Project Management using Trello

This is a quick overview of how I have used Trello to organize my team on a day to day basis. This process was refined throughout my 8 months at Meetup and I found it to be very effective form of project management.  

Trello Boards

I have utilized three Trello boards to manage my team's work. One organizes launched features and another organizes the product roadmap. The third catalogues the features being developed in the current sprint. This is the board the team uses every day to track progress.

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Anatomy of the Sprint Board

  • each column is a feature
  • cards in the column are the individual tasks for that feature
  • the column is divided into different stages of development to track progress
  • cards are labeled with the type of task (front end, back end, design, investigative)

The card at the top contains the spec, design, and comments for that feature. This card moves from the Roadmap Board to the Sprint Board and eventually to the Launched Board.

A very high level Sprint Board can be seen here. The specs and tasks would be more detailed if this were a real sprint ;)

Meetings

I find it helpful to mirror the Sprint Board using post-its on a wall. During the daily standup, the team can point out the specific tasks they are working on. They can physically move a task from one stage to the next, helping everyone get a better sense of what has been completed and what needs to get done. I use this in combination with an end-of-sprint countdown to help everyone budget their time and work.

In addition to standup, I facilitate three 1-hour meetings spread across a two week sprint:  Sprint Planning, Sprint Retrospective, and What's Next.

Sprint Planning

The whole team looks at the items at the top of the product roadmap. We go through them one by one familiarizing ourselves with the requirements. We will play planning poker to estimate the story points (development difficulty) for each feature. Using previous sprints as a reference point, we know how much we can expect to get done and we select features appropriately. Once selected, we discuss the tasks required of each feature. At the end of the meeting, all this is added to the Sprint Board.

What's Next

This meeting happens halfway through the sprint in preparation for the following sprint. I present each feature at the top of the Roadmap Board. These items are prioritized by business value and difficulty (an estimate determined by similar features in the past). This is an opportunity for the team to ask questions or raise concerns. This way, there is time to address these problems before we start development the following week.

Sprint Retrospective

At the end of the sprint we review the work that we were able to complete. I will total the story points for the features that made it into QA and plot it against previous sprints. We discuss the problems that came up and strategies for working through them better in the future.