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We use Trello. (codetunes.com)
126 points by szymo 1605 days ago | hide | past | web | 61 comments | favorite

We have been using Trello for about two months and it is amazing how even the non-technical users could now finally "visualize" the project life cycle.

Trello is disarmingly simple and like (early) Twitter, does one thing and it does it really well. This leads to users invent all sorts of use cases for it (again like Twitter).

Trello, if it becomes wildly popular, can finally pull companies from the "Gantt chart" mindset we borrowed from Manufacturing to a more collaborative model. Plus with all the cards being visible to everyone by default, the unproductive role-based access measures will be also rid off for good.

> it is amazing how even the non-technical users could now finally "visualize" the project life cycle.

We sell tailor made wedding dresses online. We use Trello to control all steps of the order-to-delivery process. Our pre-sales and post-sales teams share the same cards organized by bride name.

Trello is great, I feel it will greatly influence teams which require collaboration and status tracking.

But the way I see it, a lot of discipline with be required to 'update' it every now and then. Some thing that I felt will always be a problem with any process. Every time a process like this springs up, I get enthusiastic then the enthusiasm wears away.

So as far as I'm concerned I still feel nothing really beats managing project from a notebook. You can't really get any thing as flexible and a limitless creative tool called pen/pencil on any electronic device. And the ability to just express your ideas as they are on paper is unbeatable.

GTD was life changing. Kanban boards are not.

I have, use, and love my digital note pad, the Asus EeeNote. While it was only sold in China and has since long been discontinued, it is an amazing device for me and tracking my life and my projects. What the device is basically boils down to a Wacom digitizer laid over a black and white screen with a Linux kernel powering the backend (and Qt powering the front-end). While it was still supported, it offered automatic uploads of your files to Evernote, though it has not been updated since Evernote changed their sign-in process so this no longer works. It does have a micro SD card slot and an incredibly old version of Firefox (Firefox 2 I think). Since it is a Wacom tablet, you can rest your hands on the screen all you want, and the screen is textured so it feels almost like writing on paper. It can also be plugged into a PC and act as a Wacom digitizer on your screen for Photoshop, OneNote, or anything else you need to use a pen for.

Unfortunately it was never sold outside of China and was quickly discontinued. Other markets got the Asus PadFone instead, which was more expensive and not nearly as simple as a digital notepad. What you describe (a notebook, with lament over collaboration) could be solved with a well-supported device like the EeeNote. It truly is as flexible and limitlessly creative as a pen and paper [1]. It's a shame Asus never gave it a real try.

[1] http://i.imgur.com/tYQlX1C.jpg

That's all fine and good if you're the only person working on the project, but when you have multiple people involved, you need something more than a notebook.

> Trello, if it becomes wildly popular, can finally pull companies from the "Gantt chart" mindset we borrowed from Manufacturing to a more collaborative model.

A more collaborative model, that we also borrowed from engineering. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Production_System#Common...

Man TPS... been a while. While studying mechanical engineering in college we learned about TPS in an industrial system's engineering class.

The professor, I think a little bitter that it became known as Toyota's always like to say it was an American idea. At the time American auto was fat happy and lazy, not seeing the need to eliminate "muda". William Edwards Deming was trying to get his "lean" ideas across to American auto mfg, but they weren't interested.

He went to Japan/Toyota and and that team is where the Toyota Production System came to be. This is also a major factor in how Japanese autos really kicked the crap out of American for so long. Only once American autos realized how bad they were getting beat up did they finally put an effort into getting lean and started to study the TPS. You can see how long its taken them to (arguably) catch up.

Japan honored his teachings with the naming of their highest manufacturing award: The Deming Prize. A former Deming Prize winner, Yoji Akao taught similar ideas and now that is a high award for American quality, the Akao Prize

Anywho, just thought it was a cool story

Now you know why we like to say kanban and kaizen so much!

One of the areas where Trello really excels is representing agile workflows, as evidenced by the many organizations that use Trello for internal organization. That said, I think Trello's biggest strength is the huge amount of flexibility you get to develop and experiment with a system of organization that you're comfortable with.

