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The Ultimate Guide to Trello: Project Management
Welcome back to another article in the Ultimate Guide to Trello series!
In this article, I want to combine the different things I’ve gone over and show you how Trello is a fantastic tool for project management. Whether you are planning a launch or a move across the country, Trello allows you to break each task down into its simplest steps, set due dates, and delegate tasks. And, since projects rarely go as planned, Trello allows you to make changes as you go with its incredibly user-friendly drag and drop feature!
To illustrate how this all works, I am going to recreate the board I used for my recent move. I will show you how I organized all the different tasks that needed to get done, when they needed to be done by, and how I delegated them between the two of us.
So let’s get started!
Setting Up the Board
The first thing I did was create a general to-do board where I could write down any and everything that we needed to get done. This is helpful to do because you more than likely won’t think of everything at once, so having a place to jot down something as you think of it helps ensure that you’ll get it on your list.
So here is an example of what mine looked like:
As we got further into the move, I broke each of these steps down further, but it’s always a good practice to get the big picture things down first and go from there.
The next thing that I did was split the to-do list into categories. The categories I went with were General, Packing, Old Utilities, New Utilities, and Unpacking.
Things like buying packing supplies, creating an inventory list, hiring movers, and changing addresses, were on the general list, and then the rest were put on their appropriate lists.
So this is what it looked like after they were categorized:
It’s important to note that I created a new general to-do list and left the original to-do list there. I did this so that if I thought of something that we needed to do while I was out and about, I could easily throw it on the to-do list and then categorize it, date it, and delegate it once I got a chance.
And that brings me to the next step. When you’re managing any project, it’s important to have due dates for everything, no matter how trivial. If you don’t say that something needs to be done by a certain time or date, there’s no guarantee that it will be. So take the time to plan out when you need to have everything done by ahead of time, so that way once you’re in the trenches, things will move a little more smoothly.
I say that with a smile, because no matter how well I plan something, it rarely goes as anticipated! With that in mind, I try to schedule in some wiggle room as well.
We also had a pretty crazy month before the move, so I scheduled most of the general pre-move stuff to be done the second week in June. We were on vacation the third week in June. I scheduled the packing to be done the last week in June. We moved on July 1. And then I scheduled the post-move stuff to be done the first week in July.
So once it was all dated, it looked like this in the calendar mode:
And I gave us a week to get all the unpacking done. It didn’t make sense to schedule a room a day to unpack because I knew we would be unpacking the boxes as we needed stuff.
As I started working through my to-do list, I began to break the tasks down into simple steps. There are two different ways you can do this in Trello.
The first way would be to create new cards for each subtask, and then schedule and delegate them. This how I primarily handle subtasks because I rely pretty heavily on the calendar feature in Trello.
The other way is to create a checklist within the card. To do this, you open the card and select checklist. Here you are given the option to name the list. I just left it as Checklist for this example.
Now, inside this checklist, you can list out everything that needs to be done for this task and then check them off as you go.
So for this move, I created an inventory list so that I knew how many boxes I had from each room, what was in each box, what size box it was, and whether it contained fragile items or if it was heavy (books, records, etc.).
I also created a separate list for the movers with just the rooms and box numbers, so we were on the same page (we weren’t, but that’s another story!).
Here is what that looks like inside of the card:
The final thing that I did was choose which tasks I was going to complete and which I was going to have my other half do.
One of the things he took care of was setting up our new oil account. I had the name of the company and their number, so I added that info to the card and then sent it over to him.
You can read more on assigning members in the intro post here!
This was pretty much how I kept our move organized. I didn’t use Trello to keep a box inventory because it’s so much easier to move from room to room with a notebook in my hand (plus my kid is usually on my tablet).
I also didn’t go crazy with the subtasks or categories because, in my experience, simpler is always better. If you make something too complicated, it makes it more difficult to maintain. You don’t want to get halfway through a project and throw in the towel because your project management tool is too tedious to use. So always keep that in mind from the start.
Plus, it’s always easier to add more than to take something away. I am constantly modifying my systems as I go, and the simple setups I use allow me to do that. It always takes time to perfect a system.
The example I walked you through here can be applied to any type of project management, and any number of people can be added to the board to collaborate.
And finally, once you have the perfect system hashed out, you can use Trello to create a project template. This is perfect for projects that always have the same steps (or close to the same). You would create the template board, and then make a copy of it for each individual project. This can work for anything from publishing blog posts to entire launches! The point is to create a system and then use that system the same way every time. This will boost your productivity, reduce the chance for error, and streamline how you operate!
Do you use Trello as a project management tool? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
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