Trello Review: Modern Kanban-Style Project Management Software
What Is Trello?
Trello is a popular project management tool that enables teams to organize projects, break them down into manageable tasks, assign deadlines, and track the progress of tasks in a visually appealing, easy-to-use drag-and-drop user interface. Agile businesses will find Trello useful for organizing their work processes and collaborating across teams in a more efficient manner. Since Trello connects to other apps in your workflow, such as Slack, Google Drive, and Jira, you can effectively communicate and collaborate throughout every stage of your projects, from start to finish.
Table of Contents
- What is Trello?
- Trello Review Summary
- Trello Pricing & Cost
- Trello Key Features
- Trello Customer Support
- Trello vs. Competitors
- Is Trello Right For You?
Trello Review Summary
Launched in 2014 by Fog Creek Software, Trello is popular because it helps users collaborate on projects and organize and prioritize tasks to create a cohesive workflow. In 2017, Trello was acquired by Atlassian, a company that also owns other business tools like Jira. Designed with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface, Trello is appealing to many types of users, ranging from startups and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
Trello's organization system is done by "cards." Cards can be as minimalist or as fully detailed as required. You can attach external files directly through Power-Ups like Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox, which helps increase productivity by enabling team members to directly open and preview files directly within a Trello card.
Trello offers a generous free tier that enables companies to create unlimited cards, boards, and checklists. This means that companies can try it out risk-free before deciding to upgrade to the business or enterprise level, which is typically what they would need to do if they wanted to be able to connect Trello to other applications, like Google Drive or Slack.
Overall, this tool is ideal for individuals or companies that need to keep track of projects in a clear, straightforward way. Because there's a free plan, pricing is not a deterrent.
Trello Pricing & Cost
Trello has an excellent free plan that most organizations will be able to utilize. Otherwise, Trello pricing begins at $12.50 per user per month. There's an Enterprise plan that customers can opt for if you need more than 100 users to have access to the platform.
|Business Class Plan
|$12.50 per user per month
This review walks through Trello's key features and describes its benefits, drawbacks, and customer service availability. Where applicable, we'll include real images of the software to show you what it's like to use Trello.
Organization & Cards
Trello's design may look similar to columns of sticky notes, but it offers much more functionality than a physical bulletin board. As you can see, customers can do the following regarding individual cards:
- Add members
- Set due dates
- Assign labels
- Add attachments
- Write comments
- Automate tasks
- Create checklists
To use Trello, you simply create cards, which are used to represent ideas or tasks. Cards can be logically grouped and organized into lists, or columns, which are arranged from left to right as a way to symbolize progressive stages over time.
This visual style is typical of a kanban board. For example, a magazine staff may want to create a Trello board that organizes each issue's planned articles into various stages, ranging from "Brainstorming" and "Planning" to more advanced stages like "Writing" and "Out for Review."
This gives each user a clean view of exactly where each article stands, and which articles require follow-up. It also provides a clear-cut platform where members of the team (and members of other teams) can add their own ideas/requests in an organized manner.
Workspace & Track Changes
When a card is ready to progress to a new stage, you can drag and drop it into the appropriate column. The sidebar menu, which is housed in the "Menu" tab, will automatically track any change on the board. This includes when boards are created, when cards are moved, when comments are made, and more.
Trello provides a collection of Inspiring Boards that provide users with a starting point for their own use cases. As these examples demonstrate, virtually any project and any team can benefit from creating a Trello board to assign, organize, and keep track of tasks. Use cases range from personal journeys like marathon training, to more professional applications, such as a place for employees to submit requests to the company's design team.
Extras & Card Features
In addition to organizing your tasks into a sensible workflow, Trello also enables you to add as much detail and context to those tasks as you want. This is done through the addition of file attachments, labels, and checklists. You can add one or more of the following elements to each card in order to provide additional context and enable assignees to quickly take action:
- Specify team members who should be associated with a particular card
- Checklists that can be dynamically updated to illustrate progress over time
- Attach files up to 10MB on the free tier, or up to 250MB on paid plans
- Add color-coded labels that help you categorize and prioritize tasks/cards
- Add adjustable due dates and enable members to mark when complete
One of Trello's major functions as a project management tool is to make it easier to assign tasks to various members throughout your organization, and visualize the progress of those tasks as they progress through each stage. As such, being able to add and assign team members to each task is a key feature of Trello. When creating a card, you can add yourself and/or other team members to automatically notify any individuals who may be interested in getting notified about any progress or activity on that particular task.
Attaching files to Trello cards can help provide even more context about the stage of any particular task. Like a cloud-based file storage solution, Trello provides a history of past files that you can download whenever you want. It also provides much-needed context about those files, since each card will contain a description of the project in question, as well as a comment history of the conversation that took place among the team members who worked on that project.
You can attach images, PDFs, Google Docs, or other files to mark the progress of any given task. For example, going back to our editorial calendar board, you might attach the latest draft of a blog post on a card, and mention someone else to ask them to take a look at it.
Note that certain types of high-security files may not be suitable for sharing in Trello. If you directly attach a file to Trello, Trello will store a copy of the file on its own servers, and it will create a custom shareable link that will enable anyone with the link to view the file. There is no way to set custom permissions on which team members should be able to access the file. If you want to continue sharing it in Trello, anyone with the link will be able to access the file, though if you really want to disable access, you can delete the file from Trello if needed.
If you need to set viewing permissions on a file, Trello recommends using its integrations with OneDrive or Google Drive, and setting the permissions through those services. This also enables you to automatically provide the most recent version of a file, instead of having to reattach a new version every time it is updated.
Trello offers a wide selection of Power-Ups, which are integrations with other applications that are crucial to your workflow. Some of the most useful Power-Ups fall into the following categories:
Along with these popular Power-Ups, there are integrations across a wide variety of sections like automations, HR, and analytics. Trello's wide library of integrations makes it easy for companies of all industries and sizes to benefit from the platform.
Certain Power-Ups enable you to customize the way you use Trello by adding more functionality to your boards. For example, the Custom Fields Power-Up provides a way to add custom fields to your cards, including start and end dates, numerical values, and any other field that can help categorize a task into
One example of an internal Power-Up is the Card Repeater Power-Up, which enables you to create recurring tasks on your Trello boards, either weekly, monthly, or yearly. Another Power-Up is the Card Snooze Power-Up, which enables you to archive a card until a future date. This helps declutter your board of tasks that you know you won't be able to tackle until later in the year. If you're a paying customer of Trello, you can enable as many Power-Ups on each Trello board as you like. The free tier gives you access to one Power-Up per board, so you can still test it out in a limited capacity before deciding if you would benefit from going Pro.
Trello also provides an API, allowing technical teams to create their own custom Power-Ups that are tailored specifically to their organization's needs.
Trello Customer Support
It's not particularly easy to get in touch with Trello's customer service team as there is no live chat on the website. However, you can fill out a form when there's an issue to get an email from the team.
|Customer Support Channels
|Other Support Resources
|Help Center, Community Forum
|Application Status Page
Trello Alternatives & Competitors
Trello competes with other project management tools like Asana and Jira. The other alternatives and competitors are:
Is Trello Right For You?
Trello is one of the most popular project management and collaboration software options on the market, for good reason. Its user interface is very intuitive, and it offers a generous free tier plan, which makes it very accessible for teams at all stages of growth. If you need a simpler way to organize and track tasks across various teams throughout your organization, Trello is a full-featured option that can help take your workflow to the next level.
If you're interested, you can try Trello today.