Apps for Success - Trello

Each month, John Bowman picks a new cool piece of technology that helps Customer Success Managers be more productive. We call it “Apps For Success” and in this review (#16) he takes a closer look at Trello.

 

 

This month in Apps for Success we’re going to be talking about project management. The app we will be focusing on is Trello. Trello uses the Kanban Methodology to help give you greater visibility and collaboration on your projects. 

We’re going to pause talking more about Getting Things Done for now to focus on project management. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a ton of onboardings and other projects to manage! 

We’ve previously talked about how to use a Capture tool like Google Keep to keep an unbiased list of everything you need to do. We’ve also talked about how to use your calendar as your Command Center to make sure you get done what you need to get done. 

But! What about those projects which take weeks, months, or even years to complete? Or what about projects when you need to work collaboratively with a team to move the needle? 

Enter Trello. Trello is a project management app that uses the Kanban scheduling system to make your project management more collaborative and transparent. Kanban is designed to help you visualize your work, limit work in progress, and maximize your work efficiency. The word Kanban is a Japanese word meaning “visual signal.” 

You, as a knowledge worker, have a ton of work that both invisible and intangible. Kanban helps you to visualize your work so you can understand it better, show it to others, and keep everyone on the same page. Kanban will help you to bring method to your madness and change the culture of your organization to one of getting things done. 

Kanban works hand in glove with Agile to make project management easier. I’d love for you to take a moment to read this article from SuccessHACKER over at Medium. It gives a really great outline for how you can use Kanban and Agile methodologies to improve your customer onboarding! If you find yourself struggling to keep track of your projects, it will definitely help you!

[Standard disclaimer here. I own no part of any of the apps for Customer Success Managers I’ll be reviewing in this column. The opinions contained in this review are mine and mine alone. SuccessHACKER is kind enough to lend me their microphone. If you happen to disagree, leave a comment and let me know! I love a good spirited debate.]

On to the app. 

 
 


What do you like best?

First, it’s free. You know me, I love free stuff!

Next, I love that at a glance, you can know who’s doing what, and what needs to be done. You have all of this information in one collaborative location. And using your Trello board means less email, fewer meetings, and more productivity. 

As I mentioned above, Kanban is ideal with helping you to visualize your ongoing projects. From a manager’s perspective, it is ideal to help you know exactly what your team is working on and how they are working on it. 

Additionally, I love the checklist feature. When you combine a checklist with the visual clarity of Kanban, your team can’t lose! You ensure your projects are hitting the right milestones via lists and that the right actions are being taken at the right time via checklist. 

What do you dislike?

As I mentioned in the video, we use Salesforce’s Kanban view. I love Salesforce because it’s our CRM and it helps us to keep all customer information in one place. 

Trello does integrate with Salesforce but we’ve found that we can accomplish everything we need to in Salesforce - it just doesn’t have the bells and whistles! 

This is just a general principle of keeping your tools simple and not having too many. If your company doesn’t already have a project management software, then I would highly recommend Trello! Just don’t use it for customer data (unless it integrates with your CRM). 

What business problems does the product solve? What benefits have you realized?

Trello is great for project management of many forms. 

Every company in the world has projects that need to be tracked, worked on, and collaborated on. You need a tool to be the source of record of the projects. You need a place everyone goes to for updates on what is happening and outstanding questions on projects. 

Trello is a great tool to help you with that source of record and to help you ensure you’re communicating status easily across all stakeholders. 

Finally, like I mentioned above, if you don’t already have an onboarding tracking system in place, Trello is a great place to start! You and your team will love the clarity it can bring!

Summary

I love Trello! I may not use it for our onboarding, but we do use it to track company projects. You need a source of record to resolve any internal conflicts. You also need that source of record to have transparency and accountability across the company. Trello is more than capable of doing that for you!

If you didn’t like what I showed you here, could you put your project management software of choice in the comments and share what you like about it? 


About the Author

 
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John Bowman

John Bowman, Esq., is the Director of Customer Success at Jetpack Workflow. He is a rising star in the Customer Success community, leading the The Pittsburgh Customer Success Meetup and the Pittsburgh Gainsight Pulse chapter, as well as moderating the Customer Success Subreddit. John utilizes his 10+ years of professional experience to focus organizations on one goal: the customer's desired outcome.