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Organising development teams within Trello - SDLM in Trello, part 4

Rizwan Hasan
23 January 20 Trello
Organising development teams within Trello - SDLM in Trello, part 4
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Organising development teams within Trello - SDLM in Trello, part 4

Welcome to the penultimate instalment our blog series where we focus on using Trello, the lightweight and easy to configure tool to manage and simplify your software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Here in part 4, we are going to focus on development teams. Now we have our features, and have built out our epics and stories, our teams need to know what to work on next.

In this blog series, we’ll show you how to configure a board to support your team through the entire SDLC, including; 


  1. Receiving feature requests
  2. Prioritizing feature requests 
  3. Requirements Management
  4. Development with Scrum and Kanban Teams
  5. Release Management

Assigning requirements

In part 1, we discussed our feature board, where our features are received and triaged.  From there our features need to be broken down into stories, then transitioned from the request board into the development team’s backlog. At Adaptavist, the Product Managers help prioritise what features are transitioned, so let’s explore how the chosen features are sent from the request board to the dev backlog: 

The board below is what I call the "team board."

Organising development teams within Trello

Notice on the far left there is a "features" column. When a new product feature is approved, I like to move it from the feature board to our team board. Next, we break this feature down into pieces of work for our development team(s). For this I use the hello-epic power-up to create the stories and link them to the features. During creation, I put them directly in the "backlog" list on my team board.

Organising development teams within Trello

Once all of my stories are in my backlog, they are ready for prioritisation, and estimation.  Next, let's chat about how our scrum teams can work on the team board.

Complete traceability across teams

On our team board, you will notice that there is a 'To do' column. We estimate all of our stories in the backlog column, and during sprint planning, the scrum team will move stories from the top of the backlog into the 'To do' column. But we have a few factors to take into consideration first. 

First, what is our historical velocity? This information will help to determine how many story points, on average, we can complete per sprint. As the stories are estimated in the backlog, we can just add stories that total as close to our velocity as possible.  

If our velocity is 20 points, and we are planning our sprint, then we move the stories in order into the 'To do' column. You may notice I decided to move over 19 points worth of stories.  This is because we estimate the next story to be 2 points, which would take us to 21 points.

Organising development teams within Trello

For the execution of our sprint, we work within our 1-4 week sprint time box, moving stories from 'To do' to 'In progress,' then to 'Test', and when completed, 'Done'. Workflows may vary, and that is fine. Adjust your lists as required to suit the needs of your team.

Organising development teams within Trello

What I like about the team board is that it gives the entire team complete traceability on one board, from the Product Owners to the Developers. Anyone can view the features in order of priority. The backlog ranks all the stories, and you can view all the activities and tasks in the sprint columns.

Trello makes creating retrospectives simple

Below is an example of a retrospective board on Trello.

Organising development teams within Trello

Every list is a retrospective which represents a meeting date. Here we have a card for our major topics in a retrospective. When it is time for the next retrospective, simply add a new list, or copy the previous list, and change the date!

Trello for Kanban

For Kanban teams the process is quite simple. Remember our board?

Organising development teams within Trello

Instead of using sprints, our Kanban team will just keep working from the backlog without using a time-box. The same visibility is available to all our teams from the initial feature request, to the requirements to the release management (we’ll cover this in the next blog).  So you might be asking yourself, what about 'Work in Progress (WIP)' limits? There are two ways to do this. Teams can put the WIP limits in the headers like in the example below.

Organising development teams within Trello

The other option is to use a power-up. Remember our power-up from part 3 called Agile Tools by Corrello? This tool can also configure WIP limits for our board.  

Just go to your power-up settings like below, and select "Setup WIP limits".

Organising development teams within Trello

From there, you can configure your desired WIP limits, and click "save". Be sure to also check the box to enable WIP limits.

Organising development teams within Trello

Stay tuned for our final blog in the series, part 5!

Join us again for the final blog in this series, Part 5, where we will share how you can use Trello for planning, scheduling and controlling your software build through release management.

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