Over the years, I’ve been involved in a number of engineering projects and the one common determinant between a smooth and successful project execution vs failure, is communication and collaboration. And – to be honest – it doesn’t matter how large or how small your project is, if you don’t have your team working from a common playbook, you’re simply going to encounter problems.
Projects involve people and in order for a project to succeed those people must work from a common roadmap. Assumptions are bad things. So, we need to mitigate them.
There are a number of strategies and tools for keeping project teams informed and in sync. From calendarized schedules to Gantt charts and online file rooms, each strategy or combination of tools has distinct advantages and varying levels of complexity. Sometimes the more complex tools can take on a life of their own – they can be onerous to update and for simpler projects may end up becoming as difficult to manage as the project itself.
For this reason, we’re big proponents of old school methodologies. Lists, whiteboards and post-it notes. Yup. That’s right. Keeping it simple is more-often-than-not the preferred route. Of course, practically speaking, whiteboards and cork-boards are not going to be effective for distributed teams or teams on the go – they just don’t cut it. Luckily, there’s a digital alternative – enter Trello – a cloud-based application that catapults the concept of boards, lists and cards into the digital realm.
Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way.
Trello workspaces allow teams to create boards (for specific projects) and pin task lists and virtual work cards to the various lists. Cards can be assigned, deadlines can be set, checklists created and each card allows for links and comments – make updates to a card and other team members working on that card are immediately informed.
When the status of a task changes, you simply move a card from one status list to another by selecting, dragging and dropping. Easy and intuitive! And – boards can be private or public.
We use Trello to collaborate internally and with clients on all our projects. Feedback from clients has been very positive. The tool is easy to understand with minimal time invested and clients like the ability to see current project status at a glance.
The best way to get a feeling for the power of Trello is to sign up for a free Trello account and create your own project (link to sign-up below in resources). Check out these sample boards for a bit of inspiration.
Trello - Sign Up for Free
Yes. Yes, it’s free. Trello basic is a fantastic way to get started. You’ll get unlimited boards, lists, cards and members – plus you can integrate it with Google Drive, Dropbox and Box. Start your free account here.