Trello Kanban Boards 101: Visualizing Progress Simplified

Preetipadma Khandavilli • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Since the Covid-19 mayhem, work-from-home has become the new normal for many organizations across the globe. But managing employee activities and business tasks in remote working norms has become challenging for business decision-makers. To organize their lives and work, project managers and people have started turning to Kanban solutions like Trello. 

Before we dive into the specifics of Trello Kanban boards, we have to take a slight detour and understand the need for project management software.

Table of Contents


  • Knowledge of Task Management.

Understanding the Importance of Project Management Software

With the increase of remote work projects under work-from-home scenarios, it’s more crucial than ever to stay connected with the business teams and ensure that everyone is on top of their responsibilities. For this, business heads will require to rely on project management collaboration software solutions. By defining clear project schedules and clarifying associated employee duties, project management team collaboration software enhances internal and external workplace communication. They also minimize the losses incurred due to poor communication and the inability to meet deadlines.

There are already numerous collaboration apps and software available in the market. Platforms like Google Workspace facilitate internal communications by offering messaging, emails, multi-author file collaboration, and even video conferencing. However, the constant need for checking mails, team activity notifications across multiple applications can lead to employee report burnout. 

So the need of the hour is a tool that can 

  • Offer business activities tracking on a budget.
  • Create precise timelines for measuring how long certain tasks will take.
  • Enable task automation.
  • Aid in email integration.
  • Provide a comprehensive view of employee assignments, deadlines, and workflows. 

Trello is one such project management collaboration software that checks the above requirements. It has proven very handy since the pandemic brought a shift in business work cultures.

Introduction to Trello

Trello is a visually appealing, engaging, and intuitive software for organizing, coordinating, and tracking work. Since its inception in 2011 at a TechCrunch event by the founder Joel Spolsky, Trello’s popularity grew as a result of its simplicity and ease of usage. Users may prioritize everything they need flexibly and conveniently with this project management tool’s features like boards, lists, and cards. Trello has over a million users, including well-known companies such as Google, Udemy, and StackShare.

Trello Dashboard
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One of the best features of Trello is the Kanban boards, which are visual tools that enable teams to become flexible, productive, and focused on continuously delivering results. Trello is frequently used as a Kanban tool since it offers a free version. While Trello offers some core capabilities of Kanban like visualization, some capabilities are only available via add-ons or third-party plugins known as “Power-Ups.”  Hence businesses will need to pay to avail those power-ups to be able to utilize features like Gantt charts.

Understanding the Features of Trello

Trello has the following things to offer:

  • Cards: Every Kanban board contains a set of cards in it. The cards are the basic building block of its functionality. Each card typically represents one task, making it easy to keep track of particular activities and sub-tasks that users must complete. These cards help organize tasks on boards that are laid out in a list format. Cards have the following sub-features:
    • Card Descriptions: Contains specific information about the card, like directions or website links.
    • Comments and Activity: Cards have comments written to them so that team members can cooperate and communicate more readily. To inform them of the comment, just type their name after the @ sign.
    • Card Back: Users may turn the cards over to read descriptions, comments, and activities. This feature allows users to include members, checklists, and due dates to tasks.
    • Labels: Cards can be labeled to help users arrange them by features like teams or subjects. These labels may be color-coded and are customizable.
    • Card Repeater: This feature allows users to create cards automatically for activities that occur periodically like every day or week.
    • Checklist: Every card can have a checklist that permits users to notify team members of the tasks executed or break down tasks into as many details as necessary.
  • Butler Automation: Butler lets users create automation, rules, and instructions within their Trello boards, reducing repetitive tasks. This does not need specialized coding abilities, making it simple to implement for anybody. Users may start creating automation by clicking on the Butler icon in the Trello board menu and assigning it rules, buttons, due dates, and calendars.
  • Views: They are the different ways the data are presented. Trello offers multiple options in views viz.,
    • Board (Kanban) View: This is the default view, where you can visualize your data on a board of stacked cards. 
    • Team Table View: This is used for tracking cross-company or cross-project work in a spreadsheet-like format.
    • Map View: This comes in handy when displaying location-based data in context on an interactive map.
    • Calendar View: This is most suitable for tracking deadlines and time-sensitive tasks.
    • Dashboard View: This offers a bird’s eye view of projects that allow visualizing success metrics and building reports.
    • Timeline View: This enables users to view all processes in a synchronized manner, which helps in managing roadblocks and making data adjustments as soon as they are spotted.
Trello Family Reunion Event Planning
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Trello Kanban Boards: An Overview

In the 1940s, Taiichi Ohno, a Toyota engineer, created Kanban, which means “signboard” or “billboard” in Japanese. This technique focuses on streamlining work processes while increasing quality and efficiency. This concept began as a car manufacturing system 60 years ago and has now evolved into a productivity solution for organizations of all sizes. 

