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Moving "Add An Item" to the top of a checklist? 2 parts...

I am the Trello brain for decluttering my boss' head.  My Trello board for tracking all of our retaining wall projects at various properties in various stages of proposal/workflow process is too overwhelming for him to comprehend.  I have created a separate board for him with 1 list and 1 card that contains his To Do(HotSheet!) list for each of my cards.  I have figured out how to add items from my cards to his list with links to my cards so that I can see when he makes notes on his To Do list.  I am trying to make this as simple as possible for him since he's been using scraps of paper for 27 years.  For the last 5 years or so he has used Google Docs to keep a running list of To Do items but he doesn't strike through items as he completes them and then any notes are still in his head.

Problem area:
His to do list currently has 37 items on it and growing (we are working on HotSheet! Zero'd out daily but not there yet... I've only been working for him for 3 weeks).  I have him using his phone and inputing straight into Trello while he's in the field... is there a way to move the "Add an item" input box to the top of the list so he doesn't have to scroll a million miles on his cell phone and then move the newly created item to the top of list? (top of the list newer items, the farther down the list the older the task)

Anything I can do to make this easier for him would be fantastic.  

I have figured out how to use Siri to Trello to make cards with my iphone but he's an android user and I don't always have a lot of access to his phone to be able to set up Google Assistant to Trello, though I am going to try tomorrow.  In the mean time, if I could move that dang button, it would be a heck of a lot easier for him.

**The goal with this is, if I can ever get Google Assistant set up on his phone to work with Trello... every time he makes a new card talking to his phone and it gets automatically added to this Hotsheet list, then I can let Trello run the script to convert the card to a checklist item without me touching it and then move the card to my board for processing as he completes work then I can do my job.

Any thoughts on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.

Screen Shot 2019-08-26 at 4.52.24 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-08-26 at 4.50.15 PM.png

1 answer

0 votes

@Sharon Overschmidt hey, 

1) On the iOS app, the "add card" thing is fixed at the bottom of the list as you scroll, is that not the case with Android? If so, and the only issue is that you want the newly created card at the top of the list, you could consider adding a Butler command like "when a card is created in list "{*}" move it to the top of the list". On desktop the 3 little dots at the top right of the menu have the "Add Card" option on them. So instead of using cards with checklists and then adding items to checklists, it will be better on a mobile device to use multiple lists with one card per task and shorter checklists on a per task basis if required with a Butler command to move newly created cards to the top of the list. Splitting up into multiple lists would also mean shorter lists with less scrolling overall.

2) Instead of using Siri or Google Assistant to Trello, which means you have to setup the IFTTT app on his phone and use an IFTTT applet that integrates with one of those two things, use the IFTTT SMS channel and then just give him a number to save as a contact (named as something that the voice assistant will easily be able to recognise -- mine is Riff Raff, the butler out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show :) To add a card he just sends a text using voice to txt. This works the same with Siri, and the other benefit is that, rather than going via iOS reminders which can sometimes take several hours to show up in Trello, this will be created immediatly. You can connect his Trello account up in the backend of IFTTT and don't need physical access to his phone to set any of that up. I actually use the hashtag function in the SMS channel to split cards up to different boards (eg. #Reminder, #Shopping etc.) so that might be useful for you to split up things he wants to assign to you versus things he wants to do himself (eg. #Me, #Sharon). When I set this up, I had to go into and create my own applet but maybe someone has created and published one since I did that

3) I published an article about my method for managing and prioritising large numbers of tasks which I call "task shortlisting" -- you seem like a bit of a productivity geek so you might get a kick out of it:

4) I work with a few construction companies and I've found they benefit greatly from putting their email into Trello (via G-Suite) using my Benko Board plugin:

5) For the same construction clients I've been setting up a pretty "re-usable" project board/email system that doesn't really have it's own "product" page yet but is basically a bunch of Trellinator scripts which automate Trello with Google Apps Script, you can read more about it here:

@Iain Dooley Thank you for the very thorough response.  grab a tasty beverage... my productivity geek flag is about to fly.  Using Trello as in-depth as I have over the past few weeks is way over my head and out of my comfort zone.  I am a quick study, though.  Prior to this job I was a sole user and never had the need to automate or dumb down tasks of another user so that the board doesn't get hosed beyond my ability to fix. It's happening a bit but I am usually able to catch it by babysitting John's actions on Trello through notifications, thus adding more to my work load.  So if I can keep his interactions as hands-off as possible, it will make my job easier.

Talk to Cards Automation: If I can get SMS to Trello solution #2 work that makes solution #1 a moot point for him as then I don't have to worry about "how/where" he puts things in Trello and he doesn't even have to open Trello which confuses him.  Right now, it's best if he has as little to do as possible with Trello.  He wants to learn but now is not the time... maybe this winter when we have 2 feet of snow and can't work outside.   RiffRaff LOL  I name my devices after James Bond girls... MoneyPenny is iphone, HoneyRider is ipad pro. KissySuzuki might not be so easy for Siri to understand and others would be a bit taboo to say out loud in the company of strangers as I am talking my way through a project. I'm gonna have to think on this a bit.

