Say hello to Trello, a new tool to organize your life and ministry

Think of Trello as note cards on digital steroids. I tend to resist new organizational tools these days, but when I started digging into this one, I was hooked. This could be a game changer for me.
example-board

Old-school organization

Trello is based on an old Japanese process for managing projects and workflows called Kanban. You are probably familiar with the basic idea in the form of sticky notes arranged in columns on a whiteboard. As items on the sticky notes move through a process, you would transfer them from column to column to indicate progress.

Photo Credit: orcmid via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: orcmid via Compfight cc
Trello duplicates this basic functionality beautifully on the web and via mobile apps.

The astonishing thing about Trello is that if you wanted to, you could keep things this simple and never skip a beat. There is no learning curve.

Create a new board, make a couple columns (“lists” in Trello) and start moving simple cards around. All the advantages of the notes/whiteboard combo (visual, flexible, creative) with virtually none of the drawbacks (cumbersome, limited, messy).

Digital-Age implementation

Trello takes it to the next level in two key areas: supercharged notes (“cards”) and collaboration.

Trello “cards” can be anything from simple text items, to checklists, to rich multimedia. This means your Trello boards can be used for virtually anything from simple shopping lists to Pinterest-style galleries to semi-automated workflows and software development.

Cards, lists, and boards can all be collaborated on in real time and shared with multiple people. Your whole team can contribute to boards, and you can control was various members are able to see and edit.

The way that Trello manages to maintain a simple feel and genuine ease of use is nothing short of a feat of user-interface design.

An innovative ministry-management tool

The applications of this simple yet robust organizational tool are limited only by your imagination. Possible applications of Trello for ministry include:

  • Tracking volunteers
  • Developing program ideas
  • Planning sermons
  • Collaborating on events
  • Creating liturgies
  • Collecting audio/visual inspiration

Reservations

I’m excited and enthusiastic about Trello, and I think it could change the way I manage both personal and professional projects. That said, it’s a fairly new service and I’ve only been using it a few days, so we’ll see how I feel in a couple months! One feature I’d love to see the developers add right away is offline support for mobile. Right now you have to have an internet connection to see and edit your boards. Honestly, I haven’t found much else to complain about.

Learn Trello fast

At first, I saw Trello as primarily a list of lists. Trello Dojo by Daniel Root is short ebook that helped me to grasp how it could be used to design workflows and track projects. I also learned a ton of tips, tricks, and advanced features for making the very most of my Trello boards. If you end up buying a copy of Trello Dojo, I’ll get a kickback on the sale that will help keep the lights on around here.

(For more info see https://leanpub.com/affiliates. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.” Nathan R. Hale is a Member of the Leanpub Affiliate Program.)

Final point: it’s free!

Practically every feature on Trello is totally free (another reason to love it). That said, if you sign up with this link, I’ll get some premium features like the ability to upload my own backgrounds, etc, which will be awesome!

How can you see yourself using Trello to organize your life and ministry?