Managing Developers Using Trello

Managing developers for your software project is never easy, and it becomes even harder when they are remote (and many time zones away).

One tool I love for managing Devs is Trello (Free!).  It’s a simple card based task system, that is deceptively powerful.

Trello is primarily a web based application, but there are also mobile apps available for iOS ( iPhone, iPad) and Android.

The general way Trello works is that you create a “Card” for each task you want to get done, and then you drag and drop it from state to state – By Default this is  ToDo, Doing, Done!

But Trello is super flexible and will let you call your states (lists in Trello parlance) anything you want, and you can add new Lists as needed.


Getting Started

So once you get your Trello account created, you’ll want to add a new “Board” (plenty of tutorials on the Trello site for the basic setup mechanics like this)

Then you will want to create seven lists so it looks like the following:

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Clear & Concise Developer Specs (Using Clarify-It)

Without a doubt, one of the largest issues I see in most software projects is poor specifications (specs) and communication between the dev and product owner .

Somebody figures out a general app, and what it should do, mocks up a few key screens, and then gives them to a developer to go build.  Sounds good, right?

Unfortunately, with this approach, there is a lot of ambiguity left, since the devil is in the details – and the developer is often left to guess or spend a lot of time round-tripping back and forth trying to understand what they should be doing.

I’ve said this many times to people early in a project – “For every hour you spend now thinking through the details, you’re going to save 1 to 3 DAYS of development time later”

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