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Collaborative Management with Trello

Wednesday Workshop at Create on the Square this week looked at Collaborative Management

Collaborative management styles (rather than a traditional ‘command-and-control’ approach) are at the heart of many hugely successful 21st Century businesses, like Google. The workshop looked at the benefits of working using this approach, no matter how big your business. The workshop also provided an overview of Trello, a popular management tool that is a great enabler for this kind of approach.

“You need to have confidence in your people, and enough self-confidence to let them identify a better way.” Eric Schmidt, How Google Works.
A more traditional, top down approach to management has seen decline, with more and more organisations opting for a more collaborative approach, that allows individuals to take control of their own tasks, and decide the best course of action. Working in this way can allow teams to be more creative, with more opportunities to share thoughts and ideas and allow team members to take a more equal, managerial role.

One great tool, that allows teams to work collaboratively on projects, while still being able to do their own thing, is Trello. Trello offers both a free and paid version, and is an interactive planning tool that allows the whole team to see one another’s progress in real time. Plans are set out in multiple lists, on which cards can be added for individual tasks, and then moved around as and when needed.
A good start would be to create lists titled ‘to do’, ‘doing’, and ‘done’. This then allows team members to easily track their own and each others progress and ensure everyone is on schedule.

When creating teams, the admin can decide whether either member is either ‘normal’, meaning they can simply see the board, but cannot edit, or ‘admin’, meaning they can add, move and edit boards.

Once you’ve created your board and your first card, there’s a number of features that can be added:

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Add member – this allows you to assign yourself or a particular person to the card, everyone can then see who is in control of this task.
Add label – cards can be colour coded which is handy when needing to distinguish between cards. These can be useful to label people, different areas of work, different projects or order of priority.
Add checklist – add sub-tasks to each card in the form of a checklist so you can easily track your progress. If you decide a checklist item is more important, you can choose to convert this into it’s on card.
Add comments – this can be used to give any extra information on the card to save your full view looking too cluttered.
Due date – set a deadline for a task to ensure it’s completed on time. The card will flash red when the deadline is reached so you’ll never miss it.
Attachment – this feature is really handy if you want to include a lot of information, but can’t fit it all on one card. Attachments can be added from either the local computer or from Google docs so any important information needed for particular tasks can be found easily from one programme.
Subscribe – subscribing to a card means you’ll get a notification when a card is edited. This is handy for a manager to track the progress of their staff, without having to be constantly watching.
Trello can be used on both desktop and through a mobile app, making it accessible from everywhere and for everyone. The interface is basic meaning it’s simple to use and won’t take up a lot of time learning how to use it. It’s a great tool for collaborative projects or simply for just keeping a day-to-day to do list.