Expand Your Use of Trello

Organize and gain perspective on anything, with anyone.

Board Building Blocks

Now that you have a better understanding of the Trello app, it’s time to look at five ways you can use Trello to get a lot more bang for your productivity buck.

Let’s look at how to use Trello to:

  1. Track
  2. Store
  3. Share
  4. Discuss
  5. Mix n' Match

Trello For Tracking

By far the most popular way to use Trello is for tracking tasks in either projects or processes. Projects tend to have a start and end date, like planning an event or building a new feature, whereas processes tend to be ongoing, like day to day operations for a business, or managing an editorial calendar.

On these boards, cards represent tasks that need to get done, and lists often represent a series of steps. The list structure can be as simple as To Do, Doing, and Done, or as detailed as your process needs to be, and cards move left to right as they go from start to finished.

Useful Features:

  • Drag and Drop - Drag and drop cards across lists to show progress, and move cards up and down a list to prioritize.
  • Due Dates - Add due dates to cards to stay on deadline, and mark the due date done when it’s complete.
  • Add Members - Assign tasks by adding members to cards so that everyone can easily see who is doing what.
  • Checklists - Break down tasks into their key components and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Trello For Storing

Trello boards are also a great way to visually store resources and build living documents. Some great examples of using Trello boards for storing are employee manuals, team resources, and even favorite recipes.

On these boards, lists often represent buckets or categories, and make it easy to sort and organize information. Cards are created for each item with additional information in the card’s description, relevant links, and attachments all stored on each card.

Useful Features

  • Attachments - Attach files from your computer or popular cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive via Power-Ups to organize documents, files, and assets.
  • Markdown - Create more clear and organized card descriptions with Markdown formatting. Markdown lets you add headers, bulleted lists, italics, bold, links and more to your text.
  • Labels - Tag cards with labels and then use the filter feature to quickly surface all of the cards with a related tag. Use grey labels if you don’t want labels to appear on the front of a card, but still want to be able to filter.
  • Search - Use Trello’s robust search feature to pull up any card that you are looking for. Create as many cards as you want, and Trello will make it easy for you to always find them.

Trello For Sharing

Often lots of work is getting done by different departments, across many different boards, and you need a centralized location for people to share what they are doing to keep colleagues or clients informed. Create a Company Overview board or department level board that captures the big picture of what’s getting done across your entire team, or create a roadmap to share with clients or users what’s being worked on.

Lists might be created for each month or fiscal quarter, and cards, representing projects, are added to the corresponding list for when that project is going to be worked on or completed. Cards should be updated on a regular basis with status updates, milestone achievements, and deliverables.

Useful Features:

  • Card and Board Attachments - Attach related project boards and cards so that team members can hop into the details and get access to where work is getting done.
  • Comments - Use comments to provide regular status updates because they will automatically leave a timestamp of when that comment was added.
  • Card Aging Power-Up - Enable the Card Aging Power-Up on your board, which fades out inactive cards over time, to instantly see which cards have not been recently updated.

Trello For Discussing

Let’s face it, there is nothing worse than a schedule packed with too many meetings that have no agenda whatsoever. Using Trello to organize meetings lets you bring your agenda to life, whether it’s a 1 to 1, team meeting, retrospective or town hall. Plus, because Trello works in real time, everyone will be able to stay in sync in Trello as well as the meeting.

On these boards, create a list for items to be discussed during the next meeting to set a clear agenda. Before each meeting begins, create a new list with the date of the meeting on it, and as cards are discussed move them from the “to be discussed” list to the list you just created. When all of the cards have been moved over, the meeting is done. Or, if there is an item that needs follow-up next meeting, leave it in the “to be discussed” list for next time.

For retrospectives after a sprint or when a big project comes to conclusion, consider a different list setup: What went well?, What needs to change?, Questions and discussion, and Action items. Have your team add cards to each list in advance to keep your retrospective structured, and save enough time to get through each card.

  • appear.in Power-Up - Add a dedicated appear.in video room to your board, and copy and paste your meeting board’s link into appear.in to embed the board in your video chat.
  • Copy board - Use the board copy feature to set up a template board for recurring meetings with the same format every time and copy the template to save a few minutes.
  • Related cards and boards - Attach related Trello cards and boards to agenda items to be discussed so that everyone can jump into the details to get more perspective.
  • Voting Power-Up - See what ideas and topics matters most to your team with the Voting Power-Up, which enables members to vote on cards.

Mix N' Match

The great thing about the flexibility of Trello is that you can mix and match and combine all of these different concepts however you like on a single Trello board.

For instance, a project board can also include lists of stored information like resources, documentation, and inspiration.

Or, a sharing board where members of a marketing department provide a high level view of the projects being worked on, but can also include discussion lists for weekly meetings.

The idea here is that Trello boards are completely customizable, and we hope that with these building blocks you can build a board to suit your unique needs.

Next Up:

Collaboration →