Trello Workflow for Test List Software Development

Trello is a free (with paid options) web application by Fog Creek Software released in mid September 2011. It has since gained a massive user base. The following guide is about how I manage team projects using Trello and Test List Software Development.

The Basic Structure of Trello

1. Organizations and Boards
This is where you place all your projects. An organization includes boards (the projects) and the team members. Boards can be set as private to only allow invited members, org visible to allow anyone in the organization to view it or public to let anyone with the address to see it.

2. Lists
Inside every board there are lists. By default, you start off with three lists.

3. Cards

Cards have two sides, the front (left) and the back (below).


Trello comes with a ton of features built in. The ones I use are:
  • Labels - used to tag a card, multiple labels per card are allowed
  • Voting - used to "sign-off" on a card
  • Due Dates - hard set deadlines for launch dates
  • Assignments - used to attach members to cards
  • Comments - ad-hoc commenting system per card
  • Checklists - used to create lists during the Unit Test phase
  • Archiving - to remove items (card & lists) off the board, but not delete them

Setting Up Labels

Start off by setting up labels. Labels are used to tag cards, and a card can have multiple labels. My recommendation is to only use a single label per card, and to to the labels indicate the amount of time needed to complete the task.

The 7 List Method

I've used the above template for all my projects inside Trello. This helps standardize everything making it a lot easier to manage projects.
  • New - All Cards begin inside this list. It essentially acts as a giant todo list. Just the title is enough to create a card inside the New list. You can add additional details to the card, though it's not essential at this point.
  • Scheduled - This is a list of all cards with their proper scheduled launch dates setup.
  • Unit Test - Create check lists of all the items needed to be tested.
  • In Progress - Once Unit Tests are written, move them into this List.
  • Acceptance Test - Cards that are completed but are pending the acceptance testing go here.
  • Pre-Release - this is the holding area for cards that are ready to go into production.
  • Version X - When a card has been completed and is already in production, place the card here.

Team Members and Voting Rights

The team is distributed into two groups, the producers and the approvers. If your group involves a relatively structured team, this works out well. The producers are the team members to whom the tasks are assigned to. Approvers are the team members responsive for creating the unit tests and checking the work quality of the work. After they have done so in the Acceptance Test column, only an approver may vote on the card. Once voted, the card is put into production.

7 Rules to Remember

  1. All Cards begin inside the New list
  2. Once a Card goes inside the Scheduled list, it cannot move back to New list
  3. Cards inside Unit Test may move back to Scheduled
  4. Cards inside In Progress list can be moved back to Unit Test
  5. Only Cards inside Acceptance can only be Voted on by an Approver
  6. Only Voted Cards on the Pre-Release are allowed into the Version X
  7. Every 1 to 2 weeks, close out the Version, and create another List for the next Version
Test List Driven Development
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