Trello Tips

trello photoI use Trello a lot for managing tasks for work and personal projects and just little things I need to keep track of at home. These are some of the tips I've run across that make Trello easier to use.

Trello 101

If you haven’t used Trello before here’s a quick overview.Imagine organizing a bunch of sticky notes in columns on a whiteboard. The sticky notes are tasks to do, and the columns can represent anything you want, statuses, phases of a project or something else. That’s what Trello is like.The board is like the whiteboard. You can have any number of columns or “Lists” on that board. The default lists you get are To Do, Doing and Done. Each of the columns represent a status for the “cards” that are in the list. Cards are like sticky notes that you can move from list to list depending on what status they have.When you start a task on a card, you move it from the To Do list to the Doing list. When you are done a task you move the card from the Doing list to the Done task.You can have as many lists on a board as you want. And you can have as many boards in your Trello account as you want.Ok, now you’re a pro user here’s some tips.

Tip: Use it however you want

The first thing I need to mention about Trello is that you can use it however you want. It’s very flexible and you can move cards and lists and boards wherever you want to. If you want to have all your projects on one board and view them all at the same time, you can. If you want to have all your projects on separate boards to separate them you can do that too. If you want to have a workflow that moves boards and lists from board to board, you can do that too. If you want to link from one board to another you can do that. However you want.Because you can do anything you want, all these tips are things to try, not best practices that you have to use. Try new things and keep what works for you and your projects.

Tip: Create links to other boards

In the descriptions and comments of each card, you can insert hyperlinks to other websites and other Trello boards. If you have a card that references a project on another Trello Board then you can link to it.I have a main board for all my website work that lists one card for each project I have. I move these projects around on the lists and use it as a birds-eye view of which projects have started and which have not. For all the details involved in each of those projects, I have an entire board. From my main birds-eye view board, I have links to each of the project boards. I can see the high-level status on the high-level board and when I need to see or work on details in one of the projects, the link will take me to the project board where all the details are.

Tip: Create an archived list board

Moving cards from the Doing list to the Done list is a great way to show that it’s been completed but all the cards pile up in the Done list on big projects. I’d rather not see a whole lot of Done cards but at the same time, I like keeping them around so I can look later, or find a card that’s been completed. At the end of every week, I add a date to my Done list and send it to a Done Board. The Done board is a whole pile of weekly lists of the completed tasks from each of the projects. It’s nice to see how much I’ve done. It also makes it easy to see when things were completed.

Tip: Double click to create a list

I just found this feature the other day. You can double click anywhere on the blue board background to create a new list. It will create the list just behind the list you are under when you click. If you are under your 3rd list when you double click, it will create a new list in the 4th spot by default. You can change the order of the lists if you want.

Tip: Use checklists for small items, create cards for large ones.

If a task on a Card has a couple steps that I need to remember, then I make a checklist for it. You can make as many checklists on each card if you want but the more you make the more confusing each are is. I use 2 or 3 max. Once those checklists get large and confusing, it’s time to make them into additional cards so you can track the information

Your Favourite Tips

Those are some of my favourite tips. The beauty of Trello is that there are so many different ways to use it. What are your favourite tips? 

StartupNanaimo unConference

I attended the first StartupNanaimo unConference today. Like all the other StartupNanaimo or Ignite Nanaimo events I've attended, I've got so much buzzing around in my head. This post hopefully will be a bit of a recap and an attempt to organize some of the ideas I heard today. I'd love to pull together all the other recaps from the conference so comment at the bottom if you have one as well.**I'm fairly new to the startup world. I'm read a lot about it but I'm just starting to actually dip my toes into it and starting my own business. I can't say that it's a full startup. It's more of a lifestyle business at this point to test out where I want to go. Attending events like today's and talking to people like Jay helps so much in clarifying what I actually want to do.

Jayesh Parmar from Picatic

I wondered right off the bat why StartupNanaimo organizers used a new service I had never heard of called Picatic. Turns out our keynote speaker was CEO and co-founder of Picatic. It's all coming together.Jay was a great speaker and got right to the root of what it was like running a startup, what you can expect if you want to follow the same path and some tips for along the way.You can find Jay on Twitter.


