Trello: Free Web-based Project Management Software

Sticky notes reimagined for the 21st century

Note: this post was originally written for another blog on October 11, 2011. I occasionally republish articles here on jRead from my archives.

I am a project management software junkie. Every few months I think to myself “there’s gotta be a better tool to organize everything I’m trying to work on and figure out!” Usually I end up cobbling together a home-brewed solution based on common tools like calendars, reminder lists, note-taking, and so forth. Actually, I must say I’ve grown quite fond of Evernote, the much-hyped cloud-based notes app. But I digress.

What I’ve really wanted all along is a tool that combines the functionality of sticky notes, to-do lists, and comments & social sharing all together in one easy-to-use, visually compelling package where I can see everything that needs my attention at a single glance.

Enter Trello.

Trello is like sticky notes reimagined for the 21st century. Esentially, Trello is a collection of boards, each board featuring any number of “lists” you want. Each list can have a multitude of cards (they literally look like cards). Each card can contain a surprisingly-rich amount of structured information that you see when you click on a card. For example, a card can contain:

  • A title
  • A description
  • Comments from multiple users
  • One or more checklists (for tracking to-do’s)
  • Votes from multiple users
  • File attachments
  • Colored and named labels
  • A due date

You are free to move cards around between lists or up and down on the same list for at-a-glance prioritization. As the company states, “in one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.” Using Trello becomes addictive because somehow creating cards and moving them around on screen is so much more satisfying than scrolling through an endless list of entries in a box like most software. Oh, and did I mention that Trello is free? Yeah, that one really blows my mind.

How you set up Trello is really up to you. You can literally create whatever workflow fits your brain and your project. I have a Trello workflow at my digital media agency that suits me and the consulting nature of my business very well. I have lists for Inactive Clients, Active Clients, Sales, Internal Product Development, Marketing, Operations, Contractors, and so forth. That way, I am able to keep track of all the people and features are make up the moving parts of my business.

Before Trello, I literally had sticky-notes flying around my desk or I had to pour through a linear stack of notes stored in some other software. Now with Trello, I can literally bring up the app and just look around the screen for a moment to be reminded instantly what I should focus on next.

And did I mention Trello is free?

Go check Trello out today. It’s “in the cloud” so you can log in and use it on the web from anywhere. iPhone and Android apps are also available, and a native iPad app is currently in development. I await its arrival with baited breath. Fog Creek Software, it can’t come soon enough for me!



Jared White