Hi my name’s Cem Bulgan (pronounced Gem), I am the ICT Training officer for Hackney Council and have worked here for nearly 4 years. I started as an apprentice within HR and worked on the delivery of our elearning site, the Hackney Learning Hub. I also provided Council wide familiarisation training for the myoffice switch over from the outdated Windows XP operating system.
This is hopefully my first of many posts. The aim here is to help you better understand the tools that are either currently being used or are available to staff which will help you improve your day to day productivity.
The first one I would like to share with you is an online tool called Trello. What is Trello you ask? – Well Trello is an awesome project management tool that makes collaboration easy and even fun! “Fun” I hear you say…. stay with me on that one. It’s also a newish concept to me but has already helped me manage ‘To do’ lists and projects I’m working on.
Have you found that you create a project plan that no one references? How about that moment just before a meeting when everyone tried to update the plan at the same time? Well Trello solves these problems – and more. Here’s how.
Each project you’re working on is represented by what Trello calls a ‘Board’. A Trello board is basically a web page containing lists laid out horizontally on the page so you can get a bird’s eye view of your project. Items within the lists, can be dragged and dropped onto other lists or reordered within the lists. It’s simply a collection of work activities known as ‘cards’ that are organised into a set of different stages, called ‘lists’.
Individual cards can contain checklists, images, attachments, deadline dates, coloured labels, and discussion notes from others who share the board. You can create as many boards as you want – one for “projects”, one for “team management” and individually manage who has access to them.
You can probably see how this can come in handy. Trello cards are like sticky notes you arrange on a cork board – that is, digital sticky notes that are searchable, shareable, and come with reminders. You can also create cards via email.
Check out this short video giving a quick overview of Trello:
Using Trello in combination with other tools for super productivity
Trello also allows you to integrate information on the cards with other applications, which allows teams of people to work very efficiently. Some of these tools are Wunderlist (a task management tool) and Ganttify (a project management Gantt tool).
Good practice in this area has been achieved in social care where the original activities are prepared on Trello cards and then represented spatially as a Gantt.
Creating new Trello Cards can also automatically create new Wunderlist tasks which the team all work to and share.
Now that you have seen what Trello can do, here are a few words from Jeremy Tuck (project manager for social care) explaining how much Trello has helped him and his colleagues within Hackney.
Q1: Jeremy could you please tell me how you found out about Trello?
“The main problem I was trying to solve is trying to get the entire project team to interact with tasks in a more enjoyable, open and in a current way. Trello and Ganttify had some of the team turn into project leads in no time and (more importantly) made everyone more aware of timelines and scheduling conflicts…. which are usually the dry domain of project managers alone.”
Q2: How long have you been using Trello for your work within Hackney Council?
“For the last year. We decided to work with all these new tools. I have been working with Wunderlist (beautiful) for several years now.”
Q3: How often do you use Trello on a daily basis?
“Often when when plans need to be revised. Wunderlist is the more daily used tool.”
Q4: What single feature on Trello do you find necessary now for your day to day work?
“Dates, prioritisation and grouping of tasks – and for the entire team to see.”
Q5: What are the advantages over other project management tools?
“These tools are quick and easy. Therefore you use them for everything and don’t forget anything.”
Q6: How does it differ to more traditional project management tools?
“They are mobile, cloud-based and focused”
Q7: Did your team embrace using it? And how
“Our team meetings are run solely using Wunderlist and there’s no need for action minutes, because we update them then and there and they’re immediately updated.”
Q8: Main advantages over using something like Trello?
“Visual, especially when working with Ganttify, which means its owned more widely and not seen solely as something project managers do.”
Q9: Did you need training on it, was it intuitive?
“Very intuitive, but you need to spend time to get the best out of it, but once you do that it’s brilliant.”
Q10: Are there any other apps that link into it?
“The marriage of Trello, Wunderlist and Ganttify is a beautiful thing.”
Q11: How intuitive have you found using Trello on your mobile device?
Now you have heard the benefits of using Trello and how it can assist in your work within Hackney council, I invite you to sign up and begin to use this tool. Follow these simple steps below on how to do this.
- Go to https://trello.com/signup
- Enter your name, email and password
- Click on Create New Account
Once you start creating boards you can add members via their emails, whether the board is private, public or for just your team. You can also invite people using a special link for each individual board.
As you heard from Jeremy Trello is also mobile compatible and can be downloaded on iOS and android devices, allowing you to update your boards on the fly.
Jeremy also mentioned some other tools called Ganttify and Wunderlist, these are also free productivity tools that work great in conjunction with Trello. I will dive into these in more detail in my next blog just to not overwhelm you all. But feel free to check them out if you like, they’re great.
Please feel free to comment below if you are already using Trello, would like to share your experience with this great free tool, or if you would like more blogs like this.
I hope you found this blog useful and informative.