- Visualize your team’s tasks
- Sort tasks by cards
- Generous free option
- Facilitates limited collaboration
- Competitors have more functionality
- Can be clunky and overwhelming
Task management brings limited happiness to a Congressional office. That said, it is still important; you need to find the best task management platform to host a healthy and active workflow. You can turn to the built-in task management tools that come with several constituent relationship management tools on the Hill; however, if that’s not an option, you should consider Trello for a cost-effective approach.
Trello for simple tasks – that’s about it
Trello is a mainstream task management tool that has made its mark in the commercial and government markets. The card-based tool has been used by newsrooms, Fortune 500 clients, members of the British government’s Digital Service, and by staff in both chambers of the U.S. Congress.
The tool allows for managers to assign and track tasks through a series of digital cards that are assigned to one or multiple people of a particular team. Through its horizontal movement and color-coded assignments, the platform was built as a truly-collaborative environment which can feature real-time task control and toggling.
The basic, free plan for Slack offers unlimited boards for teams and be used to track office workflow and tasks for a variety of departments. In fact, it’s simplified and can quickly clean up some of the “clutter” of “simple tasks” (i.e., sending interns to pull bills, etc.).
Intensive task management
Let’s point out that the free edition of Trello is one of the most generous we’ve reviewed. It offers unlimited use without the need to upgrade which is an excellent selling point for organizations looking to cut costs; however, the failures of the Trello platform are highlighted when it comes to intensive task management.
Here, we refer to how intensive use, via the free edition, creates a crowded mess of cards that can be confusing, and overwhelming frankly, if not adequately sorted or continuously maintained. On Capitol Hill, events can change workload in a split second, and staffers don’t have the time to be dealing with editing and managing a task list while crucial votes are happening.
In the latest rounds of updates, Trello initiated updates to their platform with a newly updated activity stream and remodeled notifications interface. The activity stream upon launch has a very clean presence as cards and the most trying tasks are forced to the top. Additionally, receiving notifications and staying updated to your team’s tasks has never been easier. You can take action on the notifications directly in the latest update of Trello–a process that they claim will make the users more productive.
Trello has a tiny library of external integrations, known as “power-ups.” The integrations that are in the platform’s marketplace are for mainstream platforms and productivity suites. You can integrate cards to be receptacles that edit Google docs or manage tasks through Slack.
Trello has a very straightforward pricing structure. To deploy Trello’s business class plan, it costs $9.99 per user per month (billed annually). The enterprise account is $20.83 per user per month (charged annually).
Compared to other platforms, like heavy hitter Asana, Trello has relatively competitive pricing. Asana’s premium plan is also $9.99 per user per month (billed annually) while enterprise pricing is customized to a particular organization’s needs.
The downside for both platforms is that using premium features can be a hefty price to bear for functions that can be cross-integrated through power-ups and the free editions of both services. Trello, however, is super flexible in its free plan offering unlimited teams, with one power-up per board (e.g., a social media board, a board for legislative staff, a caseworkers’ board, etc.), and with integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive.
Task management on other platforms
Asana, as we mentioned above, is a leader in the task management space. Compared to Asana, Trello falls short to the visualization features for task management tracking. This is especially the case being that Asana recently released its Timeline tool. Timeline allows for the cards and task listicles created in Asana to be tied to a progress timeline with customized workflow and easy-to-use response mechanisms for teams.
Trello remains relatively static with its card concept. In Trello’s defense, the cards are simple to use and learn how to manipulate; however, organizations–especially ones as dynamic as a Congressional office–need extra layers for tracking and process fulfillment.
Other tools that are competitive options to Trello include Monday, an inexpensive checklist concept, or Basecamp, which mixes task lists and cards. Microsoft Project is indeed an option too, though expensive compared to these immediate platforms.
Take Trello for a spin. You might like it. At the Lincoln Network, we use Asana for our task management; however, several of us have used Trello in the past and weren’t disappointed. Trello is an excellent tool for general tracking of tasks and project management. However, if you want a more in-depth experience, shy away from the paid options of Trello because they produce relatively little value for their prices.