Trello is a spectacular tool for clean, concise project planning - with very little effort, you can set up a workflow that suits your team, and get everything moving quickly. Sometimes, though, with larger teams, Trello can become somewhat cluttered. Have a look at our example project here:
As you can see, this Trello board for a website launch has gotten a little unwieldy already, even with just a few different teams included. If you're managing this project, it's difficult to see at a glance what you need to have input on, and which tasks you can safely leave to your team.
This guide today will show you how to solve this problem by syncing a second Trello board to the first, showcasing a live dashboard of only the tasks that need management's attention.
Step one: establishing goals and setting up workflows
The first step we want to take is to establish our goals - this will determine how we'll make a Master Board to cater to those goals.
In our example workflow shown above, the team is trying to launch a new website. The Backlog is everything that anyone is going to do over the next few sprints to finish the project. During each weekly planning session, each team has their workload for that sprint moved from “Backlog” into the "Sprint tasks" list, and then from there, whenever a team is actively working on a task, they move it into their respective “In progress” column. If a task needs Management approval before it’s completed, it’s placed in the “Approval Needed” list for management. Finally, when the task is approved, it's moved to “Done”. In this example, our managers really are only looking at the “Approval Needed” column with any regularity. They have a few other key tasks they’d like to keep track of, but with the number of tasks we have in each sprint, it’s a bit difficult for them to follow.
In order to translate this workflow over to a summarized Master Board, we'll need to make it a little more succinct. Backlog, Approval Needed, and Done all make sense to keep the same at the managerial level. The real problem, though, is the Sprint tasks. Tasks that have been flagged for the upcoming sprint are split across four different lists in our team's board to keep things organized across the different teams. At the management level, we want to simplify that down into a single "In progress" list. Finally, it'd be nice to make it so that "Approval Needed" - the most important column for management - was more visible somehow.
Here's our first crack at solving those problems:
This is our empty shell of a project, and we've built it to solve everything we listed above. Let's break it down:
- We have a simple Kanban style workflow happening here - "Backlog", "In Progress", and "Done". This gives us a simple, high-visibility workflow that makes it easy to see what's happening where.
- "Approval Needed" has been moved all the way to the left. This will make it stand out and appear first to any manager viewing the board. With Unito, list position is irrelevant - we control everything through the field mapping menu that we'll get to in a moment, so the order between the two boards doesn't need to be consistent.
We have one step missing, though - if we sync like this, the management board will have every single task included on the team's board - just organized differently. What we really want is to filter what comes in so that the managers are only seeing the most important tasks. We can solve that problem with Trello's Labels. By creating a label called "Master Board", we can specify that only tasks with the Master Board label get synced to the Master Board, allowing us to directly control what gets sent up, and what stays with the team.
Now that we have this, we can progress into our second step - making the sync in Unito.
Step two: Setting up your Unito Sync
Now that we have our two boards set up, let's head over to our Unito App, and press "Add Sync". We'll pick the team’s Trello board first, and then we'll pick the Master Board that we just made for the second board. Once we've done that, we'll hit the 'Next' button which will bring us to the 'Filter tasks' tab. Here, we can make it so that the sync targets or ignores syncs that meets specific criteria. We're going to pick the one that says "Only sync cards with any of the following labels", and select our "Master Board" Label that we made. This will make sure that only the appropriately tagged issues come into our managers' board.
Hit the 'Next' button again and it will bring us to the 'Review' page. We're not quite done yet, so we'll be clicking the 'Customize sync' button. From here, we're brought to the 'Map fields' tab, which lets us setup our field mappings to ensure that all of the lists from the team's board go where we expect them to in our Master Board. In order to do this, let's navigate to the "List <-> List" Mapping, and click the cog. From here, we'll click the "trash can" button where necessary in order to disconnect any lists that were automatically mapped to the wrong places, and rearrange them manually. The finished product will look something like this:
Here, everything is mapped one-to-one, as you'd expect, except the sprint tasks that are broken down by team in our first board. Those are all being synced together and placed in the "In progress" list of our Master Board. Notice how the "Sprint Tasks" list is the first item in the group there, whereas all of the teams are listed below it - That's an important subtlety, and we'll get to why that's important in just a moment.
Finally, once we're done here, we just hit "Save & Sync" in the bottom corner. If we head over to the Master Board, we'll see that suddenly (assuming we've tagged things to put there) cards have appeared!
Step three: Using your Master Board
Now that we've set up our sync, only high-priority tasks, or ones that management would like visibility on, will be synced to the Master Board. Teams can flag things for the Master Board by adding the appropriate label to any task on the board, and managers will see it right away. Additionally, managers can actively participate in team discussions and even workflow.
Remember how we set up "Sprint Tasks" to be at the top of our field mapping list? The reason for that is that Unito maps tasks from all of the groups on one side into the topmost list on the opposite side - therefore, if a manager puts anything into the "In progress" list from outside of it, it will place it into the "Sprint Tasks" list on the team board. This is an important detail. Let's say, for example, that a manager doesn't approve something in the "Approval Needed" list, but rather has to reject it. In this case, they can simply drag the card back to "In progress", and it will move to the unsorted "Sprint Tasks" list, instead of landing right back in the sub-team's list. This is important, as it doesn't interrupt their planning or their day's workflow - it allows them to readdress the task asynchronously on their own time, and therefore more efficiently, which is better for everyone.
Setting up an Master Board is just one way to use a Trello-Trello sync; how do you use it?