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Key takeaways from our AMA with Michael Pryor, head of Trello

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In case you missed it, last week, the head of Trello, Michael Pryor, hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session in the Atlassian Community. We saw more than 25,000 views on the thread, resulting in 87 comments about automation, how he personally uses Trello, his biggest challenges, Power-Ups and much more.

Here’s a highlight reel of the thread’s biggest takeaways:

How he uses Trello

  • Work: 1:1 meetings, to-do lists, leadership group at Trello, PMs across the Atlassian products — and “a million other boards I look at weekly”
  • Personal: Moving houses, current house projects (“my house is really old so this board gets used a lot”), vacation board for family trip to Australia

Favorite Power-Up

  • Package tracker: “... It just goes to show that creating a platform for people to build on can allow you to discover really interesting things about your product.”

Biggest challenges

  • “I think the biggest challenge when we started was trying to build a tool that was appealing and accessible to someone who wasn’t a software developer. We used Trello to scratch our own itch - and that meant we’d run into problems and those problems internally were usually related to software development and they had known feature solutions (swimlanes! Gantt charts!) that don’t align with the broad market we wanted to appeal to. So not building features that we wanted for ourselves was difficult. 
  • “… Also our early user base was also mostly software developers because that was our previous customer base at Fog Creek Software - so when we would ship things like Stickers - the reaction was predictably thumbs down (“Who needs this silly stuff?!”) and we needed a way to get feedback from our average users (not necessarily the vocal technical people who were the early adopters).”

Trello on mobile

  • Calendar, custom fields, list limits, map and voting exist now, more “first-party” Power-Ups will be added in the short term (think: Butler)
  • Long term and Atlassian-wide, we’ll be working to give Power-Up builders a better set-up to build in a way that works on mobile and web

Using Trello or Jira or both

  • “Yes, we use it [Jira] for OKR tracking and also a lot of our teams use it for software development. To be honest, I think at scale Jira is a much better tool for software development and we see teams migrate from Trello to Jira at predictable inflection points (this coming year we will make that even easier). I think people should use the right tool for the right job and while the line between Jira/Trello isn’t super clear (there’s a lot of gray area for software teams) I do think that Trello is extremely accessible to a very wide audience. It might not be as simple as Jira is for software teams and Trello is for business teams, (most Atlassians use both for example), I do want people to use whatever works for them. Building features exclusively for software developers in Trello is not high on our priority list though.”

Due dates for checklists

  • “Not yet but - Stay tuned!”

Future of Trello

  • “Honestly every day seems surprising to me in the myriad of use cases people use Trello for. Hitting 50 million seems like a dream when I think back to what we were doing a few years ago. My goal with Templates long term is to take those 50 million users (hopefully 100 million someday) and allow them to teach the rest of the world how they solved their problems using Trello. Sharing publicly the tips and tricks of how people set up boards, and what problems they used them for would actually create a repository of solutions for all the world's work.”

Big thanks to everyone who asked a question or just followed along. 🎉


This was a great session thank you @Michael Pryor & @Erica Moss for taking the time to field questions directly from the Community!

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Erica Moss Community Manager Nov 12, 2019

@Jimmy Seddon Thank you for participating, Jimmy!

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