For the last few years the Web team have been using, and adapting, a form of Agile/Kanban board to manage what tasks need to be done and by whom. It has served us very well, but this week we moved it online to Trello, a free, hosted service from Fog Creek Software.
Why we went digital
When we started using the board the Web team consisted of three people: Steve the Web Manager, me (Gareth) the Assistant Web Manager, and Chris the Web software developer.
We all sat in the same room together, and the board was just a few steps away from our desks. It was handy, and quick, and accessibly. But as the team has grown we’ve now spilled out into an office on another floor of the same building.
It’s not quite so easy now for all five members of the team to add to or move tickets around the board. Occasionally some of us work from home too.
The main catalyst, however, was in response to a recent crisis in which our intrepid leader, Steve, fell of a ladder and broke his foot (you can see photos of his recent x-rays on TwitPic). He could be working from home for some time now and we wanted to make him feel included so we moved to Trello.
It was pretty painless to set up and add users to our newly created organisation and board. I then spent a couple of hours migrating our open tickets over from the whiteboard into Trello.
Labelling and assigning tasks to users was simple thanks to Trello’s excellent keyboard shortcuts.
I did wonder if I’d miss physically moving cards from one column to the next, but Trello has a neat little trick whereby when you ‘pick up’ a card it rotates it a little to indicate that it’s been picked-up. It’s really effective and surprisingly satisfying:
We’ve decided to trial working with Trello for a few months, certainly while Steve is recovering and may have to work from home.
So far the response from the rest of the team has been very positive (after we switched off email notifications). It’s attractive, it’s simple and it’s intuitive. No doubt we’ll report back in a few months with our thoughts on how the move from analogue to digital has gone.