Last week I read an extremely in depth article from Brian Casel about the logistics of growing customers for a SaaS business. What particularly intrigued me about Brian’s tips and techniques was the use of Trello as his CRM (customer relationship manager). Trello is a project management tool that uses cards and boards to represent components and stages of a project. It is free, simple and can be used to manage just about anything.
I started using Trello a few years ago when Dev7studios migrated their projects away from Basecamp and the management of their plugins and apps was set up on different boards. Our workflow quickly became established and it was so easy to manage bugs and features through the development life cycle. I set up boards for all my own plugins and created one for every new client site I built. Because it is free and allows sign in with a Google account, it is easy to add the actual clients to their site’s board when necessary. This meant capturing requirements, adding content and reporting issues became a slicker, more collaborative process.
When I started developing extensions for Easy Digital Downloads and Ninja Forms, I was pleasantly surprised to see that both Pippin and the WP Ninjas (James and Kevin) were using Trello to manage all of the extensions (their own and third party) for their plugins. Trello is great for managing one project on a board, but seeing what these guys had set up for essentially lots of projects, certainly showed just how flexible it is and how far Trello can be pushed. Utilising a list for each stage of the development lifecycle and a card for each extension, it allows them to manage extensions from a high level. But with rich metadata for a card, the developers can add all the necessary detail about their extension as well as managing todo lists and bugs using the checklist feature.
I was recently introduced to the Tasks feature in PhpStorm which allows your to connect your issue tracking system with the IDE. This is great to be able to easily manage separate change lists for issues, create new feature / issue branches in your project’s VCS, and autofill your commit messages with the relevant issue data. The integrations range from Jira, YouTrack and Github, but I was excited to see support for Trello and this how streamlined further my development process.
There is no denying it, I love Trello. I wax lyrical about it whenever todo lists or organisation comes up in conversation. I soon converted my wife to using it and we collaboratively use boards for managing things like moving house, our wedding and even the weekly shopping list.
Do you use Trello? What other interesting uses of it have you seen?