This week we are going to try something a bit different, and look at how digital approaches can help museums behind the scenes in their day-to-day runnings. There are many different programmes out there that can aid with project management, organisation, and productivity. This week we are reviewing Trello, which has become a favourite of the CMP team.
Trello is a web-based project management programme. This is based on the ‘Kanban’ system (click here for an accessible link), which was developed by Toyota as a means of improving the efficiency of their production line. Trello uses a system of boards, lists, and cards to organise tasks, allowing you to work in an iterative and agile manner.In the CMP office, we have been using Trello for the last few years for team meetings and to manage specific projects, such as the redevelopment of our website.
It’s very simple to use and can be adapted for different purposes.
You can get a Trello app on your phone or tablet.
You can create as many boards as you like – so you can have a board for each project or a single board for multiple projects.
You can customize the background of each board using photographs drawn from the Unsplash website (note: Unsplash is an amazing repository of copyright-free images!)
You can colour code each card – meaning that you can quickly and visually categorize tasks. You can also search using these coloured labels as a filter.
You can collaborate with other users. This is really important if multiple people are working on the same project, also allowing remote working.
It automatically refreshes, so other collaborators on your board can see changes in real-time without having to refresh or sync.
It’s based on an agile way of working, so allows you to take an iterative approach and to keep track of all changes to the project. Having a team board with all the projects happening within an organisation can be a really useful way of tracking progress. At CMP we use our team board as an effective and efficient way of structuring our team meetings – we review all of the cards on the board and move them around based on their current state of completion.
You can attach documents to cards.
You can insert checklists, which give you a percentage of completion on the front of the card.
If you select the calendar powerup, you can view your cards on a calendar within Trello. This extracts dates from the due dates that you set for each card, and when the calendar view is activated, you can move cards to different dates. This is particularly useful if you are managing a time-sensitive project or involved in social media/marketing scheduling.
You can link due dates on cards with your Outlook calendar, allowing you to have all your deadlines in one place (this is provided by a third-party – Cronofy).
You can email tasks straight to your board. Each board has an email address, so when you get an important email that you want to add to your board, then you can forward it to this address and all of the information will be linked to your card.
On the free account, you can only use one power-up per board. If you go for Trello Gold (the paid-for version), this only raises to two power-ups per board.
Integrations with other applications, such as Outlook and Slack require the use of a third-party service such as Zapier or IFTT.
Your email inbox can sometimes become swamped with notifications, though you can switch these off.
Be careful, Trello is sometimes used as a discussion forum rather than for organizing tasks. If you need such a facility, we suggest using Slack, which we will be reviewing soon.
Who should use this within a museum?
We at CMP hate silo working, so using Trello helps us to feel connected and allows us to effectively collaborate on projects and share knowledge. It saves times and ensures that tasks don’t fall through the gaps. In order to get the full potential from Trello, there needs to be complete take-up of this tool by everyone in the team, which can be challenging at times.
The simplicity of Trello means that it can be adapted for a range of different purposes, and in a future review we will look at how Trello has been used within the Collections Department at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno to streamline their public enquiries.