Trello Kanban Boards for Travel
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As mentioned earlier, a board forms the foundation of the Kanban system. A Trello Kanban board is divided into many lists that reflect the various stages of the project’s completion. Each list has a set of cards where every card corresponds to a task in a business workflow. In its most basic format, a Trello Kanban board has three lists: “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.”

Trello Kanban Board Overview
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To begin, tasks are gathered as proposals and typed on cards. After identifying the project objective, these proposals are labelled as tasks that are then included in the To-Do list. The task cards that are presently being processed are moved to the Doing list. After successful execution of the tasks, the cards get placed under the Done list. Generally, these cards move across the board from left to right.

Kanban also offers Work-in-progress limits that are enforced in Kanban by restricting the number of cards that may be placed in specific columns. If a team can reasonably work on five projects at a time, for instance, the WIP limit will only allow five cards in the “Doing” column of the Kanban board, which aids in task management.

Understanding the Benefits of Trello Kanban Boards

By focusing on completing incomplete activities before new ones begin, the Trello Kanban boards help maintain workflow, avoid bottlenecks, and boost team productivity. In other words, the Trello Kanban board provides a comprehensive view of all tasks and progress, thereby helping identify where work gets stuck.

Apart from that, the Trello Kanban Board ensures:

  • Better Visibility
  • Agile project management
  • File sharing and collaboration
  • Higher productivity

Understanding the Importance of Trello Kanban Boards

Trello Kanban Boards are intriguing because they resemble the notion of moving sticky notes on a whiteboard in real life. They offer a wide range of Trello Kanban Board templates that can prove resourceful for business activity (e.g. marketing templates, sales templates). Trello also integrates with Slack, Dropbox, Box, Onenote, Google Drive, Salesforce, and other services. In addition, its Power-ups assist users in selecting the capabilities required to improve team workflow efficiency. This aids in the reduction of bloat.

In Trello, files can be added to any card, allowing businesses to keep track of all crucial tasks-related documents. They can use checklists to break down each task into subtasks, with boxes to check off when each step is done. Trello also simplifies the collaborative processes by allowing collaborators on a board to be tagged in comments or configured to get automated notifications when a card is moved, keeping them up to date at all times. 

There are many Trello Kanban Analytics features offered by Trello. These include Aging Chart, Cycle time histograms, Cycle Time Scatterplot, Cumulative Flow Diagram, Throughput histogram, and Throughput Run chart.

Understanding the Trello Kanban Boards Setup

The list below is a simple guide that can help you begin using the Trello Kanban board in Trello with ease.

Trello Overview
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  • Step 2: Make a new Trello Kanban board. You can do this by clicking the Plus ‘+’ in the top-right corner or from the main dashboard. Choose a name for your board and change the backdrop if desired.
  • Step 3: Compile a list to help you with your workflow.
  • Step 4: Add some task cards to your to-do lists by clicking the three-dotted “option” button in the top right of the list.
  • Step 5: Break down work into smaller segments, preferably using Checklist.
  • Step 6: Make your cards more colorful by using color-coded labels. Click ‘More’ in the menu to the right of the screen, then Select Labels. Click on Create a new label for your label and assign it a color.
  • Step 7: Invite people from your team to work together. 
  • Step 8: Assign tasks and responsibilities once the collaborators have joined the Trello Kanban board.


There’s no arguing that Trello is a powerful tool, but it’s not comprehensive when it comes to project management. It is the best tool at disposal when businesses don’t need a heavy-duty project management app. The key goal of leveraging a Trello Kanban board is to keep track of work in progress, which Trello makes simple and hassle-free.

This blog talks about Trello Kanban Boards in detail, highlighting their features, benefits, uses, and set up with a brief introduction to Trello first.

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