What is Trello and How To Use It?

In any industry, collaboration provides many benefits. Teams can accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently, and collaboration can also fuel innovation and foster creativity. Collaboration tools, by default, enable a group of two or more people to collaborate and move towards a common goal or objective. Although there are plenty of non-technical options, such as post-it notes, paper, whiteboards and flip charts available, in this article we will discuss a popular technical application—Trello. We will answer vital questions, and explain—in detail—how to use Trello.

The article will cover the following topics:

1. What is Trello?

2. Trello advantages

3. How to use Trello, including a demo

What is Trello?

Trello is a popular, simple, and easy-to-use collaboration tool that enables you to organize projects and everything related to them into boards. With Trello, you can find all kinds of information, such as: 

  • What’s being worked on?
  • Who’s working on what? 
  • What progress the project is making

Now, let’s talk about what makes Trello so special.

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Trello Advantages

  • Trello can be used immediately after signing up. Trello offers a free sign-up, after which you get access to almost all of its features. It is also a premium service, though most of the important features are available with the free option.
  • Trello follows the Kanban system, which is a popular methodology used to achieve lean management. This means that you can also achieve lean with Trello.
  • It’s mobile-friendly. Trello’s interface looks very similar to a mobile application and is very user-friendly. It also has a very popular mobile application that has the same features available in the desktop application.
  • All project-related items can be seen on one page.
  • Adding new members, creating issues, and assigning them is easy to do.

How to Use Trello - Demo

trello demo

Fig: You can go to trello.com and sign up if you’re a first-time user.

trello.com

Fig: Alternatively, you can log in to your account.

login

Fig: This is the screen that you’ll see when you log in for the first time

The screen will include all the various boards you’ve opened (in this case, zero) and the option to create a new one.

Unless you’re interested in creating a new personal board, for professional purposes, you need to set up a team. You have the option to do so later, too, but it’s best to get it done as soon as possible.

For that, you need to click on the option: “Create a team.”

create-a-team

Fig: Pop-up that shows up when you click on ‘Create a team.’

Here, you can provide a team name, describe what type of team it is, and include a brief description.

Once you’ve completed this, click on ‘Continue.’

invite-your-team

Fig: On clicking ‘Continue,’ an option to invite your team members appears. 

Fig: Write down the email IDs of your team members. They’ll each receive an invite to join Trello.

invite

Fig: Once complete, a page that lists your company’s details, like boards (projects it’s working on), members, settings, and so on, appears.

After this, you can go back to the homepage. 

Boards in Trello

boards

Fig: Here, you can see an option to create a board under the name of your team.

Select to create a board. 

create-a-board

Fig: Even if you click on ‘Create a board’ under the ‘Personal Boards,’ you can choose to add your team by clicking on the option that says ‘No team’ and then select your team name

personal-boards

Fig: Upon clicking on ‘Create Board,’ you receive access to the board.

team visible
Fig: Here, you can also select the option that says ‘Team Visible’ to change the privacy options of the board
You have the following options:

  • Private: Only board members can see and edit the board
  • Team: All members of the team can see and edit the board
  • Organization: All members of the organization can see the board. It’s an option that needs to be added to enable an enterprise team.
  • Public: Anyone on the internet has access to the board

Fig: There are also several options available to the right of the screen, including: 

  • About this board: Description about what the objective of the board is
  • Change the background
  • Search for a particular card
  • Stickers
  • Butler: Provides suggestions on actions to take
  • Power-ups: Additional features, like collaboration tools that can be added to your board (Only one available for free accounts)

Now, let’s assume that the team is working on a project to deliver software to a particular client.

add-a-list

Fig: The first step is to ‘Add a list,’ which represents the different steps you want to follow.

deliver-a-project

Fig: Once created, this represents the steps you need to take to deliver your project.

In this case, we’re using four lists:

  • To-do - To show projects that are yet to be started
  • In-progress - projects that are being worked on
  • On-hold - To represent projects that are paused for some reason
  • Completed - To show completed projects.
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Cards in Trello

cards


Fig: Once the lists are completed, cards need to be added. They represent the different tasks within the project.

In this case—‘Delivering product to company A’; and,‘Delivering product to company B.’

options-pop-up

Fig: Upon clicking a card, several options pop up.

You can add a description for that particular card and choose from various tasks to add to the card. Some examples include:

Members

members

Fig: Members who need to be involved at this stage.

Labels

labels

Fig: Labels that can be used to categorize the card.

Checklist

checklist.

Fig: A checklist to represent the different steps required to complete the project.

In this case, “the software development lifecycle.”

Due date

due date

Fig: An option to choose a due date for when the card should be completed.

Attachments

attachments

Fig: An option to add an attachment, from multiple sources.

For example, a ‘Requirements’ document. 

Cover

cover

Fig: You can also add a cover to make the card more visually appealing.

Once that’s done, you can get started with your project. 

Getting Started With Your Project Using Trello

getting-started

Fig: In this case, we’ll put the project under ‘In progress’ by dragging and dropping the card into that list.

in-progress

Fig: While the card is ‘In-progress,’ we can see what progress has been made. These changes are reflected in the checklist.

on hold

Fig: If the project is delayed for some reason, you can move it to the ‘On hold’ list.

Once the delay is lifted, the project is placed back to ‘In-progress.’ After it’s done, the project is placed into the ‘Completed’ list.

archive-button

Fig: Once complete, you can right-click on the project, to archive it by clicking on the ‘archive’ button.

project-completion

Fig: Archive representing the completion of the project.

If the archived card needs to be reactivated, go to the menu. 

select more

Fig: Select ‘More’.

archived-items

Fig: Then, select ‘Archived items’ to return the card on to the board

On the home screen, you can also select on ‘Templates,’ which will show you a selection of pre-made options to choose from. 

template

Fig: Select the ‘Template’ option.

The ‘Home’ option on the dashboard shows every activity that has occurred on your boards.

home-option

Fig: The ‘Home’ option

Another essential thing to remember is—depending on your requirements—you can create a single board for a particular project. However, with a free account, there is a limit of 10 boards.

There you go! You now know how to use Trello!

Want to Learn More About Project Management?

There are all sorts of tools and techniques available to help you manage your projects more efficiently and effectively, no matter what field you are in. To learn how to streamline any projects you will work on, check out Simplilearn’s PMP® Certification Training Course. The course covers all of the best practices and techniques found in the industry-recognized PMBOK guide. Upon completion of the course, you should be able to pass the PMP exam with flying colors!

About the Author

Rahul ArunRahul Arun

Rahul is a Senior Research Analyst at Simplilearn. Blockchain, Cloud Computing, and Machine Learning are some of his favorite topics of discussion. Rahul can be found listening to music, doodling, and gaming.

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