You probably wouldn't guess this just from a glance at Trello's UI, which is surprisingly clean and uncluttered. At its core, it's just a bunch of cards on a board (and you can use it as such), but as this article mentions, you can pull in more powerful features like checklists and labels to represent almost any workflow you can think of. It's a surprisingly powerful, modular system.

I agree completely, I've tried many project management apps and the main problem I had with them was the lack of flexibility - each had their own idea how project management should look and you didn't have a lot to say. Trello on the other hand really allows you to adjust the workflow to team and project needs, the concept is both simple and powerful.

Does anyone knows what is Trello business model? I always enjoy seeing "free forever" but, you know, only a few things really are free.

We plan to offer add-on and premium services that might be of use to people who are getting a lot of value out of Trello already. For example you could imagine that large corporations that already have Trello throughout their organization might be happy to pay for centralized administration utilities.

(PS I'm the founder of Fog Creek, creator of Trello)

Thanks for the quick anwser. Any chance to have a download version anytime? I mean, a pay to download is totally acceptable. I'm asking this from a European points of view as Personal information could be stored into trello and Personal data protection laws in Europe are somehow different and more binding than the US ones.

I think I can confidently say that we will never offer that. The engineering costs are prohibitive and not cost-effective, even if you can charge the companies that need it.

That said, if there are things that we can do to increase privacy while still hosting Trello on our own servers, we'll certainly consider those. I never want to commit to any particular feature, but it is not impossible that one day we will provide IP whitelisting (so a given board is only available from approved IPs) or even client-side encryption. I should reiterate that neither of those features are in our near-term plans, but at least they are not completely out of the question. Having been in the downloaded software business for ten years, I can safely say though, that we are never doing that again.

I can confidently say we'll never use Trello if we can't host it locally; integrate it into our directory system, back it up and manage upgrades on our own timeline, and have the assurance that it will continue to be accessible even if you as a company are not.

It's unfortunate that there's no meeting in the middle.

Some of the planned business features would be able to meet you in the middle, but like Joel said, we have no plans to ever sell a self hosted version. We understand that means some companies' policies will prevent some people from using Trello, but its a tradeoff we made.

As an aside, I suspect a few of the companies who, in the past, could "never" use software that wasn't installed on their own systems are probably using Salesforce now.

It's not that we have inflexible arbitrary rules, but rather, considered reasoning as to why we don't want to depend on externally hosted services, and sufficient competitors in most spaces that are willing to provide self-hosted products. Companies such as Atlassian even go so far as to provide the source code, as do others, which has allowed us to maintain critical (non-atlassian) services well past the time they were discontinued by their parent company.

How many years do we have left with FogBugz before you kill the download version?

We are in the middle of getting Safe Harbor certified, which allows us to comply with all EU Data Protection laws, so that should no longer be an impediment for you.

One big problem with Trello at the moment is that it doesn't support multiple accounts (in the same way as Google do for example). I saw an interview somewhere claiming you use Trello for both personal and work stuff, and can't figure out how unless you use one account for both which is very bad practise.

You could use different browsers but that is a pain. And even that solution wouldn't work on mobile where you would have to keep logging out and back in again (really tedious, won't get notifications, impossible for users like me who don't even know our passwords as they are stored in a password manager).

This ultimately forces me to use Trello for work (and only one work at that) or personal but not both. In this day and age multiple accounts should really be standard (I'm looking at you Dropbox) but if you can't at least let work pay so I can have a practical personal account too.

Even with one account, you can put all your work-related boards in an organization and keep them separate from your personal boards that way. It's not exactly the same as the way Google does it.

I assume Dropbox doesn't allow multiple accounts because it would become a trivial workaround to their storage limits and seriously cut into the number of people they can get to upgrade to the premium version.

> Even with one account, you can put all your work-related boards in an organization and keep them separate from your personal boards that way.

