- ToDo has a flow. It knows about cycle times and about being DONE. Trello does not.
- ToDo has Planning Poker Estimates. Trello does not have any estimates.
- ToDo has automatic burn up charts. Trello does not.
- ToDo has swim lanes which groups cards by your dimensions. Trello does not.
- ToDo has Work-In-Progress limits. Trello does not.
- ToDo has upgrade possibilities to the full tool set of Projectplace. Trello has a bunch of plugins from different vendors of various quality.
Already convinced? Sign up for ToDo by Projectplace! Want to know more? Read on.
Why tools are important
The first value of the Agile Manifesto is
”Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”
I agree. Tools are secondary to individuals. But tools are also important. The right tools can help people interact. The wrong tools can hinder interaction. Both Trello and ToDo are good at helping people interact, especially when they are separated by time and space.
A bold statement? / Disclaimer
I have been working on creating ToDo and the Boards tool in Projectplace. So I am very biased. However, I have been a long-time advocate of Trello, and, together with Olle Hallin, introduced it to the consultants at Crisp shortly after launch in 2011. I loved it. Since then, I have been working as a consultant at Projectplace, helping them build something even better. It’s taken a while to catch up, but now I believe we’ve done that and, in some regards, passed Trello. (Sorry Joel, I still love your work!)
In ToDo, cards are created in the leftmost column of a board. They are then meant to be moved from left to right in columns which can represent the workflow of your team. This is a common pattern for Kanban boards or Scrum boards. When a card reaches the rightmost column, it is automatically marked as ”Done”.
Since ToDo has a flow, it can be extended to help you find out your lead times, which is important if you’re doing Kanban.
Planning Poker Estimates
Agile teams that do estimates can use the Planning Poker estimates available in ToDo to plan their work. Estimates are summed up by column and by swim lane, but only when they are used. If your team doesn’t do estimates, they won’t clutter your board.
Limiting team members to Planning Poker estimates is of course deliberate. Again, instead of being generic, ToDo is designed to help teams use estimates effectively. Team members are not allowed to use any number when estimating. Why?
- Limited number of choices speeds up estimation
- High estimates are well rounded to avoid a false sense of accuracy
- The increasing difference for high estimates encourages discussion and breakdown.
Source: Planning Poker at Crisp.se
One of the most common artifacts of a agile development team is the Burnup Chart. Sometimes a Burndown Chart is used, but a Burnup tells a better story. With ToDo you get a Burnup Chart that automatically updates instantly when a card is created, estimated, moved or deleted. It keeps track of the progress of your team, on a day-by-day basis, even when the Scrum Master is sick.
The Burnup Chart has two modes, card count or estimate sum. You can use either one you like and ToDo will of course remember your selection.
Now this is where it starts to be really cool. Using swim lanes, you can group your cards horizontally on the board, by any of the dimensions: label or assignee.
If you get the Planning add-on, or use the full Boards tool in Projectplace Team Edition or Enterprise, you can also group by your activities from the Timeline. If you setup your activities to match your Scrum Epics and Stories, you can easily get a swim lane per story. You can can also use the board labels to represent your stories.
If you’re into Kanban, you can setup your board labels to be different levels of service, and use the swim lanes to group the cards by level of service, to better visualize your team’s pipelines.
Grouping by assignee will give you a quick overview of what all the team members are up to.
ToDo will of course remember your setting and show you each board the way you want it.
If your team has a hard time finishing stuff, it’s often a good idea to try to:
“Stop starting, start finishing”
ToDo can help you with this. Using WIP limits, the team can visualize their working agreement in terms of limits. How much should we work on in parallell in each step of our process?
ToDo doesn’t force you to lie about what you’re working on. If a team member want’s to break the rules they’ve agreed on, ToDo won’t stop it, just visualize the breach of the agreement. People before tools.
What if we need to grow?
If your needs outgrow ToDo Basic, Projectplace offers paid services such as ToDo Pro and Projectplace Enterprise where you can get all the enterpriceish features that you expect, such as Single Sign-On and neat things like that. I am not going to go into the details of all the other tools that Projectplace offers, but compared to Trello, there are lots of upgrade options.
Trello does have some benefits
Alright, there are some things that Trello does better than ToDo.
For instance, Trello is available on Android, ToDo is not. ToDo is responsive though, and with some additional love from the SNAP team at Projectplace, it will be usable on a smart phone of any brand and make.
With Trello, you can authenticate using your Google account. With ToDo, you must register with yet another password. That’s not great, but hopefully something that Projectplace will fix.
Also, Trello is hugely popular, and there are many integrations to it. However, if you just want something that works for agile teams out of the box, I now think ToDo is the better choice.
Did I tickle your interest? Sign up for ToDo by Projectplace!