Also on Solution #2 - Siri to Trello is very simple to set up without using IFTTT.  I downloaded the Shortcuts app for iOS and created a voice trigger for creating a card... so all I say is "Hey Siri, add new lead" and it opens the shortcut, turns on the dictation to start listening and I start talking.  Once it hears a pause, it stops recording and creates the card in Trello and adds it to the top of my New Leads list. Then Butler runs when a new lead card is created and sets the Due Date for tomorrow and assigns the New Lead checklist.  However... the drawback to this Shortcut app with Siri is that if you're like me and you pause too long to formulate a thought, it immediately shuts off and sends the card... then I have to open the card and edit it in Trello to continue my thoughts.  However, for someone way more efficient and succinct than myself, this may not be an issue. 

I don't know if there is an easier solution for Android devices without using IFTTT, so the SMS to Trello might be my only option for making this doable for John since he already uses talk to text prolifically.

Task Management: I think I am already doing a bit of what was stated in the article about managing and prioritizing tasks.  My Shortlist board contains 7 columns for working properties through New Lead Status to Under Construction when we actually start on a job.  Each list contains the list of cards for that phase with New Leads currently being the longest list, since I am taking 6 months of leads and cold calling everything he's just let sit because he didn't have time to get to them all, plus all the current leads coming in daily.  I have custom fields set up for Lead Date (day we get the lead), Start Date/End Date - these are projected dates of when we think we can start a job (based on our current work load) and how long it will take.  This is used mostly by me for writing proposals and seeing where I can fit projects into the schedule depending on their complexity.  Due dates are only used in the New Leads column so that we don't get behind on the daily leads while trying to work through a back log of old leads.

Lists on Leads Board:

  • New Leads - cards sit here until the property is viewed and video complete. This is the only list where cards get assigned a due date... Property Viewed, Proposal Created and Proposal Delivered stages are all cleaned up with 24-48 hours
  • Property Viewed (2 of us view/video property for proposals) 7-8 cards per day - cards sit here until a proposal is created. Proposals are usually done same or next day - this box is zeroed out daily unless I am waiting on engineered plans in order to create a proposal
  • Proposal Created - cards sit here and wait for John's tweaking and final approval of the proposal before sending to client. This list usually has 10-15 cards in it at all times
  • Proposal Delivered - cards are moved here once proposal has been emailed to the client... typically holds about 30 cards waiting for response from client
  • Staging (Proposals Accepted by client and waiting for us to start - this is also when I start order building permits, scheduling equipment to be moved, ordering supplies, etc) - this list already has properties with potential start dates for next year and I try to keep the list ordered by start date and importance (importance is sometimes a bigger factor over start date because the lead may have come from a supplier who gives us a good deal on our block or a referral from another landscaping company that we trade services with or subcontract for because they can't do what we do... those guys we keep happy so they keep feeding us work... they get a higher priority than JoeSchmoe off the street whose wife decided she didn't like the color of the block the previous homeowner's put in)
  • Under Construction (shortest list because we only have 4 crews so we can only keep 4 properties at a time on this list
  • Wait&See - This is a list of clients who like the bid but need to acquire funds for the job and have not accepted the proposal yet

Any proposal that is rejected gets checklists stripped and is moved to a separate Lost Leads board.  Once a job is completed and all final inspections have passed, the card is moved to a separate Completed Jobs board.  

Initially, I had tried moving my jobs to a separate board once they were in the Accepted/Staging/Under Construction process but I found I spent a lot of time flipping back and forth between boards and sometimes got so involved in my Lead management that I would forget to work on my Staging/UnderContract work... it seems to work better for me to keep those items on the Lead board even though they aren't leads.  Out of sight, Out of mind.

I have also created some custom stickers for our process to be attached to the front of the cards over the property image so that I can look at a card and know where it is in the process without having to open the card and read through all the data on that card.   This custom sticker thing is still a work in progress but the visualization for me is helping since I have about 100 cards in some state of needing action at all times.

BenkoBoard & Trellinator both look interesting.  I will have to read up on them this weekend when I have more time.

Iain Dooley Community Leader Sep 02, 2019

@Sharon Overschmidt aha! Of course, when I first set up the txt to IFTTT thing it was before Shortcuts when it was Workflow, and you couldn't use voice commands with it. However, when I set this up it needs me to unlock the phone which is a turn off. Perhaps if you have face id it will automatically unlock if you look at it at that point, but I'm on an SE with fingerprint unlock so being able to send a txt to Trello is still a better solution for me right now. Also, it doesn't appear as though the dictation feature works when running a shortcut from the watch, and I quite frequently use the watch to add cards via voice to text. I do have some other shortcuts that create Trello cards though, I can't believe I didn't make the connection that you could pass in the dictation to that! Thanks for sharing that, I'll keep an eye on that feature as it is definitely preferable to have a solution for this that doesn't involve IFTTT.

I can definitely see what you're talking about with your sales/leads board. Depending on the complexity of your delivery, you might find that the model shown in the Trellinator video on the homepage here is a good fit, I use this for project based businesses quite often:

That is, cards move through a sales pipeline and then get a board automatically created when it's approved and going into production, so you can manage the more complicated delivery processes in their own board, linked back to the original lead card.

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