructional design.

1 comment:

  1. I love Trello! It is really simple but effective at the same time project management app. Also my friend prefers Podio after reading this Podio App Review and installing it. She uses it almost for a half year and is trying to convince me that it is better that Trello but I am a true Trello fan that can't be convinced.