What Is Trello and How Does It Work?

What this popular online software is used for

Trello is a free productivity and task management app that was created by Fog Creek Software in 2011. The service was sold to Atlassian in 2017 and, as of October 2019, has over 50 million users across its Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and web apps.

How Does Trello Work?

Unlike a traditional to-do list app, which displays tasks that can be checked off once completed, Trello incorporates the use of columns to track the progress of activities through their different phases.

A collection of columns on Trello is referred to as a board.

For example, the first column may collect tasks that need to be done, while the second might be for listing those tasks that have already been started. The third column would then be used for showing tasks that have been completed, and a potential fourth column could be for placing finished tasks that need revisions or a second opinion from a colleague or friend.

Each individual task can be customized with its own name, description, due date, and colored label or category while other Trello users can be manually assigned to specific tasks.

Trello allows users to create as many boards and columns as they like for free.

In addition to tracking progress, a Trello board’s columns can also be used to leave notes for other users, highlight important announcements, and for providing links to online resources.

What Is Trello Used For?

Many organizations are using Trello to manage both large and minor group projects due to the app’s easy-to-understand visual interface that displays the different stages that tasks are at and who’s working on them. Trello can also be used by individuals for managing personal and professional schedules, organizing events, and for tracking progress. Trello is also a popular organizational tool for students.

A Trello board for university students.
 Trello

Here are some Trello usage examples:

  • Tracking language study progress.
  • Planning a wedding or birthday party.
  • Assigning tasks to employees.
  • Managing Christmas present shopping and postage.
  • Visualizing financial goals.
  • Tracking cryptocurrency purchases.
  • Organizing home renovation tasks.
  • Preparing for a holiday or trip.
  • Sharing a bucket list with friends.
  • Creating a social media campaign.
  • Sharing a syllabus with students.
  • Displaying and managing staff work shifts.

There really is no limit as to how you use Trello or what you can use it for. Trello can be used to track basic to-do items with just simple To-Do and Completed columns or for more complex tasks and projects with multiple stages or phases.

How to Use Trello for Personal Task Management

Using Trello for project management in your personal life can be really effective as the apps can show you how much progress you’ve made, what needs to be done, and also what tasks may need changing.

The most-common way to use Trello for personal task management is via the popular progress column method which begins with a To-Do column full of tasks on the left side of the Trello board and additional columns for each phase of completion.

Trello boards can sync between the different versions of the Trello app so you can make changes to your tasks from your smartphone, tablet, or computer at any time.

As tasks progress, you simply drag them to the appropriate columns on the right until your To-Do column is completely empty.

Another common way to use the Trello apps for personal project management is to use a board as a weekly schedule calendar and create a column for each day of the week.

Trello used as a calendar.
Trello

Once created, you can begin assigning tasks to each day and freely drag them to other days when your schedule begins to change or conflicts arise.