Collaborative planning through Trello boards.

We all have worked with Trello, the famous board and card software built by FogCreek and later sold to Atlassian. Everyone who has worked with the software knows that its main focus is the flexibility to publish content on the cards and boards and having the freedom to invite anyone.

Bringing people onboard is really easy and it has been part of the success of this collaboration software loved by developers and designers, but also folks have found interesting public collections online. For example Inbound marketing & sales, recipe lists and simple to-do lists for anyone looking for a platform to organize their activities.

So when Connect Week Austin was just around the corner, we started to work. We jumped into the opportunity to build our first Power-up for Freshdesk, but we also wanted to explore the platform as a means to plan and collaborate with different business units in a company.

Freshdesk

Freshdesk provided us with the insight into the process that helpdesk agents face in their activities when they try to work with their colleagues who do not have access the same information and this creates those big long & boring emails threads.

Some nice tips on how to avoid them ;)

Collaboration first.

One of the most important ways team members can start planning with different tools it's by connecting them to the core data points which enable collaboration and define internal processes. That is the beginning to become more efficient in planning for an outcome that will benefit any business process. Here is a Trello Client Collaboration board you should take a look at.

The theory around Collaborative Planning is that these core results can be achieved:

  • Increase engagement.
  • Create commitment.
  • Building quality plans.

Everyone is aware that engagement is not easy to achieve especially when you are working with different stakeholders, each one has different objectives but the one asset that is valuable to all of them is the customer. This is the main reason a team is working to deliver a superior product or service to the client.

For a team to collaborate it will need access to their platforms, but most importantly understanding of the high-level goal that needs to be achieved. How every-one member's strengths and know-how will contribute to a teams engagement and commitment.

Timeline and quality planning.

You need to place all the right elements to create a good timeline:

  • Define the project with the team and project stakeholder/sponsor.
  • Brainstorm to define deliverables for the project.
  • Categorize all the tasks and divide them into groups.

Sometimes we forget to assign a category to the tasks, this way you can easily identify those that need to be done in collaboration between different business units. For example, customer feedback, might not always be received by the product team and you might find that the IT support or helpdesk will get the call, support agents will open a ticket in their IT support software. So if their software platform is not connected and has no communication with the product stakeholder it will probably fall off the tracks.

It is crucial that everyone involved is aligned in the way they will communicate within the organization to achieve the project's goals. You can see this Development Board or an Administrators Tasks Board for some great ways to apply Trello into any team’s communication process.
Trello Boards You might want to look into the Trello API to build your custom power-up that can achieve the communications goals you have set for your team. If you want to understand how to create a successful integration between any software platform and Trello, please read these rules to build a Powerup.

Creating an accurate timeline to deliver tasks and finally reach a team’s goals is an ongoing improvement process, no project or client is the same and there will be different strategies that will work for some of them. There is no magic formula, you have to brainstorm on every opportunity you have when facing new challenges.

Arranging your milestones will give you insights into how long it will take your team to accomplish them and see who is the responsibility to deliver the tasks to complete them. Here are some cool boards like the Team Tasks and Bug Tracking.

The quality of the planning will be the result of good communication and having the tools plus processes in place to deliver each task in a timely manner. Getting the team engaged through out each task is based on having enough information to make their decisions easy and feeling part of the team.

Hope this post has brought some good insights and looking forward to seeing all the cool things you can do with Trello.


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