Trello: An agile style kan-ban web app that really works

By Art on February 27, 2012

I am no different to many others where I am being asked to work on various projects concurrently and expected to work through a long list of technical debt that needs addressing with our SQL databases. Throw in the usual day to day production issues as well and you get yourself a long list of jobs to do that have rapidly changing priorities. Now, we all aim to be productive and we all spend time trying ways to be more productive and finding ways to be really organised with our increasing workloads. I am no different and to try and make myself more productive, I have in the past tried to use various software based task/to-do lists. I believe that a measure of a good to-do list is one that is easy to manage, use and one that doesn’t take more effort to keep up to date than it is worth. Unfortunately, I have never found one that I really liked or got on with and they always felt a bit too clunky and as such ended up using a mixture of emails/post-its/notepad in conjunction with the corporate provided software.

Last week though that all changed when one of my colleagues pointed out to me an online kan-ban style collaborative tool that when used in its simplest form it is a fantastic personal to-do list tool. I use Kiln and Fogbugz a lot and have become a big fan of FogCreek software so I thought that I would actually give Trello a go. Now, I’m not normally one to be impressed within a few seconds of using a new piece of software, but after registering, I was amazed at how slick the interface was. Another good measure of a piece of software is how intuitive it is and how you can get the software to work without actually reading any documentation for it. Within a few minutes I had this piece of software fired up with basic configuration and within a few more minutes, I had my whole department signed up and collaboratively sharing our project and departmental based information with each other.

The UI is very good and I hope it is a sign of the way that the web is developing as it is really slick and easy to do tasks. I like the fact that I’m not continually asked "are you sure you want to do that??" type questions whenever i do something. And the updates between all the board members are really quick as well. There are very few full page refreshes which just adds to the slickness of the tool. It is pretty amazing to believe that this tool is less than a year old. I do hope that a fully supported read/write API becomes available so that I can develop ways of firing information automatically into Trello.. Maybe even alerts from my SQL servers? And seeing it fully integrated with Fogbugz would be a nice feature as well.

I’m not going to write heaps about what Trello does as you can read it all on their website and register for an account with minimal personal information. And if you are not already using it, seriously, give yourself an honest 15 minutes with the tool, and I’m sure you’ll be suitably impressed with it to.