How to run a simple Agile process with Trello
What will you need?
- Trello (free)
What are some nice-to-haves but not required?
- The browser plug-in for Trello at http://scrumfortrello.com/ (free)
Simple Agile Metrics
- 1 month "Sprints" or cycles of work.
- 1 hour "Points" or approximate units of work.
- Velocity = how many "Points" do we finish in a "Sprint".
- In this example, our current Velocity is ~40.
Simple Agile Goals
- Track who is working on what.
- Track what is in progress and what is next, etc.
- Figure out your Average Velocity so you can be predictable.
- Have an estimation if things are going to be late.
- Have an estimation if more work needs to be ready to be pulled into the current Sprint.
- Award Team Bonuses for Great Velocity!?!?
Next, let's go over a simple layout for your Trello "Kanban" Board.
Backlog - a card for everything you want to work on later.
- Possible Columns:
- Needs more information
- Needs a meeting
- Low priority ideas
- Future marketing campaigns
Sprint - a card for everything you want to work on now.
Trello Sprint Columns
- This column isn't really part of the current Sprint, but I do recommend it for a couple of reasons.
In the image above, notice the title of the list contains "NoBurn". This is a trick for the ScrumForTrello.com plug-in.
It tells the plug-in, do not count this column towards the current Sprint's "Burn Down" or stats.
In other words, it's a way to keep it on the board and not count it towards the board's stats, because this is just a place holder for the next Sprint.
This column is used to prep for the next Sprint and also can be used to move work in or out of the current Sprint if the team seems to be finishing early or late.
Notice the title of this column also contains ~40. This is our "Velocity". It is here for a reminder of our current goal (based on previous Sprint's actual results.)
If Velocity is not reached for a Sprint, there is no penalty, but a bonus could be given if the number is surpassed by a lot! :)
Additionally, this column (and all columns) should be sorted top to bottom by Priority, so everyone gets an idea of what is coming next.
Every month, this list will be "rolled forward", by renaming it "CURRENT SPRINT" and then adding a new "NEXT SPRINT" list.
Finally, this helps to ensure that we do not plan for too much work in a Sprint, by keeping this column "estimated" and below the team's Velocity.
Which also brings us into Time Tracking and the ScrumForTrello plug-in.
Notice the big bold number(s) on each card (you can also see a total of these numbers on each list). These are the Estimated and Completed hours for each card (or within each list).
This can be added manually to a card by clicking on the card's title and adding (Estimated) numbers and/or [Completed] numbers.
If you install the ScrumForTrello plug-in, helper buttons will also appear every time you click on the title of a card so you do not have to add the numbers manually.
(The ScrumForTrello plug-in also "converts" these numbers from the card's title into actual fields on the card, so Time Tracking will make more much sense if you install the plug-in.)
You can also create a Trello power-up to add (?) and  to the card title, so people who do not have the plug-in can use the power-up button.
All of this and the "Burn Down" will come back at the end!
Each month, this column should start out containing all the work that we hope to complete within the current month.
We also leave a reminder on this list title: "Agree on Time Tracking and Paycheck before moving foward!"
This just means that in this list, the card should have 3 things: An Assignee, an Estimate, and a Paycheck.
After those 3 details are added to a card, it is "free" to be moved forward by the Assignee.
- When an employee is actively working on a task, they should move their card to this list.
- This is a great way to track what everyone is working on and also who isn't currently working on anything and could possibly be given a task.
- If a task has been started, but for some reason cannot be completed at this time, it should be moved to the Blocked column.
- Leads, Managers, or Executives should be responsible for removing any and all blockers and then moving the card back to Current Sprint or In Progress list.
- When a task is complete, the assignee should move the card to a Review column.
- When a task is reviewed and the client has accepted the changes, we can then move the task to Done so that the Paycheck numbers can be added to Payroll.
- Every month after Payroll and statistics are recorded, this column is archived and a new one is created.
- Done is also a required word to contain in this column for the ScrumForTrello plug-in to work correctly.
Time Tracking and the "Burn Down"
- If you have the plug-in installed, you should see a FIRE button on your Trello board to link you to the "Burn Down" chart (shown below).
- ScrumForTrello will provide you with a lot of Sprint progress statistics here.
- Scrolling down on the ScrumForTrello page, you can also quickly add estimates to each card instead of going one-by-one.
- Moving cards to the Done column will automatically "complete" the hours for that card.
- Additionally, to help the "Burn Down" chart and show real progress, for longer tasks remember to add [Actual] worked hours to the card at the end of the day.
Extra Trello Tips
- Use labels to quickly mark different projects, and you can click on one of the labels to switch them into a more detailed mode.
- Press 'Q' on a Trello board to show only cards that are ASSIGNED TO YOU. This mode also shows the number of cards in each list so you don't have to count cards.
If this article helped you, or you have any thoughts on how to do this better, please click the Like button and/or leave a comment below.