There are dozens of popular tools currently being used to help manage Agile Projects. One of these tools is Trello, a simple, intuitive task board that allows users to quickly add cards or tasks to a ‘To Do’ column or ‘Backlog’.
In a recent project, a Trello board was used to create:
- Multiple backlog columns – Infrastructure, Back-end, API, Front-end and Migration;
- Sprint Board columns – Sprint X Plan, In Play, Blocked / On Hold, In Dev QA and Done – Sprint X;
- Labels – 11 labels (limited to 9 colours) to filter cards.
Following the end of sprint development, a second Trello board was created for managing defects arising from testing. The set-up included:
- Multiple backlog columns – P1 – Showstopper, P2 – Critical, P3 – Medium, P4 – Low, Will Not Fix and Change Requests;
- Progress columns – In Progress, Ready for Dev Test / Merge, Ready for QA, Passed QA / Resolved and Failed QA;
- Labels – nine coloured labels to filter cards.
Trello’s strength is its simplicity. Some of the team, including myself, also have a Trello board to manage personal tasks at home, as its simple interface is easy for family members to use.
Trello has many extensions, including extensions for estimates and ID numbers. However, neither are exported into Excel. More importantly, Trello does not have extensions for swim lanes, additional label colours, column work in progress (WIP) limits, task types, Git integration, version control, subtasks, workflows or key reports.
Three sprints into the project, when the number of tasks and technical complexity increased, it became more necessary to use task types, subtasks, assignee swim lanes and automated reporting, which were not available in Trello.
Visibility and transparency were chosen over archiving columns with completed cards. Therefore, to avoid 29 columns with over 460 cards on a single board, a second Trello board was created to manage defects and change requests arising from the testing phase. It would have been beneficial to have an option to group multiple boards under a single project, but this is not available in Trello.
In summary, Trello does not have all the required features and reports for managing large or complex projects unlike more sophisticated tools. A comparison of Trello and JIRA can be found here.
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