With the swift growth of the Internet into society at large, it should be no surprise that whole segments of business management have been transitioned to the cloud. One of these transitioned segments is that of project management.
Numerous different iterations of this have cropped up over the years, with Microsoft Project standing out as among the most well known. However, it is among the most expensive, and too unwieldy for simple uses.
A simple “To Do” list can work for a single person, but if you are running a team then something more complex and flexible is needed. Trello fits this mold perfectly.
Trello’s method is based upon the Toyota paradigm, Kanban. This paradigm is based upon using cards on a board, with each card representing a task. As tasks go from stage to stage, it is passed along from one end of the board to another. Here is a link for more information on Kanban.
Trello is best described as a service that is as useful as your life is complex. If your life is simple, without any worries beyond a non-intrusive job, then this service will be of limited use to you.
On the other hand, if you are handling five employees with a dozen complex projects at once, then this service will definitely be useful. A complex project is made up of individual steps. Simply create a card for each step, and have your employees pick the cards to do. As the project goes on, you can see what needs to be verified and have a clear understanding as to how everything is shaping up.
The service also enables people to upload completed documents to the cards, providing you with a one-stop shop in helping move projects along.
A favorite saying of the astute is, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” That is true for all things in life, but not for this service. The developer, Fog Creek Software, is offering its basic version for free.
If you need more advanced features, such as Google Apps introduction and the ability to have a special “observer” class of users, then you can upgrade to the business class for a simple $50 per month, or $500 per year.
Trello’s largest competitor is Basecamp. It provides a similar feature set, though at a much steeper cost. The base package is $20 per month, or $240 yearly. However, that is for a maximum of 10 projects.
If you purchased a plan with the same features as Trello, you will be spending $150 per month, or $1,800 per year.
Redmine is a perfect solution for FOSS (Free Open Source Solution) advocates. This service can be installed on a local computer, in addition to the online component.
At first blush, this appears to be the best deal available. However, with non-commercial software comes a limited amount of support. It is unwise to allow your business to use software without professional grade support.
Trello is a wonderful solution for the complex problem known as project management. It is the middle child on price, but maintains an excellent feature set and support that the busy professional has grown to expect.
It is worth remembering that any software is only as useful as the end user is capable of using it. If your projects are simple enough for a To Do list, then this service will not appeal to you.
However, if you have an interesting work life, then this can save you quite a bit of time and money.
All companies and products mentioned are done so without any financial compensation.
Image Credit: Flickr user Gustavo da Cunha P imenta