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I am totally lost, can someone help?

I am doing some consulting work for the puppet department of a feature length stop-motion film.

I am trying to set up a trello board to mirror a physical board that is currently in use.

The physical board is arranged by "week of" columns, with rows representing the departments - mold, costume, armature, etc...

At the very highest level, the tasks are each individual puppet that needs building, but these will be broken down into many subtasks, some of which are dependent on one department finishing before another can start. Others can be done simultaneously. Theoretically, each sub-task has a due date, and while those dates are in flux, A) the final due date of the completed puppet is set in stone, and B) it is important to keep the bits moving, since quite a lot of them are part of a dependent stream.

I am having a very hard time conceiving of how to fit all this info onto a board. I am having the sensation that there are only 2 axes to move about on the boards, but that I need 3.

If there's anyone out there who has built very complicated workflows inside trello who is just itching to help out a total newbie to the software, I would VERY much appreciate it.

I have built quite a few systems for tracking in google sheets already and am comfortable writing pretty complex QUERY formulas to get what I need. But to fit it into a tidy, easy-on-the-eyes Kanban-style presentation is kinda making my head spin a little...



2 answers

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Jack Community Leader May 22, 2020

Hi Aaron, welcome to the Community. I think what you are looking for is to have swimlanes on the Trello board. Swimlanes are horizontal rows across the columns. Now Trello really isn’t built on the concept of swimlanes. Rather, Trello is based upon columns (lists). However, I have heard of users using Swimlanes for Trello. You might give it a try. Or you might try Jira and Kanban boards.

0 votes
Iain Dooley Community Leader May 25, 2020

@Aaron_Beam if you have a bunch of work items where the work is too complicated to be confined to an individual card, but the overall progress of each work item needs to be tracked in one place, my go to structure is a "board of boards". In your case you'd have a board called "Puppets" with each list representing the broad stages of puppet creation (artwork, sourcing materials, construction, testing? I dunno from puppet making but whatever you get the picture :)

Then each of those cards is linked to a board which represents the puppet being produced, where all the individual tasks to produce each component of work is tracked with due dates and so on. This is the example I use in my introduction to Trellinator which is an open source framework I built for automating Trello with Google Apps Script (it's also shown in the video that I have on the Trellinator homepage):

If this seems even more complicated than you imagined, you might consider upgrading to Trello business class to take advantage of advanced checklists which allow you to assign individual checklist items to people and set due dates on them.

You could also use something like the Hello Epics powerup to keep track of sub-tasks, or a more lightweight sub-tasking mechanism using linked checklist items like I discuss in this article:

Also if you have lots of date dependencies and need something that looks more like "gantt charting" take a look at Placker which is the most sophisticated project planning tool for Trello that I've seen.

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