Announcement: guidelines for using Trello

TL;DR: The Community Team is great at managing daily operations but sometimes we lose the “big picture” and things fall between the cracks. Enter Project Management!

The topic of project management has surfaced a few times in the past couple of years.
During Contributor DayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. at WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. US 2018 a group of people (Christina Workman – @amethystanswers, Dean Burton – @burtondean, Javier Ontiveros – @javo01, Ken Mick – @kengmick, Ray Mitchell – @raym, Stacey CC DePolo) worked on a first proposal for a workflow and in the past few days @sippis and I reviewed it.

After a bit of back and forth and some trial and error, we are ready to start using the Trello board for the Community Team!

Project Management through TrelloTrello Project management system using the concepts of boards and cards to organize tasks in a sane way. This is what the team uses for example:

Trello is a free project management tool based on kanban boards. In its simplest form you have three columns with three status: To Do, Doing, and Done.

Each team that uses kanban boards usually comes up with different ways of leveraging them, including some very complex use cases.
We tried to keep it simple enough to be easy to use for as many people as possible, but customised it to the team’s needs.

Why Trello: a SWOT Analysis

1) Tool
– Free
– User friendly
– Mobile apps
– Browser based
2) Processes
The Community Team is busy busy busy. Sometimes we get so busy with the daily stuff (vetting, orientations, invoicing, payments, etc…) that we don’t keep an eye on the bigger picture. Trello will help us do that.
– Team work
– Work progress
– Multiple projects under the same roof (working groups can add a board)
1) Tool
– Browser based – you can’t use it when you are offline like Google Docs and then sync when you have a connection
– Limited in terms of functionality if you are a professional project manager
2) Processes
– People need to be added to the boards to be able to edit, comment, etc…
– New tool to learn
1) Tool
– Add-ons to make the worflow even more efficient
2) Processes
– It allows new contributors to pick a project and join the team that is working on it without being a deputyProgram Supporter Community Program Supporters (formerly Deputies) are a team of people worldwide who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about program supporters in our Program Supporter Handbook.
– It allows existing contributors that have been out of the loopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. to go back to working actively on projects
1) Tool
– Not open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL., might disappear into the void
– Might become a fully paid tool in the future.
There is nothing pointing that any of the above will happen, but you never know…
2) Processes
– Change can be met with resistance
– Not enough buy-in from senior members of the team
– Logging activity in Trello rather than on the team blog adds another level of complexity to deputy reporting

After doing this SWOT analysis it looks like it’s a good idea to try it for real. Especially since we are aware of the threats we can self-correct over time 😉

Suggestions for a smoother adoption

Define the scope

Trello is not for daily activities (vetting, orientations, payments, invoicing, mediation, quizzes, etc…) nor for Community Organisers to organise their events.

Trello is for:

  • time and scope defined projects
  • one or more people working on it

Working Groups are a great example, because they are very focused and need all the members to be updated, whether they are present during the biweekly chats or not.

Commit to the experiment

From now to December 31st, we kindly ask you to give Trello a proper chance. It means that if you are working on anything Community related you should use our public board to keep track of the project so everyone can be informed and join.

Make it part of our team chats

We should introduce the board at our meetings as the tool we use to work on projects.

This is an example how the Marketing team does it, and it’s a great way to reinforce how useful Trello is for everyone:

Right click on your mouse, Open in New Tab, so you can actually read what it says 🙂

Trial Period

We will use Trello until the end of the year. If by December 31st 2019 we see that this tool has actually slowed down projects or became a roadblock for new contributors, we will discontinue it.

What does success look like?

  • Everything that is non daily operation is documented in the Trello board.
  • We keep the board updated (even by moving projects into the Backlog column) so people that haven’t been active for a while or are looking for a way to contribute to Community can pick up a task and go with it.
  • Every proposal that we post in the blog and is met with enthusiasm is turned into a project card in Trello so we know that something happened after we said “What a great idea!”
  • 100% buy-in from all the Community Team
  • 100% buy-in from new contributors that understand that this is part of the on-boarding.

Next steps and call for feedback

To ensure adoption we need these processes to be clear, understandable, and useful.

  1. Please check the guidelines in the Column “👇👇👇 START HERE 👇👇👇”. Do they make sense? Do you think it’s a good workflow to start with?
  2. Explore the projects in the “To Do” and “In Progress” columns. Do they make sense when you see them in action?
  3. Add your project, no matter how simple or complex it might be. Ask in #community-events or #community-team to be added to the board (an unfortunate feature if the software). You need a Trello account to join.
  4. How do you think we should integrate the board in our meetings?

Thank you for reading all of this!