If you manage teams and projects, you know how challenging it is to stay on top of deadlines, load balancing, open issues, and ever-changing to-dos. Most project management software is designed to help you manage resources and deadlines, but is about as user friendly as the space shuttle. That’s why, despite access to a bevy of modern software, many of us resort to tracking day-to-day project status on white boards and yellow stickies. Now there’s a solution so much better it’ll knock your socks off.
I wish I could shout this from a mountaintop: Trello is the best project management tool I’ve ever found. Let’s be clear about what Trello is, though. It’s not a replacement for Microsoft Project. It’s not going to let you pour in tasks, deadlines and resources, and get a Gantt chart that shows the critical path to shipping your project on time. Instead, Trello is a web tool that lets you manage people and tasks in real time in a fluid and simple way, so everyone can always see what is assigned to them, the status of each task, and collaborate on the project’s status.
What’s the basic idea behind Trello? Imagine dividing your activities into categories that are reflected as vertical columns on a big white board. Each project or task is pinned on one of these lanes. You can assign that card to a specific person by writing his or her name on the card. And you can add all sorts of information to the back of the card — to-do items, granular tasks, checklists, due dates, and free-form notes. That’s Trello. Check out this video for a look at how the program works:
Trello is free and getting an account takes just moments. Your first board is actually sort of a tutorial, filled with cards that explain how the site works. You can add any number of additional boards, with a central dashboard serving as a traffic control system to help you stay on top of lots of project simultaneously. You can invite any number of users to your board, and different boards can have different memberships.
I love the ease with which Trello lets you collaborate with a team. Anyone on the team can add cards, change assignments, and add notes to cards, for example, and an activity pane keeps you informed about what’s changed. Everything is done via drag and drop — after creating a card, you can drag it from one category to the next, and then assign it to a team member by dragging her name to the card. Want to see what tasks are assigned to you? It’s a snap to filter by person or labels as well. Trello is the magic bullet that can transform you and your team into project management experts — check it out today.
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