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How to Unlock The Potential Of Trello Business Management
March 13, 2020

How to Unlock The Potential Of Trello Business Management

Sometimes you have business projects that are difficult to visualize accurately. There are many moving pieces, and keeping track of everything goes far beyond a simple to-do list. Other times, you have teams that may be dispersed, or have third party services assisting in projects. When this is the case, having a centralized repository for tracking progress is beneficial.

However, what happens when you’re on a budget and can’t afford a comprehensive management program? This is when services like Trello come into play, providing free or affordable project management solutions.

What is Trello?

Trello can be thought of as an infinite bulletin board. Here, ideas, tasks, and notations are organized visually in a columnar format.

The astronomic growth of Trello usage can’t be understated. They currently have over 50 million users, a number that grows every day. Small businesses use Trello for a wide variety of projects across expansive industries and markets. From website development to event planning, content marketing to standard project management, Trello shines.

Trello is entirely web-based (although it has desktop and mobile applications), so there’s no need to install anything.

Trello can be used alone or collaboratively and can you can make private boards or public ones. The permissions and level of sharing are entirely up to you and your board members.

In Trello, when you invite someone to join your board, a world of permissions possibilities opens up. You can grant edit privileges, or leave them read-only and allow them to see the progress being made.

Advantages of Trello in Your Business

Trello has many benefits for individual users and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Here are some of the advantages of Trello:

  • Lessening the confusion that tends to surround multi-member project management. Trello does this via minimalist, simple tools used to track progress and effectively organize tasks.
  • Extremely customizable card-based list building. This allows users to follow the metrics that they’re most interested in following. Also, through automatic notifications, project team members can remain informed of any changes.
  • Trello allows users to quickly and efficiently upload files straight from the most popular file-sharing services. This includes such services as Box, Google Apps, and Dropbox, among others.
  • Simplistic collaboration processes provide full project teams a level playing field when handling essential matters. From participation in project discussions, sending of notes, sharing of files, and beyond, the possibilities are endless.
  • Trello provides users the ability to discuss tasks or projects in real-time. It provides up-to-date information via activity logs, email notifications, and task assignments.
  • Inside boards, users are free to cast votes on ideas presented within these cards.

About Boards and Cards

Boards are collections of Trello cards, organized in vertically-aligned columns. Some refer to these columns as lanes, lists, or stacks. These cards are incredibly simple, but this can be very deceptive. As the front of the card is no more than a couple of short lines of text, this expands when clicked.

All cards are their own environments, with titles, activity feeds, descriptions, task lists, and more. You can easily add media, checklists, attachments, reactions, and more to cards. They can also be dragged and reordered across a board. This action is the pure heart of Trello.

Unlocking Success with Trello for Business

Obtaining success with Trello across your team and small business is incredibly simple. Below, we expand on four unexpected tips that prove the impressive usefulness of this versatile tool.

Trello’s setup is quick and easy. With advanced labeling features, labeling of labels, and use across a wide array of businesses, Trello works for any team.

The Surprising Effectiveness of Trello’s Default Configuration

When you begin utilizing Trello, you’ll likely be gung-ho regarding the customizations available for your boards. However, you should shouldn’t discount the default board configuration provided. This concept comes with three different stacks:

  • To-Do, which represents tasks that are known but not yet started.
  • Doing, which are tasks that are currently in progress.
  • Done, representing tasks that have been completed.

This might seem strange to you, especially if you’re just starting in project management. After all, why is it essential to track stacks for tasks you’re already in the process of doing? Doesn’t this seem a little counterintuitive?

You may be surprised. This structuring of the default Trello board is derived from kanban boards. A kanban board is a Japanese style of project management, prevalent among Agile methodologies. We have covered Agile project management extensively, and it works wonderfully for project teams.

At times, your small business may be working on a project that has steps that take over a day to finish. When this is the case, the Doing stack for in-progress tasks becomes incredibly important. It provides a sort of mental bookmark process. This way, the following day, after a break, the Doing stack offers an excellent method to get things back on track.

For Trello business advantages, these default stacks start to make more sense. Color labeling, tags, and more advanced features assist in keeping things in this stack well organized.

One Board For Each Project

It’ll likely be very tempting to develop one single board holding all the projects that you’re working on. Then, you make individual stacks for each project that your team is involved in. Sure, you can configure your Trello board like this. However, things can easily and quickly get out of hand.

Typically, Trello is used for projects that have more details than standard to-do lists. Remember, many complex projects, aren’t linear processes. Some components overlap. Tasks run parallel with one another, while others end up on the backburner.

Trello business management allows you to embrace these complexities. More importantly, it provides the visual transparency necessary to manage these projects effectively. However, to do so with minimal confusion and allow for growth, you need one board for each project.

You may be thinking, one board per project would likely get quite expensive rather quickly. You’d be shocked to learn the truth about Trello’s pricing. The free version of Trello is advertised as “$0 per user per month, forever.” This free version comes with unlimited team boards, cards, and lists, and ten team boards.

Using Labeling To Your Advantage

One of the advantages of Trello compared to many other project management tools is its advanced labeling options. You can attach colored labeling to any card at any time. These labels will show a noticeable, but small, colored notching at the top of each card.

However, labels are more than simple swatches of color on cards. You can also add text descriptions that relate to each color, much like the popular option, Todoist. This is very helpful, as you can categorize cards regardless of the stack they are in.

For example, you can use the following color scheme for task prioritization as they relate to cards:

  • Blue categorization denotes reference material. This could be tasks or information that you’d like to return to at some point in the project.
  • Yellow categorization is for cosmetic related changes on a digital project. This could represent minor interface improvements or visual tweaks. Typically, these aren’t super high priority to-do items.
  • Orange categorization could be digital project tasks that may not be critical to project progress but are time-consuming. These aren’t high-value impediments but are things that need to be addressed in a timely fashion.
  • Red categorization should note critical changes and tasks that need to be made and performed. Typically, in Scrum project management, these are known as “impediments.”

In addition, a simple red/yellow/green system for high/medium/low priority would work great. The idea should be that, when you put words to your labels, you provide an additional layer of understanding. This visual information should let you and your team quickly visualize progress across projects.

Let Your Creativity Flow

One of the best things about Trello is that there isn’t a “wrong” way to use it. This is one of the things that makes it such an incredible project management tool. You can use it for just about anything that needs visual organization. Effectively, Trello allows you to:

  • Cut down on unnecessary conference calls, emails, and face-to-face conversations. With Trello, each team or person gets its own stack, and each card can be a to-do list item.
  • Track tasks and stories in a visual format for Scrum project management. This is ideal for user experience developers, project managers, and Agile management options.
  • Restaurant owners can organize their recipes, develop menus, and determine necessary ingredients. These stacks can significantly assist in managing inventory and drastically increasing store profits.

Let Trello Business Options Take You To The Next Level

The best project management tools for small teams work to unlock new processes. Trello is consistently listed as one of the best project management tools on the market.

The more a team uses Trello for Business, the more they start to think in more effective project-based concepts. This paradigm shift serves to provide massive benefits to small businesses. It’s one of the biggest benefits of Trello’s software tool: it changes the way you think about problems.

Trello pricing, with it being free (at least the parts of it that work for smaller businesses), is unheard of. However, if you’re looking to take things to the next level, they offer paid versions as well.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].