A world without email – improving workflow

Last year krafthaus started using the collaborative organisational management tool Trello. Trello is a free cloud-based project management application made by New York-based cool cats Fog Creek Software.

In a nutshell it is a giant digital pinboard for managing projects, where members in an organisation can be assigned tasks, given deadlines, given votes, checklists etc to complete. It is also a great management tool because everyone within the organisation can see where a project is at in terms of completion, and the files related to it can be stored on a “card” related to that project.

Trello uses the Japanese paradigm for managing projects known as kanban, a method that had originally been popularised by car maker Toyota in the 1980s for supply chain management. Kanban is literally the Japanese word for billboard), and is part of the LEAN manufacturing principal.

 

Within Trello projects are represented by boards, which contain lists (corresponding to tasks). Lists contain cards (corresponding to tasks). Cards are supposed to progress from one list to the next (via drag-and-drop), for instance mirroring the flow of a feature from idea to implementation. Each User can be assigned to a card, and users and boards can be grouped into different organisations.

 

At Krafthaus, it is particularly useful for web design and web development projects as our front end designers and project managers are located in our Melbourne office, whilst our development team works out of our rapidly expanding Jogjakarta office. It is particularly useful when making changes, updates and fixing bugs that are discovered in the testing. We can post screenshots, set checklists and if in depth conversation is needed we switch to Skype. As a consequence, internal email is almost non-existent. The improvement in productivity has also been so remarkable that we have introduced Trello to our sister company Boston Publishing. Now all editorial, advertising sales and layout is managed using Trello and once again productivity has increase, less errors are occurring and internal email traffic has fallen by 95%. Death to email!

 

We are so impressed with the organisation change that Trello has brought about we are now introducing our clients to it. This very afternoon, we are conducting a training/organisation change session for a catering company that does 100s of weddings a year. Management and organisational processes aren’t an area that we originally intended servicing in our original business offering, but increasingly Krafthaus is implementing cloud-based CRM, Accounting, Inventory and Project Management tools. Almost all of these cloud-based tools can be integrated with one another and the best part about them is that they are either free (in the case of trello) or a very low monthly fee.