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Advice wanted: One card with a checklist vs. separate cards

I've been using Trello for my planning and task management for a couple years. For some projects or multi-step tasks, I still struggle between using one card with a checklist or using multiple, separate cards.

I'd love to get recommendations and best practices about when to choose one method over the other and why. 

I like the checklist functionality a lot, but the checklist items (tasks) can become pretty invisible during my task management. Where am I tracking that task? Is the solution here to use a strong, compelling card name? But doesn't that just end up being a card acting like a List?

I like the visibility of individual cards, but they can quickly take up a lot of space in a list or on my board. Maybe that shouldn't be a problem?

I'd really appreciate some good advice that leads to easier and more effective task management -- and makes me happier!

Thanks in advance!

4 answers

Hello @Abbo Peterson 

Unfortunately, that's the currently the limit of the functionality of checklists compared to cards. This all part of the 'simple and easy' approach of Trello.

In the environment I'm working in now, the users have this same problem. The best solution I found was to apply the following logic:

  • Configure the board like a Kanban board and move the cards from left to right, though a series of lists, to infer the current state of completion.
  • Use cards in sets to indicate a series of activities that achieve a larger outcome and, in the name, include both the larger outcome and the activity. IE "Project Plan - Create" , "Project Plan - Review", "Project Plan - Publish"
  • Use checklists to break the activities down into smaller tasks and consider it as list of reminders of things to do with who needs to do what and when, so as to complete the activity.
  • Use automation to mark cards as complete when all the checklist items are done
  • Use automation to move cards to the completed list and mark the due date as complete, and vice-versa
  • Use card labels to indicate the urgency / importance and to group the cards into the larger outcomes.
  • On a scheduled basis, make a list with a name that indicates a point in time, move all the completed cards into it, then archive the list. This keeps the board clean and lets you keep the cards for historical purposes.

Maybe at some point in time, we will be able to search, filter and sort on checklists and checklist items, but not for now. If you're after something with more power to track and manage your tasks at a more granular level, think about moving up to Jira.

Hi @Abbo Peterson ,

Thanks for posting in community.

I am not sure you have checked this blog on best practices in Trello - https://blog.trello.com/trello-board-best-practices

And this one too - https://blog.trello.com/7-ways-to-track-tasks-in-trello

Please accept the answer if it solves your query else respond and allow others to inputs.

Cheers

Suvradip

Hello @Suvradip Paul 

My input is that, yes, that is the first page found when Googling "Trello best practices"

Hi @David Bakkers 

Thanks for your response.

I am also part of another LinkedIn community and I post these details over there so I have already bookmarked some of these, link to one of these posts - https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6815309406629179392.

If you have noticed, I have also mentioned another link below to track tasks which is quite useful.

I also recommend people to check - https://trello.com/guide one of the best places to find information.

Cheers

Suvradip

0 votes
Iain Dooley Community Leader Jul 11, 2021

@Abbo Peterson the time to choose one over the other is when you need one over the other. When you do, you can use checklists to sub-task:

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Trello-articles/Trello-Subtasks-with-Butler/ba-p/1060392

Hi @Abbo Peterson ,

I would suggest another to get trips, tricks and best practices for all Atlassian products. Check https://my.atlassian.com/email and under Newsletters and Digests, you can subscribe for Tips, Tricks and Best Practices.

Cheers

Suvradip

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