One of the challenges of a growing business is to manage your tasks and teams while maintaining your customer service standards. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Project Management (PM) tools come in handy. Then you face another challenge – choosing the right tool to suit your needs. There are plenty of articles comparing CRMs and PM tools.
This is not another article comparing different tools. Having gone through the process of researching for my own business, I can say that I don’t really enjoy having choice paralysis. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already urgently looking for a quick and easy solution.
So here is my choice tool to manage tasks and teams: Trello.
You’re naturally wondering “Why did you choose Trello?”. Before we get into that, here’s a brief explanation about Trello actually is.
What is Trello
Japanese engineer Taiichi Ohno created the Kanban (meaning “signboard” or “billboard” in Japanese) method of project management as a way to quickly organise and track the stages of a particular project or production.
This particular method of project tracking is what made Trello popular. Trello is an online Kanban-based list-making application. Notice that I didn’t describe it as a CMS or PM platform. The truth is Trello is neither… and both. It can work as a CMS system or a PM system, or both.
Which is one of the reasons that makes Trello unique when compared to other platforms; it is based on a simple yet proven system. And if something works so well, why reinvent the wheel?
Trello has become a staple for most of our operational needs due to the following reasons:
Easy to incorporate into existing workflow
Let’s face the truth: CMSs and PMs are usually the last few tools that many businesses would consider implementing. Often, these are brought in only after a business has already established a task flow (which is often inefficient and needs rescuing). Introducing a new tool into the flow can essentially break a routine. No matter how important changing an inefficient routine is, people will still stick to it because of familiarity i.e. keeping things the way they are.
Hence, one of the considerations we had when choosing the right CRM/PR tool was the ease of implementing a new system into an existing workflow. Trello fits the bill due to its ease of transition, simple interface and is quick to set up.
The concept of Kanban is pretty much about pasting sticky notes. It’s hard not to find someone who is unfamiliar with sticky/post-it notes. If you love sticky notes, you will find Trello to be just as easy: write down your notes on a card and then stick it to the board.
Great for Beginners
Our clients, some who even had trouble understanding the basics of Gmail, had no issues seeing how straightforward Trello is. The secret to Trello’s ease of use is the information that is represented visually. That makes it easier to understand how it works. Compared to many other CMS or PM platforms, Trello probably has the least steep learning curve.
With Trello, you can create your own structured monitoring system for managing clients, projects and/or tasks. Trello can be as simple or as extensive as you want it.
It can also adapt to the growing size of your team, since anyone with a Trello account can easily be invited on-board to an existing project.
The basic Trello account is free! You don’t need to subscribe every member of the team, since all free account users would be able to access your Trello boards with no issues.
However, a paid or premium version of Trello offers extensive amounts of functions that will prove useful, especially at the management level of business. These functions are called “Power-Ups”. Free account users are limited to one power up each. For as little as $5 per month, you will be able to add on more Power Ups to help make your Trello network truly unique to your business.
Once the functions are implemented on the boards, everyone else in your team will still be able to use them, even the free account users!
It comes with its own mobile app that is just as simple to use. Use Trello wherever you are, at your own preferred device or timezone.
Despite its many advantages, there are definitely some gripes about Trello that we need to discuss:
Function Over Form
You might not agree, but I equate Trello’s functionality to WordPress: It’s not eye candy, but it gets the job done. Sure it’s far from being horrible, but it doesn’t look quite as sleek as Asana or Hubspot. Much like how WordPress may not be as sleek in design as Squarespace or Shopify.
Free Version has Limited Capabilities
With a free account you are limited to one Power-Up. Considering that business owners often have more than one app that they they use to run their business, that is pretty restrictive.
The lack of automated functionalities on the free account is the reason why a paid account could be worth investing in. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost much.
Initial Customisation Set Up Can Be Tedious
When it comes to something so versatile and customisable, it helps to have great templates as a base to work with. Not that Trello is lacking in this area: It has introduced a Templates section that features user-submitted templates for other users to use.
The problem with these templates is that they are created and designed with the developer’s own needs in mind, and not for a general user audience. The ones that Trello has created are perhaps the best option but they are far too little and are not categorised separately from the user submitted ones. Therefore, the best way would be to develop your own solutions from scratch.
Many CRM users may be scratching their heads as to why I am so enthusiastic about Trello. Let me just say that there are definitely far better tools available out there. I personally have preference for some over Trello.
However, Trello was chosen simply because it’s easy to use, easy to train clients on, and easy to implement into an existing system. At the end of the day, customer satisfaction over our service to them is dependent on how much easier we have made their business processes for them. Trello continued to help us achieve that goal over all other CRM and PM systems that we have tested.
Keen to know how Trello can work to help your business? Drop us an email to find out!
Armen Rizal Rahman