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I’ll show you how to use Trello to take control of your scrum-based projects. Trello is a popular online project management tool with a number of extensions that enhance its capabilities.

What is Scrum?
Scrum is a framework that is a flavor of the Agile methodology for software development. In classic project management, all of the tasks required to completed the project would be completed before the product of service would be delivered to the custom. With Scrum, the project deliverables are created and delivered in small pieces over short periods, called Sprints. Some of the advantages of this method are
  • The customer does not have to wait until the project is completed to receive value.
  • The team that is creating the product gets feedback earlier. This will alert both sides to problems with the product, and allow it to be fixed early in the process.
  • No time or effort is wasted if the customer changed their mind on the requirements.
  • The limited number of task brings out the power of focus. The team is less likely to make mistakes , and will complete tasks faster than if they were multi-tasking.
“Multitasking Makes You Stupid. Doing more than one thing at a time makes you slower and worse at both tasks. Don’t do it. If you think this doesn’t apply to you, you’re wrong—it does.”
Overview of the Scrum method

The product manager places tasks into the Backlog. They are weighted by level of effort required to complete and by priority, which is the importance to the customer.

The Scrum master plans the scrum by deciding which tasks are moved from the Backlog into the Sprint.

  1. The Sprint starts
  2. Team members take tasks from ‘To Do’ based on priority and work on them until completion.
  3. Each task moves from ‘To Do’, to ‘Doing’ to ‘Done’ buckets.
  4. At the end of the Sprint , the team reviews
    • What went well
    • What went badly
    • What can be changed to make the next Sprint go smoothly.
    • What they completed to decide if they should do more or fewer tasks on the next Scrum. They also review problems and inefficiencies that were obstacles to working faster.
What is Trello?

Trello is an online collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.

Create an account on Trello
Create a Project Dashboard

Now that you have an account and are logged into Trello, lets set up a scrum-based project board. I name the board after the Project. You can have up to 10 boards on a free account.

Create Lists

As I explained above, tasks will move through various stages during a Sprint. In Trello, each stage or status will be represented by a list column. The idea is that each task will move from left to right across the board during the Sprint. The goal is to get everything into the Done column. However, some task may not make it. I’ll explain what happened to those later on.  I’ll give you my list set up as an example, with a short description of each one.

  • Resources – Documents or links that are frequently used.
  • Backlog – These are the tasks remaining to complete the project.
  • Sprint Planning – This space is used to prepare for the next Sprint without interfering with the current one.
  • This Sprint – Tasks in current Sprint that have not yet been worked on.
  • Doing – Tasks that are currently being worked on.
  • Done – Tasks that have been completed. From here they will be archived before the next Sprint.
  • Blocked – Tasks that could not be completed due to some external requirement. Example: code needed to be checked out to testing environment, but it had not been promoted from Development yet.
examplescrumboard trello

Example of Scrum Board

And there you have it from the Dashboard and List level. Let’s talk about tasks.

Tasks

Here are the Task fields that I use and how I use them.

  • Title – States goal of the task
  • Members – (optional) Person(s) who will complete the task.
  • Labels – I use to describe what aspect of the project task affects. For my Web site, a task to write an About Page or blog post(like this one!) would be labelled ‘content’. A task to change the appearance or behavior of the site would be ‘design’.
  • Checklist – I put requirements here. Example: ‘Add site logo to Home Page’ may have requirements for size, format, colors, or perhaps need to link to a URL.
  • Attachment – Attach files or URL’s associated with the task.

You can view my example read-only Scrum board here.

What’s Next

Knowing how to manage projects, whether personal or for your business, is a good skill to have. In addition to tracking tasks, being able to create reports that show the overall progress, identify problem areas, and measure the teams’ efficiency are handy. They’ll keep your teammates aware of the status and help you turn your processes to be more efficient. I’ll cover these tools in the next Trello for Scrum post.

Resources