Converging Internal Communications in Project Management

Changing the Way Teams Work

Managing tasks in Trello, an easy-to-use task management took for marketing teams, just got easier.

In January 2017, Atlassian, the development and Agile management tool, purchased another management tool called Trello. Derided by a member of the development team at my company, VOPA, as a tool “for planning your wedding but not for developing executable software,” hardcore JIRA useres will now be able to crosspost open issues and other development items in Trello, making internal communication with marketing teams and in general, between functional areas, easier. This not only makes Trello a more powerful project management tool, but increases the transparency of the development process across functional teams in any enteprise, without compromising important data or directly affecting development workflow.

Converging these internal communications platforms is now easy with the addition of two new power-ups in Trello which link either link Trello boards to the JIRA project board. JIRA issues can be attached to Trello cards, and JIRA boards can be associated with Trello boards.

“Enabling JIRA Cloud, Confluence Cloud, and Bitbucket Cloud Power-Ups on Trello boards means that issues, pages, branches, commits, and pull requests can be attached directly to Trello cards. This allows the Power-Ups to surface key information like statuses, updates, and priorities right on your Trello boards.” — http://blog.trello.com/trello-power-ups-for-jira-bitbucket-confluence-hipchat

Confluence is a nifty tool within JIRA to make blog pages, presenting the status of tasks, stories and project in an easy to read visual format:

These can likewise be attached to Trello cards, and vice versa, Trello cards can be converted right into Confluence pages:

  • Attach Confluence pages to Trello cards and get from your board to your drilled-down content in a single click.
  • Create new Confluence pages directly from Trello cards.
  • See who created a page and when it was created, including a snippet and the number of comments on the page, right from the card back.

http://blog.trello.com/trello-power-ups-for-jira-bitbucket-confluence-hipchat

http://blog.trello.com/trello-power-ups-for-jira-bitbucket-confluence-hipchat

Now is the time to check it out!

Trello and Atlassian are just two examples in the trend of convergence in internal communications tools, making it easier for functional teams to collaborate.

There are a myriad of cloud-based tools out there that let you converge internal communications channels and share documentation. Rather than storing material in a gazillion different places, cloud technologies are encouraging communications and project managers to organize internal documentation in one place. This is to alleviate communications mishaps and the administrative overhead caused by too much decentralized documentation.

Slack

What I have learned through trying different task management tools is that having information in too many different disparate platforms can lead to blocks and misunderstandings about internal processes and workflows among teams. One way to improve internal communication is to integrate task management tools like Trello, Asana and JIRA with Slack.

Slack is indeed becoming the go-to hub for other task management tools as well and has exploded in popularity since its launch in 2014.

In working as Project Manager in Marketing, I have learned that these processes are all about streamlining. Knowing where to find the information when you need it and having centralized communication to execute tasks and produce deliverables more effectively.

Using Slack for Scrum check-ins

Scrum is not just an Agile management form for development teams. I also used it for internal communications with the marketing team. I asked the marketing team to check in using mid-weekly scrum reportbacks focusing on tasks done, to-dos, roadblocks and solutions on Slack to shorten meetings and to focus only on roadblocks and solutions.

The scrum model is based on quickly reviewing what is done, what is pending, what obstacles stand in the way, and a proposed solution. Drawing up a simple revision table can help guide you in providing this type of short reportback:

Task 1 Task 2 Task 3 ….

Pending

Done/Resolved

Obstacles

Solutions

Each obstacle for which there is no solution defined can then be discussed at a weekly meeting to not surpass one hour.

To-Do bots and /trello

Trello also lets you integrate cards in Slack channels by first installing the Trello add-on then by invoking ‘/trello <trello card share link>’ in-line in the appropriate Slack channel.

Trello card with share link
Slack in-line
Trello card in Slack
Quick actions for managing the Trello card in Slack

Another in-line task management tool that can not only help you manage scrum reportbacks, but other tasks in Slack as well, is the Todo-Bot.

https://www.todobot.io/slack/getting-started.html

https://www.todobot.io/slack/getting-started.html

This tool lets you do simple reportbacks or task assignments in Slack using simple commands:

‘/todo’ lets you manage tasks inside your channels

  • Create and assign new task: /todo @chris Prepare client proposal
  • Assign existing task: /todo assign TXXX to @alex
  • Mark a task as done: /todo done TXXX
  • Set due date: /todo due TXXX Dec 1
  • See the to-do list for the channel: /todo list
  • Create a personal task for your own to-do list: /mytodo Create presentation on Monday
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