The Pros and Cons of Trello

Trello has been in the news recently for its success financially and with end users. But what are the pros and cons to using this project management software that seems to be taking the industry by storm?

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Trello’s parent company, Fog Creek Software Inc., spun it off because it was doing so well it needed to stand on its own. The article says, “Trello grew out of an effort at Fog Creek to break out of developer tools and “make something of use to civilians, because the market opportunity was so much larger,” [co-founder and Stack CEO] Joel Spolsky said. The tool launched at TechCrunch Disrupt at 2011 and has now grown to 4.5 million users.”

Here are three different perspectives on Trello vs. other comparable program management software.

DreamersLab.com list these pros and cons for Trello (as well as five other project management tools, including Redmine, Github, Basecamp, Wrike, and Kickoff.)

Pros:

  • It’s free! You can use right away after signed up at Trello.
  • You can use trello on about any size of screen. Its interface is much more different from other services. Trelllo looks like an App, not a site.
  • Real time updates is amazingly fast! Almost right away!
  • A board for a project and you can see all the items on one page.
  • Creating issues and assigned someone to those issues are simple and easy.
  • Adding new member is easy. You can not only add existing user to your board but also invite new users by type in emails.

Cons:

  • No gantt (project bar chart)
  • Can’t write documents or wiki about boards, only simple description.
  • No calendar.

BusinessBee.com offered its take on the Trello pros and cons. It weighed Trello against Basecamp on history, cost, benefits, applications and support. The conclusion? “Both web-based online project management programs can help streamline communication, and boost organizational efficiency, but Trello’s very visual three tiered organization system make it a bit easier to grasp and because it has a freemium option even fledging businesses can afford to use it,” it said.

Trello was the winner in the areas of benefits and cost. With regard to the latter, BusinessBee.com said, “Trello’s pricing structure is less complex than Basecamp’s, and it offers a free version that allows you to enjoy unlimited members, boards, organizations, and cards.” Trello was singled out for in benefits for being “adaptable and highly visual. It works on a three-tier information system that’s easy to understand: Boards, Lists, and Cards.”

Over at Quora.com, Gudjon Mar Gudjonsson, CEO and founder of OZ, weighs in on the pros and cons. He says, in response to a reader’s query:

Trello Pros:

  • A very natural human UI for the team to instantly see overall status with its Kanban list structure
  • You can invite outside members to a board within the organization
  • You can create closed boards with limited group of members within the organization
  • You can create public boards that anyone can view
  • Create multiple lists within each kanban board and color label the stories
  • Can implement checklists on stories/tasks
  • Assign multiple members on a story/task
  • It has an API where you can extend the system
  • Provides high-quality native apps on iPhone and Android
  • It’s free

Trello Cons:

  • Cards/tasks are limited to only one Board/Project
  • Limited email integration
  • Limited number of Labels
  • No freeform Tags
  • Difficult to work with multiple cards or tasks in the UI, like for moving, copy/paste and such.
  • Keyboard shortcuts and keyboard productivity usage is limited

There you have it: three diverse perspectives on what makes or breaks Trello. Cost seems to be a consistent pro and its board/project use can sometimes be a con.

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Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping, About.com, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.