Once Jay wrapped up his great talk we had a great lunch catered by Afresh Catering then brainstormed the topics for the workgroups that we would break out into. Being an unconference there was no set agenda to start the day, we would come up with that ourselves. We split off into our groups and would self select what groups we would want to attend.The groups ended up being

  • Sustainability and business
  • Funding and Money
  • Teams and finding the right people
  • Growth from idea to product and finding users
  • ... and another I can't remember (distribution? export?).

Big Ideas

As always there were a number of ideas that kept coming up and others that I was reminded of during the talk and workgroup sessions.

Give before you take

Giving before you take. Pay it forward. How can you help. This was the biggest theme I saw at the conference. It kept coming up in many different ways. Jay touched on it a few times during his talk of how it has impacted his life and he pushed us to use it in our lives. We wrapped up the end of the conference with a quick round of the entire room with a few sentence from every person on how they could help others in the group. It didn't matter what, just how they could help.If we are going to create something amazing here, it's not going to be alone. It's going to be with the help of everyone involved. Everyone can help in different ways but everyone can help everyone else. Things will move faster and grow bigger the more we can help each other.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

One of the main threads to the Growth and Starting Your Idea workshop session. Minimum Viable Product was one of the hardest things to wrap may head around when I started digging into how to create my first product. I always assumed, like a lot of other people, that the first product had to be amazing and perfect right off the bat. Some things you only get one chance. Tech is not that. You get as many chances as you need to make your product into the amazing thing you know it can be. Like Chris Guillebeau's manifesto says, it's not overnight success, it's 279 days to overnight success (or a lot longer).Related to the Minimum Viable Product is the Minimum Viable Audience. Which comes first? That seems to be a debate with a lot of people online these days.

Iterate or Pivot

Continuing along the lines of Minimum Viable Product is the question, if you start with an MVP that is so minimum you are embarrassed to show it, how do you then make that into something awesome? Iteration.Most products don't come out perfect the first time. They start in a minimum form and then builders iterate on it and make them better and better and better as they learn what works and what doesn't. Everything is just an experiment until it makes money.

Masterminds and Tester groups

I'm not sure if this was on topic or not in the Growth session but it came up anyways and it was interesting conversation. Masterminds, beta testers, test groups. How do you find people to help you grow and test your idea? How do you get feedback? How do you get people to test your product? Do you do that with a mastermind group that you meet with regularly? Are they all on the same level as you? Or do you approach a larger group and ask them to test your product? I think there's a few different goals here and maybe different groups need to be found for each purpose? What if there was a list of these groups around to help people looking find existing ones faster?

Product idea

When we were getting going, there was inevitably some technical difficulties getting the projectors hooked up to the macs. We tried multiple cords, multiple adapters, multiple macs. No use. Eventually we just exported the presentations to the windows computer that was there and working and used that. So here's the product or solution idea? Can someone fix the projector/laptop battle so they just always work together?

Apps mentioned

Being an app guy that loves trying new apps out all the time, my ears always perk at the sound of new apps being mentioned. Jay mentioned a few today.Trello - a Kanban based app for task management. Kanban is the column and card layout they use in the app. I use it for work and personal use myself and love it.Slack - I actually found this last week and wanted to give it a try. A slick team communication app. Metalab, a digital agency in Victoria, had a great story about creating the interface for Slack.Clarity - Jay quickly mentioned Clarity. I'm pretty sure he was referring to this one. On demand business advice. Cool idea.


My minds still buzzing from all the talk and ideas today. Jay wrapped up at the end of some fears of his. One of them was that egos can get in the way of making something great in a startup community. Ego can kill things when people try to control things and don't just let it to go and let it grow.The biggest thing that he feared was that the conversation would die. All these ideas and chatter would get generated but nothing would happen because of it. No startups would start. No products would be out there. Nothing would be pitched. It would be such a shame for nothing to happen because of this, especially because of all the work all the organizers have put into it. But I don't think they are going to sit idle and let nothing happen.Let's help them get this going.Let's help them start up Nanaimo.