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How to use Trello for effective team communication
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How to use Trello for effective team communication

A headshot of Dan Ivory
Dan Ivory
13th December, 2021
A school of fish surrounded by colourful shapes
A headshot of Dan Ivory
Dan Ivory
13th December, 2021

Discover tips and tricks to streamline your workflow, boost productivity, and collaborate seamlessly today!

Over the last decade, Trello has become the preferred team collaboration and project management tool, with over 1,000,000 teams worldwide active on the platform. It’s easy to see why, with its easy-to-use interface, well-organised cards and lists, and fun drag-and-drop functionality.

With many of us embracing remote work, having the right tools in place to enable teams to work asynchronously across different time zones and tools is more crucial than ever. A recent Digital Etiquette survey by Adaptavist found that virtual communication has taken its toll during COVID-19 with 72% of workers facing a daily uphill struggle to communicate virtually. This ultimately affects emotional and mental well-being, which is why as leaders and colleagues we need to help each other feel more visible without always being on.

The importance of team communication

Great team communication helps build the foundations of a collaborative, efficient and trustworthy team. Teams who are able to openly and frequently communicate develop more trust which leads to more success as there’s little room left for ambiguity. Where team communication is poor, more conflicts due to personality differences are likely to arise resulting in much lower team performance.

With the realms of the workplace changing rapidly, team communication isn’t limited to face-to-face meetings or water cooler chats, but could now be via Slack or Zoom. More important than ever are the tools and visual cues available to us whilst we’re not physically in the office together. This is where tools such as Trello can be, not necessarily the silver bullet, but they certainly help a long way when it comes to improving team communication and performance.

How to use Trello effectively for team communication

1. Create your Trello board with purpose

Sit together as a group (could be your direct functional team or project team) to discuss how you want to use each board for team communication. It’s important that team members are given the autonomy to input into decisions that affect them, especially if they’re expected to use it regularly.
Is the Trello board intended for a particular project, workflow or a general to-do list? Who ensures the board, lists and cards are up to date? Make sure everyone knows why the board has been set up and why it’ll be beneficial for their everyday work as an individual and as a team. More importantly, how is it going to help the team communicate most effectively so work isn’t being duplicated and help to improve productivity?

2. How to use Trello for visual cues

You’ve heard the phrase ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. Without being able to swing your chair around and ask the person sitting behind you a question, it makes visual aids in Trello all the more useful. Plus it’ll brighten up your board and make it easier and more fun to use.
  • Assign members to Trello cards - who is responsible for this particular task so if anyone has questions, they know who to go to. There’s no point in having lots of tasks with no accountability.
  • Use labels - Use the different coloured labels to easily categorise the cards however you choose. Whether that’s by its current progress status, the sprint name or the team it’s associated with. At a quick glance, this should help people to find or filter the exact cards they need with ease.
Trello comments before and after Treaded Comments is added
  • Dates - How urgent is the task and when is it due? Having visible dates makes calendar view much easier, and can help prompt the rest of the team to start thinking about it or to help keep each other on track with timelines.
  • Checklists - For those that like to plan down to the finer details, you’ll probably be using the checklists to tick off each micro-tasks. Not only will it help keep the person responsible on track but also help others see how far along you have gotten with that particular Trello card.
A screenshot showing labels used on a Trello card

3. Team communication means making time to sync

So your board is set up for collaboration success and a visual picture painted via Trello labels, checklists and due dates, so anyone can get a layer of the land at a quick glance. Next, you’ll want to have regular check-ins with each other for productivity but also for wellbeing checks, especially if you’re working remotely. It’s easy for weeks to go by without having spoken to your team or colleagues.
Purposely setting time aside to catch up as a team, whether that’s each day or each week and using your Trello board as a point of reference helps to ensure everyone is on the same page. Depending on your situation, this could be face to face, over a video call or voice call, either way, it’s a good way to ensure everyone is getting the social interaction they need with the team.

4. Export your Trello board for meetings

Team communication isn’t limited to your direct team, it includes communicating with people outside of your team or function. Cross-team communication is just as important as inter-team communication as it fosters information and idea-sharing, therefore, cultivating innovation.
A screenshot showing checklists on a Trello card
However, if members don't need daily access to your Trello board but would need regular updates on your project, it helps to show them your Trello board as a guide for the meeting. This is where Board Export for Trello becomes very handy. Give a snapshot in-time update to stakeholders without drowning the meeting with details.

5. Thread comments in Trello for effective communication

Trello shouldn’t be a place where you log tasks for them to be forgotten, or rarely will a task be worked on by just one person. In instances where you need someone else’s input or you want to keep another person updated, you’ll want to comment on your card to let the person know.

For those who are already regular users of Trello, you’ll find the comments section may not be as intuitive as you need it to be, especially if there are multiple points of discussion. And if you’re used to using something like Slack, then it definitely won’t be up to par as there’s no way to reply directly to specific comments, leaving you with a chaotic comments section.
Threaded Comments for Trello will help you and your team communicate with clarity. Gone are the days of stacked and confusing comments. You can now have multiple discussions within one card without spending lots of time deciphering which messages relate to which.
Try Threaded Comments for Trello for free today:
Written by
A headshot of Dan Ivory
Dan Ivory
Product Manager
Dan is a Product Manager at Kolekti and is based in the UK. He's passionate about creating apps that boost collaborative work management in Trello and monday.com.

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