When we debuted the Trello Team Toolkit early this year, it was because we knew that teams everywhere had big things to do and even bigger things to accomplish, together. We wanted to give teams something extra to celebrate—a day-to-day way of working that was more productive, more collaborative, and easier to manage.
The toolkit includes free template boards for better meetings, more organized team information, smoother projects, loftier goals, and bigger bashes. Over 30,000 copies of these boards later, teams are finding great ways to use them to plan, work, achieve, and celebrate better, together!
If you’ve started using the boards, or want to give them a try for your everyday teamwork, here are some of the top tips and tricks you can use to customize them and make them as productive and useful as possible.
From knowledge sharing to project management, let’s go through each board’s top tips one by one. If you like what you see, you can then choose to copy the free sample board for your own team or learn more about its setup with one of our deep dive guides.
Put Your Team’s Knowledge In One Place (Or Base)
Catch this crazy fact: Many workers spend as much as 20% of their work week looking for internal information that they need to accomplish tasks, whether that’s digging through folders of documents or tracking down a colleague to answer their questions.
Enter, the team knowledge base. This is a go-to source of truth where all of the team’s important information, links, schedules and more are housed. A Trello board is a great place to build a knowledge base because it can be easily updated and modified as new information comes in, and old information gets archived. With a team resources board, organizational chaos becomes organized calm.
Here are the top tips for getting the most out of your Team Resources board.
- ℹ️ An active list for FAQs, or too-frequently asked questions, is an easy way to create shortcuts for common queries. Each card’s title is the question (Where is the monthly reports Google Drive folder?), and the answer is included in the card back— along with relevant links, people to contact for further questions, or other important details.
- 🌴 Especially around the holidays, vacation schedules can seriously slow down work. Keep all those days off in one view by having people add cards for the days they’re out of the office each month.
- 🙋🏽♀️Team cards help you get to know who’s who on the team. Each person fills out a card with their role and responsibilities and a photo to make new hires feel familiar with the team structure. If you have folks include their birthday, likes, dislikes and hobbies onto their card, it also makes it super easy to get thoughtful birthday gifts for them every year.
- ✅Keep a high-level view of project progress on this board too. Log weekly updates in the comments section of each project card, and link the cards to Slack to have those updates piped into your team channel for easy reading.
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*Yawn* No More Tired Team Meetings
Here’s another staggering (but not surprising) team fact: Workers consider at least 50% of the meetings they attend to be unproductive.
And by unproductive, they feel like they leave these “time sucks” without a clear outcome or next steps for moving work forward.
Adding structure to your team meetings with different meeting roles and an agenda can go a long way in keeping things on track. There is a way, however, to do this without sucking the fun out of the whole thing. Here’s how to keep the creativity up, and the droning way down:
- 🗃Start gathering content early. Remind everyone 3-5 days before the meeting to start adding cards to the weekly meeting agenda via chat or set up a reminder in Trello. Fun card covers and attached reading, links or presentations are highly recommended
- ❓Review in advance to build points of discussion. Comments, questions, or suggestions can be added by teammates to the meeting cards prior to the meeting so that the owner of the card can prepare their part ahead of time.
- 👩🏻💻For each meeting, there will be someone's face on the "meeting lead" card. They're the lead and are in charge of wrangling any last minute attendees (messaging them if they're not there), running the meeting, making sure everything on the cards is covered, keeping us all on topic, and tabling conversations for auxiliary/follow up meetings if they run long. Assign a different meeting lead from your team at each meeting to keep things fresh.
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Party On, Wayne (Party On, Garth)
You won’t need this team board everyday (if you do, that’s amazing and we should talk). However, because team culture is as important as tracking daily tasks, you’ll want to have a quick and collaborative process in place to plan an event that will shake the cubicle dust off your next office party.
Just think—a workflow where everyone pitches in to RSVP, plan the menu, pick activities and more. Here’s how to stop the email threads and start enjoying the party planning process with Trello:
- 📅Use the first list to keep all the important details of the party, from time and date, to budget, party suggestions, and the guest list.
- 🍕Labels can be a great way to help with meal and drink planning when you’re trying to keep the gluten-free, dairy-free, and meat lovers all well fed and watered.
- 🎶Source activity and music ideas from the whole team using checklists. You’ll make a party playlist in no time! Already have a list ready and want to input it quickly into Trello? Just copy and paste your entire list into a Trello card checklist and it will automagically populate as separate checklist items!
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Goal: Be The Best Team You Can Be
Setting goals can seem fun when you’re in the brainstorming stage, but getting target numbers and quarterly initiatives down on paper can dry up enthusiasm pretty quickly. Then there’s the issue of tracking progress and informing your superiors on your weekly or monthly progress. You’re already busy trying to achieve that stretch goal, it’s hard to find time to stop and report back on things you’ve already done.
That’s why a goal tracking Trello board is handy.
You can reduce the overhead of creating reports by tracking progress from list to list, while logging weekly updates right in the card comments. Management can simply subscribe to the board or relevant cards to get the updates they need. Everyone’s informed without the lengthy TPS reports.
Here are some top tips we’ve learned by using this system ourselves at Trello:
- 🔆 Each list title is the goal. By keeping it confined to this small space, it keeps the goal concise and easy to remember as the north star for business decisions. It also puts more emphasis on the list’s cards, which are the projects and efforts that contribute towards the goal, and where the business focus should be day-to-day.
- 🖊 To keep the updating process from becoming a chore, goal stakeholders (those who own the projects that contribute to the goal) should rotate the job of writing updates weekly or monthly so that tracking is a team effort.
- 🏠 Use each project card as a centralized information station. Set due dates and add project members. Attach other Trello boards or cards where the work is happening, as well as strategy documents and presentation decks that give execs the context they need.
- 📈Use labels to indicate progress. Keep that at-a-glance progress perspective fresh, and you’ll always know if you’re heading in the right direction!
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Project Manage It All Like A Pro
The most popular toolkit board of all is our Project Management board. We call it your team’s watchtower position. It’s where you collaborate on all the details, from the timeline and strategy, to your kickoff meeting up until the last task you blissfully drag to Done. With one place to rule them all, you’ll always have an up-to-date, single view of your project progress.
Here are some of the top tips for making it a dynamic and delightful project pad:
- 🤔Keep a list called “Questions For The Next Meeting.” You’ll be able to field questions in advance of your regular meetings—helping to set your agenda or fielding inquiries that are better answered right there and then. Save time, save sanity.
- ⚠️Sometimes things get stuck. When they do, move those tasks to the “Blocked” list and turn on the Card Aging Power-Up. It causes cards to “yellow” or fade the longer they sit untouched, adding an extra visual layer to those items that need attention ASAP.
- ☑️Checklists can be added to cards when a task requires several sub-steps that aren’t big enough to need a full card but need to be documented for tracking progress. If you have the same checklist steps for multiple cards, you can copy that checklist from card to card to create a repeatable process.
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The No. 1 All-Around Trello Toolkit Tip
Here’s the key thing to keep in mind when setting up your daily teamwork process in Trello: Don’t be afraid to make changes.
Once a quarter or so, ask for feedback from your team about each board’s structure, and get specific about what’s working and what’s not. Their honest input will be an invaluable source for improvement over time. Processes should be productive, not permanent!