Trello is the best Kanban-style project management tool on the market, and adds some amazing customisation to the mix
- Fantastic Kanban board implementation
- Extremely flexible
- Easy to get to grips with
- Premium plan doesn’t seem worth it
- Not much usability besides the board
Trello is probably the best Kanban-based project management application on the market. It provides a flexible, easy-to-use Kanban board – an organisational tool that’s used in all kinds of industries by all kinds of people. Recently, it has started expanding, offering more views than just the humble board. The burning question, however, is whether you really need to pay for those extras, or whether the free version will do the job.
Trello review: What do you get for the money?
If you want to use a project management tool and not pay a single penny for it, Trello should be your first stop. Its free plan is one of the most generous out there, offering unlimited users access to up to 10 boards, which should be more than enough for most teams. You can also add as many cards as you like to each board, and you even get unlimited file storage, though file size is capped at 10MB.
Basically, if all you need is a Kanban board, you could be using Trello for free for as long as the tool exists. You won’t grow out of it like with Asana, which caps you at 15 users, or run into usage limits like with most free plans.
However, if you do need to get a little more out of Trello, such as having an unlimited amount of boards or letting you attach larger files, the Standard plan is an interesting option. At about £4 per user per month, it’s very reasonably priced. Most project management software forces you to jump from the free plan to an expensive premium option, but Trello lets you take an intermediate step, which is welcome.
The third tier is called Premium and adds a lot of new functionality to Trello. It turns it from a Kanban-based tool to one that’s a little more mainstream, adding calendars, table views, lists and a few more besides. It’s all pretty nifty, but at £8 per user per month could be considered a little pricey. For example, you can get a lot of this functionality from Wrike for free.
Trello’s final tier is called Enterprise and costs about £15 per user per month. Like most plans at this level it focuses on adding high-level control options – perfect for executives at large companies, but probably not for managers of medium-sized businesses.
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One thing you’ll notice straight away about Trello is how flexible it is. You can add as many or as few frills as you’d like to your board. For example, here is what it looks like with just a few task cards, enough to keep track of what’s going on, but not much else.Now, here’s the same board with those same five cards, but with a lot more information:If you’re the type that wants their information at a glance, Trello is a great option. All the details you add can be shown at the front of a card if you prefer, or they can go on the back where you’ll only see it if you click on a task.Besides the presets given to you by Trello, you can also add fields to cards either by using plug-ins (called power-ups) or by upgrading to the Premium plan, which allows you to add custom fields to cards.
Speaking of the Premium plan, its additional views don’t quite hit the highs of the Kanban board. For example, the table view is really boring, and not very interactive. It tries to be another overview, like the board, but without its usefulness. The calendar is not much better. Similar to Asana’s, it’s a bit too large and doesn’t give you the feeling that you’re looking at a whole month. You’re much better off using the timeline view. Though it doesn’t do very well as a Gantt chart – and it feels like that was its intended purpose – it’s a pretty decent calendar.The final two views included in the Premium plan are maps and the dashboard.
As with the timeline, the dashboard feels like it was added to mimic Asana, but it falls flat. Not only does it have fewer options for managers to see what’s going on, but not all the information fits on a single screen, which rather defeats its purpose.
As for the map view, it drops a pin when you add the location of a meeting or other event or action to a card. We guess it could come in handy, but it doesn’t seem like a particularly persuasive reason to drop £8 per user per month for the upgraded plan.
Trello review: Are there other useful features?
If you want to make more of Trello than just the board, you can do so without spending a penny: under the free plan, you can integrate as many extra functions as you’d like through the so-called power-up system. Power-ups are plug-ins, either made by Trello itself or third parties, and they can do just about anything.You can add calendars, Gantt charts, insert more fields to a card and much more. Power-ups add even more flexibility to Trello, and mean that you can do just about anything with it – and all without upgrading from the free plan. Add to that some amazing automations, which also work with your power-ups, and you have a project management tool that not only helps you keep organised, it takes some of the work away from you, too.
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Trello review: Should I sign up?
Overall, we really like Trello: it’s easy to use and a real jack of all trades. However, we’d think long and hard before upgrading from the free version: while the reasonably priced Standard plan may be useful for some, the Premium plan will see you shelling out for functionality you most likely don’t need, or that can be better replicated through power-ups. Still, you don’t need to take our word for it: all of Trello’s paid plans come with a free 14-day trial.