Ready, Set, Code: How Engineering Teams Use Trello

Taco the dog and his engineering friends floating in Trello cyber space

Engineering teams know that every detail matters. Whether creating new features, fixing bugs, or refactoring an entire architecture, engineers know that one tiny semicolon out of place can break the whole build.

It’s for that reason that engineering teams are constantly communicating. It might seem ironic, given the heads-down nature of coding. But engineering teams are doing much more than just running terminal commands. They’re performing code reviews, evaluating specs, and constantly testing code to ensure it all fits together. Their work requires the input of many other teams, from product managers to designers, QA analysts to sysadmins.

Everyone in the larger engineering ecosystem is playing a part to ensure the best possible code is being shipped, and the best products are being built. This process is no small feat — no wonder they love their cups of java 😉.

So how do all these moving parts stay on track? Engineering teams are some of earliest, and most avid adopters of Trello boards. They see Trello as the visual and malleable tool that they need for countless moving parts and ever-evolving deadlines. Trello’s flexibility allows engineering teams to structure different boards in varied ways, giving them the autonomy to map out their myriad of projects the way they see fit.


How Engineering Teams Use Trello


View of Trello For Engineering Teams Playbook page

After speaking with many engineering teams about how they use Trello, we’re compiling all of their wisdom into one handy guide: The Trello Playbook For Engineering Teams is officially merged to prod.

Go To Playbook

Here’s a preview of some of the engineering team boards featured in the playbook. You are able to copy these templates and make them your own:

Agile Development

For engineering teams that like to iterate quickly, setting up an agile board helps everyone stay on task. Create lists for backlogged items, what’s being worked on in the current sprint, and (most importantly) what’s completed. Attach all relevant product specs to the cards themselves.

Sample Trello Board: Agile Development for engineering

Go to the sample board.

Bug Tracking

Bugs can strike at anytime and bug spray will rarely suffice, so keeping a clear list of them and other issues in the code is important. Maintaining a bug tracking system with a Trello board is an excellent way to triage which bugs are being addressed and which have everyone stumped. Create different lists to indicate the level of seriousness of each reported issue, and attach all relevant pull requests and Jira issues right to the card back.

Sample Trello Board: Bug Reports for engineering

Go to the sample board.

Site Reliability

Scaling and improving the performance of your site is one of those oft-forgotten, yet critical facets of an engineering team’s work. Managing the constant flow of merged code and keeping track of what needs to be deployed, plus making sure the site stays up and running, are all critical workflows that are easily solved with this Trello board.

Sample Trello Board: Site reliability for engineers

Go to the sample board.

Product Roadmap

After taking a step back from the nitty-gritty details of the codebase, it’s important to ask bigger picture questions about where the direction of the work is going. Product roadmap Trello boards are a clear way to convey to internal employees, or even customers in the wild, which projects and features are going to be prioritized in the long term much like Twitch recently did.

Sample Trello Board: product roadmap for engineers

Go to the sample board.

Sprint Retrospectives

When sprinting through projects in short, iterative bursts, it’s important to take a step back after each one to reflect on what went well—and what could have been better. Using a shared Trello board helps keep discussion transparent, collaborative, and solution-oriented. Use this template to ensure the process of getting and receiving feedback remains democratic so everyone feels like they are contributing to the solution.

Sample Trello Board: spring retrospectives for engineers

Go to the sample board.


Deploy Your Own Trello Boards

Engineering teams are often large, detail-oriented, and fast-paced. Their work is critical to the end result of a product, and thus their workflows are equally as important. Ensure your engineering team is staying on track and prioritizing the right projects by testing out these Trello workflows, and if you find them reliable, commit the changes!

Go To Playbook

Good or bad, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello) or write in to support@trello.com

Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done.

Get Started