Organizing My UX Workflow with Trello

I’ve been working on a side project for about a year now or should I say neglecting. I would spend sometime here and there but I never really focused on actually completing it. I didn’t realize why until now. I wasn’t organized. And I didn’t have a plan. I had never really thought about it. I just dove into the idea and started working on stuff that I knew needed to be done. That obviously was not working. Something had to change.

I decided to create a plan and organize my work process so I could keep track of what I’ve done, needed to do, and the overall project scope. I’ve written about how I use Trello at Spreedly to organize my design work. So I decided to give the same principles a shot and see if I could get a grip on things.

First things first

To get things started I needed to create a plan. While all projects are different and will require different approaches I decided to use a project plan similar to the one laid out in the book UX Team of One. I broke down the project into the following:

  • Primary Research
  • Product Assessment
  • Strategy Workshop
  • Recommendations
  • Information Architecture
  • Initial Concepts
  • Iterative Detailed Design
  • Prototyping
  • User Testing

Once I created the plan I was able to see the project at a higher level and start to break down what each section was and what’s part of that section. I was also able to look at what I had already done and start “placing” those items into those sections.

Creating my Trello board

Now that I had a better idea of the projects scope I could begin to create my Trello board. For this particular project I had a board already made. The problem was that it was becoming overwhelmingly complex and that probably factored into why I never really got anything done. With my new project plan in place I decided to take a different approach.

Instead of labeling the lists in a linear fashion that would represent how the work was being done. I decided to label each list the same as the steps in my plan. By doing it this way I was able to organize the board in a way that would show linear progress as you move through the board. But also I was able to keep all the tasks and sub-tasks for each section neatly organized.

As an example all of my research is in one list and broken down into separate cards so I can track user research versus stakeholder interviews easier. Everything for Information Architecture can all be found in that list, and so on. Now when I look at my Trello board I can easily see whats been done and quickly assess what needs to be done.

Put into practice

With my new Trello board created and ready to go I can begin to put this concept into practice and get things done. I’ve found that being a team of one myself, projects tend to get mentally overwhelming and the best cure for that anxiety is good organizational skills.

The more I focus on keeping things organized the easier it is to complete projects and goals. What I hope to achieve by using this new method of organizing my side project is to finally finish the work but also continue to improve upon how I organize projects in general.

If you’re struggling with getting some work done try breaking it down into smaller chunks and developing a method that you can use to keep you on track. You could try what I’ve outlined here if you focus on UX design or you could apply the concept to other areas of design and beyond. I’d love to hear what you do. Until then, happy organizing!