A civic-minded citizen seeking the singularity

An entry

How I use Trello

Date: 2017-06-28
Status: release
Tags: trello tools tips

I've introduced dozens of people to Trello. I remember when it launched at TechCrunch Disrupt, and I signed up, day 1. They even sent me a shirt early on. Those were the days...

Then, not so long ago, Fog Creek cashed in on a ~$400 million offer from Atlassian to buy Trello, and I've been holding my breathe, hoping they don't Jira-fy the simplicity out of Trello.

Most recently, I introduced a small, online publishing company to Trello, as a way to manage their contacts and coordinate distributed publishing processes.

A Card is a doable piece of work

I like to use the INVEST model when thinking about Cards.

  • Independent
  • Negotiable
  • Valuable
  • Estimatable
  • Small
  • Testable

  • Cards should generally move left to right, and rarely move right to left again. If a card does move left, it should be considered an Exception case to the overall flow.


  • Members on a Card should be the Owner of a Card - the person responsible for moving the Card along in its particular lifecycle.
  • If the Card will be touched by many people, remove yourself from the Card once you're done with it.
  • At any given time, Card filters should reveal who owns a Card at any given time.

  • Subscribe

  • If you ever owned the Card, or simply want to watch the card, Subscribe to it. If you become a Member of a Card, you automatically become Subscribed to it. Consider un-subscribing from a Card if you don't want notifications about it.


  • Use Labels as you see fit
  • Labels usually require a team to have a conversation about how and when to use Labels
  • For example, I use labels to estimate time
  • Beware of too many labels - they can be overwhelming and tend to become less useful