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For a long time now, our company has used a shared Excel workbook in Office 365 as a method to track our release deployment and testing process. During the retrospective after most releases at least one person always comments on how the information contained is inaccurate at times, confusing, hard to follow, etc. the list goes on.
The way we were doing things, every environment/tenant combination was listed in a column of an excel spreadsheet, and the "status" was updated by all team members in the next column as they worked through things. As you can tell this can lead to conflicts when multiple people are trying to update the same worksheet at the same time. If issues were discovered, all the communication about all environments was held in a common slack channel, this made it hard to keep track of who needed help with what (even using threads). This was also challenging for observers to know if something had been resolved or not without requiring a lot of time to look through everything.
We needed a better way to do things, but we didn't know how to do it. I'm a relatively new Trello user. I didn't start using it until about August of last year. I really love how versatile Trello is and how imaginative all our Trello experts in the online community are in coming up with unique ways to use Trello. I made a bold statement a few releases ago and said that I'm sure we could manage things better in Trello. Did I know we could accomplish this at the time? Absolutely not! But I had faith that we would be capable of crafting a better solution than we had today. Because I was the one to say something, I was tasked with proving my statement to be true!
First thing first, I got the list of requirements not only from the people that would physically interact with Trello, but also from those that would be observers. We decided each environment/tenant would get its own card.
We also converted the "Status" into lists for all the appropriate workflow steps of the deployment and testing process. This way it was very easy to see what state any given environment/tenant is at without conflict due to multiple editors. Next, I added a Butler board rule that would add a label for the current release to any new card added in the "To Do" column. This rule I update every release, but it saves a lot of work manually adding the labels.
We also added a free power-up “Manny” which allows us to move selected multiple cards from one list to another without having to move the entire list.
Now, when we go to deploy and test a release, each environment/tenant is watched by all the various members of the release team. Members add themselves as they are working on a specific card. If a problem is encountered. All troubleshooting and support will now happen within each card, and @mentions are used to bring in outside help. Links to Jira issues created in our Jira Cloud instance are added to each card as issues are discovered that need work outside basic troubleshooting to resolve.
The slack channel at this point is used for our release manager to communicate a high-level overview of the entire release progress and all observers have been given access to the Trello board if they want more detailed information.
We have been using this setup for the past three releases and we have found less time is wasted communicating and overall everyone has a better understanding of where everything is at any point during the process.
Thank you, Trello (and Taco), for helping us organize our information in a way that helps us communicate and collaborate more efficiently and effectively. Our release team has fallen in love with Trello!
Sr R&D Tools Administrator
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
168 accepted answers