How good is Trello

Project management with Trello in the test

Trello is wonderfully simple and very helpful. It is based on the visual representation of agile project management methods such as SCRUM or Kanban. But what does it look like behind the facade? What features does Trello offer? And what about data protection?

What is trello

On their website https://trello.com, the Trello marketing people summarize their tool with the "flexible and visual way of organizing everything with everyone". The core of Trello are neither detailed to-do lists nor bar charts, but simply a large wall with modeled sticky notes. These are called cards by Trello and can be created with one click and easily moved with the mouse. This gives all project members a visual overview of all tasks and their status at all times.

Start immediately

Getting started is made as easy as possible by Trello: I just need to register with any email address and immediately see my Trello board. This awaits me with three commonly used sections: To Do, In Progress and Done. If you like, you can give the board the name of your project. Next, all tasks are then laid out as cards and assigned to the sections. One click in a free field is enough and the task is defined.

If you like it in more detail, you can also add a detailed description. And if you like it more visual, just add a picture. Any files can be easily added as attachments for productivity.

Project management features

Invite more members

Trello is certainly suitable for small projects that I do all by myself. Here it helps me to always keep track of all my activities. However, it only becomes real project management when I work with other participants. There are clever and questionable options here:

  • Of course, it is always questionable to enter the email address of the new project member into Trello without being asked.
  • It is better if my colleague has registered himself with Trello. Then I can easily find it in the search. To do this, you have to know that you are also visible to others.
  • The smartest way is surely to distribute a link that Trello generates for me. If others have received this link from me by email, they can register and join the project immediately.

Intuitive drag and drop

You can actually move anything on the Trello board. The three predefined lists To Do, In Progress and Done all contain cards with tasks. The order of the tasks among each other can be easily changed. When a task has been completed, it can simply be dragged into the Done list with the mouse. The lists can also change their order by clicking and dragging. This becomes interesting at the latest when I've added new lists for tasks that are paused, for example.

Expand tasks

In some cases there may be a simple brief description of the whole task. Often, however, additional information is required, which I can add after clicking on the task:

  • A detailed description allows a lot of additional text. The formatting of this text reminds me of old text chats, because ** bold ** or * italic * need these asterisks to appear exactly the same.
  • They are more helpful Comments: Here I can attach files, mention other project members or insert references to other cards (i.e. tasks).
  • Members can be assigned to a task. As well Events and Attachments. This means that I have the classic elements of project management fully available in the details of a task.

Observe tasks

I automatically observe every task I set up. I can also put any further tasks under my observation in the details. This then leads to the fact that I can see all activities for these tasks in a chronological stream in the menu (fade in at the top right). This way I keep an eye on all status changes, additions and comments.

Terrible help

Trello is so self-explanatory and intuitive that I will hardly need any help with basic functions. The help provided may be extensive, but it has been machine translated. This then leads to awkward and incorrect sentences like this: "In card descriptions, add a blank line after the text before the hyphen line so that the hyphens are not interpreted as heading syntax." The community is not exactly bursting with enthusiasm either , Answers to questions can take two days or more.

Who is Trello?

It is always astonishing how little US tech companies reveal themselves. At Trello they are a little bit more generous, and so we can read:

  • Launched in 2011 by Fog Creek Software
  • In 2014, Trello, Inc. is spun off as an independent company
  • In 2017, the British company Atlassian bought Trello, Inc.

Acceptable data protection

Trello was founded in the USA, and even if the owner company is now British, Trello's servers are still in the USA. Everyone has to judge for themselves how secure the data is from government access. The data protection conditions are easy to understand. The basic attitude of Trello, which can be assessed positively, says: "Your content is yours." At the same time, Trello must of course have permission to save my content and display it to me again. And when I delete my account, not all of my data is deleted, so that the other project members can still see my activities from the past.

A funny figment of legal quibbles is still hidden in the terms of use. Here Trello not only insures itself against any liability like all other companies. It is also explicitly mentioned here that Trello is not suitable for operating a nuclear power plant or for controlling an airplane.

What do I pay for it?

Trello has a clear freemium model. That means, I get the basic functions for free, I have to pay for more performance. Whereby free nowadays always means that I pay with my personal data.

The paid version is called Business Class and costs $ 9.99 per month per user. So if you have a team with 10 employees, you will pay 1,198.80 US dollars for one year.

My conclusion on Trello

Trello has found a convincing way to transfer the Kanban and SCRUM methods to the digital world. Trello is consistently simplified and enables a quick start to use. Anyone who can exhaust the free version and manage small and medium-sized projects with their team will find a very good and pragmatic solution here. For larger projects with many participants and interdependent tasks, Trello will soon reach its limits.