Shiny Object: Trello


February 21, 2014 by Beth

I first learned about Trello in this informative post on helpful online business tools over on the Buffer blog, one of my favorite go-to resources for genuinely unique, cutting edge, applicable information for both my business and life in general.

Image via Trello developer Fog Creek

Image via Trello developer Fog Creek Software.

I marked it to explore and revisit later and kept it in the back of my mind – I don’t like to just use a tool because it’s emerging or popular, I want to have a specific application before I dive in to try it out.  A new client project with a number of moving parts (such as an editorial calendar, a solid approach to blog posts and informative content, a website revision and an overall marketing strategy) and many sub-tasks as part of each aspect of the project proved the perfect opportunity.

Additionally, for quite some time, my preferred tool for organizing client projects was Action Method by Behance.  Tragically, the product is sunsetting – but two good things came of it: I’ve been exposed to the 99U Workbook (one of my other go-to resources for inspired and actionable content), and the awareness that I needed a flexible tool to help me visually separate project components.  As a side note, I’ve gone back to TeuxDeux for my tasks, and Evernote for everything else under the sunOthers love Trello as their task list, but I work differently.

Trello is specifically ideal (for me) for managing projects that require “buckets.”  At its most basic, the site (and its related desktop and mobile device apps) allow me to turn something such as a list of topics for a blog, e-newsletter or publications into a very flexible and visual idea board.  Picture it like this:

By Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands (Wikimedia Hackathon 2013, Amsterdam) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands (Wikimedia Hackathon 2013, Amsterdam) via Wikimedia Commons

You’re in a brainstorming meeting with colleagues on marketing tactics for the upcoming year.  There are tactics that everyone can agree will be deployed: advertising, a company blog, an e-newsletter, a website and maybe some events or trade shows.  Someone in the meeting has written all of these marketing channels – or buckets – on a giant conference room whiteboard.  Then, everyone takes a stack of yellow Post-It notes and starts putting their specific requests on the board in the proper channel – under advertising, there might be ads for the year in the local business journal and a statewide lifestyle publication, and individuals start contributing suggestions for blog topics under that header.


Photo via Trello

In Trello, the channels (advertising, blog) would be your boards, and the specifics (that business journal ad) are cards.  Even better, in Trello you can flip those virtual cards over and “jot notes” on the back – you can add a checklist of items needed for the ad or blog post, attach files and related graphics, or even comment back and forth with co-workers about the project.  I love that because it can cut out dozens of emails, and the comments are stored alongside the project.

The photos I’ve borrowed from the Trello site and others do not do this tool justice.  For a complete visual of how fantastically it can work for projects, check out this link.

Let me know what you think and if you’re using Trello.  I always enjoy knowing about tools that others find useful – it’s all about finding the silver bullet combination that suits your own style.

The Shiny Objects series is intended to highlight tools & resources.  I am a voracious consumer of online content, and enjoy trying new apps, software and other resources to help me manage my business, personal life and daily tasks.  I’m quick to move the tools I test drive to my short list of keepers and to deep six those that do not make the cut.  This is by no means comprehensive – additions are always welcome.  Enjoy!  

Check out my new series on getting organized with tech on the lovely IHeartOrganizing blog.

I frequently receive requests from friends and clients for insight on various tactics, so if you’re interested in individual or team training or work sessions on innovative tools and strategies, social media or marketing and communication tactics, I’m happy to help… and I work with some other fantastic trainers, team builders and strategists!


One thought on “Shiny Object: Trello

  1. betaylor says:

    What a coincidence! I am using Trello with a marketing partner for the same purposes. 🙂

    Definitely liking it so far, and trying to adapt it to my own workflow and clients. Thanks for the overview and links. Very helpful!


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