Katrin Anger
Dec 30, 2018 · 4 min read

Creating workflows in Trello boards is becoming increasingly popular, so I want to give you a bit of a taste what to watch out for when creating workflows in your Trello boards for the first time.

To create workflows in Trello boards, I am using a tool called Butler for Trello, which will soon be an integral part of Trello boards.

From what I learned these last 15 months, here are the 10 most basic commandments I recommend you to consider when creating workflows in your Trello boards.


1. Start with simple commands!

Butler for Trello uses plain English language, so it shouldn’t be too hard to understand what each command is doing.

A simple Butler command for Trello.

Start with simple commands.
Grow as you go.

To set up commands and workflows with Butler for Trello you don’t need to know a programming language. English is all that’s needed.

It’s a good idea to get yourself familiar with the basic actions that Trello is using. Here’s a short selection of verbs that let you imagine how Trello ticks: sort, move, copy, convert, rename, archive are just some of the verbs used in actions.

2. Always test your workflows!

Workflows always need to be tested. Always, always, always.
The more complex the commands get, the higher the probability of an in-built mistake. (Happens to the best of us.)

3. Watch & adapt!

Nothing is chiseled in stone. Workflows are subject to change. It’s pretty common to adjust a workflow over time. There’s nothing wrong with that.

4. The sort order of actions in a command matter!

A command consists of a trigger and at least one action. You can concatenate actions and create really sophisticated workflows with that.

The actions are executed in a consecutive order, so when you test your command and don’t get the desired result, adjusting the sort order of actions can make a difference!

Command with multiple actions

5. Incorporate Trello’s default behavior into your workflow!

Trello’s default behavior needs to be considered upon the creation of workflows.

Let’s take labels as an example. When you automatically copy a card across boards as part of a workflow, the labels from this card will be copied over to the new board. When the second board runs with a different system of labels, this will now have expanded, unintentionally.


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6. Things are case-sensitive!

The case-sensitivity of labels, list names and word(s) used in commands is the most occurring mistake people make when setting up workflows first.

Make sure you pay attention when using these in a command sequence, you otherwise end up with new lists, new labels or all kinds of other chaos … because Butler creates anew what it cannot find.

7. Standards help!

Developing a “standard” that can be imposed onto other boards makes workflow creation in Trello much easier — in the long-term.

Boards that are connected with each other and that you want to communicate with each other, benefit from a consistent labelling system or the same date formats used. Setting up workflows in Trello takes you much less time when there’s a certain uniformity.

8. Make use of variables & wildcards to create real time-savers!

Variables and wildcards are like the salt & pepper for workflows.
They are highly useful to include moving parameters into your workflows.

Command with wildcard and several variables

9. The simpler your commands, the better!

There are currently two tools you can use for workflow automation in Trello: the ButlerBot and the Butler Power-Up. Whilst the Power-Up is just about to outgrow the infancy stage, with the ButlerBot you can create pretty impressive workflows.

Nevertheless, I recommend to keep it simple and not be taken away by the impressive tools under the ButlerBot’s belt.
Aiming for simplicity is always a good habit. Debugging can be a pain here!

10. Begin with the end in mind!

And here’s a best practice tip for you: When you know what you want, but don’t know how to get there, try to think it through from the end’s result.

What’s your desired result and what would be the step right before that?
And then, before that?
For creating workflows, we sometimes need logic, and sometimes we need creativity. And sometimes both.


If you like what you read, please give me clap 👏 or two. Thanks!


Want to learn more about workflow creation in Trello boards?
Check out the resources on my blog and website.

P.S. All sample commands were created with the ButlerBot.

Workflow Automation with Trello

Creative Approaches & Intelligent Solutions to Automate Workflows in Trello

Katrin Anger

Written by

Workflow Consultant & Education Entrepreneur ☞ Helping entrepreneurs to achieve their business goals through intelligent strategies: https://inspiriting.biz

Workflow Automation with Trello

Creative Approaches & Intelligent Solutions to Automate Workflows in Trello

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