But that means the credentials, access logs etc of one account are being used for both work and personal data. If for example the account you use is a work one (using Trello's google account login) then should you leave/be terminated by the company then they will disable/delete that account and now you've lost access to your personal stuff too. The other way around where work grants your personal account access to the organisation boards severely increases the risk as you'll have your personal account tied to more devices and people than a work account. For example it wouldn't be unreasonable to let your spouse know your personal account details, or to have your account also set up on one of their devices, or on shared family computers.

> I assume Dropbox doesn't allow multiple accounts ...

You can actually use multiple accounts - they just don't make it convenient. You can definitely run multiple instances of the dropbox client providing they are setup to have different home directories. This is somewhat trivial on Linux and more difficult on the other platforms. When accessing the dropbox site they have a half hearted attempt at multiple account support, but it is better to login/out and use one account at a time.

What they should do is let you enter multiple accounts in the client software. It is fine if that is only allowed with paid accounts.

I should also add that if you are using personal accounts for work boards then the work administrators have to keep a mapping somewhere (eg johnny45@hotmail.com is john.doe@company.com) and that the employee leaving means having to go through and find all the personal accounts and remove them from any company boards. This is a logistical nightmare!

By the way, are there any plans to integrate Mozilla Persona on your sites? I much prefer it to all the other alternatives, including OpenID.

Like many folks I've been burned a number of times when I locked into software that was "free forever". Usually not because the software owner put up a paywall, but because the business was found unsustainable and it was either sold or they pulled the plug.

I love Trello immensely but the "free forever" aspect worries me about trusting it over the longterm. I've tried to turn my clients onto Trello and have been met with the same skepticism over entrusting an entire business workflow to a free product. Just from a trust perspective, it would honestly put my mind at ease to find out it was making a buck somehow...

This was my thought too. Perhaps Trello is one of those strange cases where making the product more restrictive (eg. you must pay to create more than 500 cards) would increase the demand for the product.

Our team was about to migrated to Trello from Asana, but somehow we kept using Asana. I've heard similar stories recently where Trello is not that useful for startups but excellent for large corporations. One can expect what could be there future business model.

P.S We're team of 5 idiots looking for one more :)

Our startup team migrated from Asana to Trello. The main problem with Asana was that it worked well write only - ie it was easy to get lots of stuff in there, but things never got (re)organized to reflect reality which was probably a side effect of things rarely got read. Trello makes it considerably easier to see what is going on and to rearrange.

(That all said, Asana may have updated their interface since we left.)

We're not a large organisation - we have 16 people in the team and various clients using Trello and, as you can see in the post, it's a perfect tool for our us.

Everyday I use Asana for a client, and every minute I'm using it I'm wishing it was Trello

I use Trello and would love to see some basic stats. I've thought about writing something against the API that can output stats such as how long cards are staying in specific columns but I don't have the time to do it right atm.

At Teambox we have a comparable feature set (tasks for teams and files) and we moved to freemium about 2 years ago.

While the usual freemium math applies (most users are still free), our customer's response has been phenomenal and subscriptions are now a sustainable business.

Oh yeah. I had wondered that too. Maybe they will be like dropbox and Evernote in the future. People can pay money to get the premium version with more features and space.

That's not quite what we have in mind, but it's close. Basically, any features that are currently free, stay free. Some new features in the pipe will not be.

Yes, I was going to ask this too. Their tour page says "Trello is free, now and forever.". Call me a skeptic, but I don't see that holding true unless they have some money to keep it running.

It's created by Fog Creek and I believe their other products bring in enough money to keep Trello free.

That leaves no incentive to keep running Trello.

That would better be phrased as, "any features that are currently free, stay free." Of course we're working on adding paid features to Trello; see spolsky's replies elsewhere in this thread, or my comment history, for more details.

Some of us remember the pivotal tracker story...

Completely off topic:

That header image: Is it animated when window.onscroll() is fired? I find one reference in the code to e.addEventListener("scroll", v, !1) which I guess then fires the function v which does:

v = function() { var t = parseInt(e.pageYOffset, 10); t = Math.min(u, t), t !== d && (d = t, t > 0 ? f(t * m, 1) : f(t / -6, -1 * t / u + 1), t >= u - 35 ? s(p, E) : i(p, E))

Could someone point me to some unminimized version of this code, I really like it?

