Friday, October 7, 2011

App Review: Trello for Project Management

Ever feel the need for a project management tool that would help you manage other project management tools you’re currently using? I know the feeling all too well.

Whether it’s a software development project where you’re allocating tasks, managing revisions, tracking milestones & deliverables, or a collaborative publication project where you’re using wikis, emails, and to-do-lists, things get messy sometimes, and you might feel like reverting back to ad-hoc administration. Do I see heads nodding – yes? :-)

Enter… Trello : A productivity app that allows you to seamlessly combine project management functions like task workflows, checklists, work assignments and revisions, with collaboration  features such as memos, announcements, comments and votes. Additionally, the app also supports embedding a variety of online content from multimedia to data feeds in case your project needs to use it.

The overarching software metaphor for Trello is that of a bulletin board. You start with a blank board and create lists using different cards on the board. Each list consists of related cards and each card has a task or a message on it. People can be assigned to a card if needed (e.g. assigning tasks to employees or asking a question from a person). The bulletin board and cards metaphor is linked nicely to affordances like flipping a card, attaching messaging, posting notes, assigning people (through drag-and-drop), hence making the app very intuitive and easy to learn.

Overall, you can use the bulletin board to communicate messages, post information, organize tasks and track progress in one centralized location.

Trello is promoting itself as a horizontal app suitable for a variety of projects in different industry settings, and the homepage lists a few different use cases for its potential application.

In my case, Trello would be potentially useful for collaborative research with multiple researchers working in different but related areas through various stages of conceptualization, investigation, analysis, and dissemination. It would certainly be an interesting experience!

Here’s a quick 5-minute  video (errr... 7 minutes actually) explaining the features of Trello.
Take a look, and let me know what you think.