Hi, I’m the guy who wrote the code. Here’s a gist for you: https://gist.github.com/porada/5047435

That is awesome! I'll definitely absolutely butcher that code once I get some spare time :D

It looks incredibly cool when rubber band scrolling kicks in. Well done!

Off-topic of the off-topic but can you explain to me what's cool about it? I'm not a web developer so all I see is that the image doesn't scroll off but appears to shrink. Genuinely (not a troll), can't think why that's useful though ...

I don't think it's useful in a technical sense, but it did catch my eye so much that I scrolled up and down a few times to watch it. Take that and stick it on a client demo and you might help secure another sale.

The effect is achieved by having a div with a specified height pushing down the article. As you scroll down the div naturally moves up with the rest of the content. The scroll event adjusts the position of the background image on that div, relative to the amount of scroll, until it stops when it goes off the screen.

There's an out of the box solution (that lacks the performance of ours, unfortunately): http://stephband.info/jparallax/

@porada, author of the one on http://codetunes.com said he'll post something here.

Also regarding the header... that background image is just fantastic. Is there a wallpaper version?

We are planning to release one very soon, stay (code)tuned!

I loved Pivotal Tracker's user story "weight" feature where you couldn't assign more than x points worth of work to your team in a certain iteration, based on past velocity, as it simply wouldn't fit and spill over to the backlog. Is anything like that available in Trello as well? From what I've seen, you have to count the amount of work by hand.

Also, I'm not quite getting the recommended way of "completing" tasks. Archiving just hides them, which makes it hard to go back and analyze how well you did in that iteration. Right now I'm just dumping everything into a "completed" list, although unless you archive everything that came before in there, you have to manually figure out what was completed in this iteration and what in the ones before. Creating separate "completed" lists for each iteration will probably not scale as it will generate dozens of lists you'll have to archive and filter through every time you're looking for something.

try creating a 'completed in interaction X' list for every iteration. archive the previous list once you create a new one. this way you will have it out of the way and still preserve the history

Good idea, trying that out now!

If you are new to Trello, my biggest piece of advice (echoing the post) it to use mentions! Mentions have been critical for our team. The first month, we just assigned people to cards and assumed they would see all comments/changes to that card but it wasn't so. Trello has been amazing and we are still finding new things we love. My biggest request for the future would be time-tracking. They allow 3rd parties like Harvest to leverage their API for building extensions but Harvest pricing doesn't seem scalable to us and we haven;t found another solution that integrates well...

I would love to try using Trello at work. I use it for my own personal projects just to keep track of stuff.

We use Jira at work with a slew of plugins on top and our own custom processes, and it's AWFUL. It's complicated, there are different projects with different flows, ticket types, statuses, etc. The way we have it set up right now, you can't even move tickets into/out of a sprint once it's started!

I'm not railing on Jira though; I'm not even sure I know how "stock" Jira behaves. But I do think it's interesting that Jira and Trello expose their flexibility in totally different ways.

I use Trello at home and Jira at work. I like both, and rather think they are both pretty intuitive :)

I think normal Jira seems like it's just like every other bug tool I've ever used (trac, bugzilla, etc.), but where I work every single project has been customized differently.

Does anyone know how this compares to, say, AgileZen? I have only superficially used both.

I love Trello, and have been using it since it was first publicly available.

It was such a refreshing change from the Project -> To-Do List arrangement of, well, pretty much every web based project management software up until that point.

My friend just introduced me to trello last week! And I really love this app! I use it for personal life too and put down things I want to say to my friends and share it with them.

I like the idea of splitting workflow into two boards, currently for every project I have one board and it can get clumsy with a lot of cards and lists.

Seeing your site for the first time ('codetunes.com'), and I love your visuals. They rock. Congrats to your graphic artist !

Thank you!

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