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User prompted Trello notifications

Hi all, we're experimenting with Trello to track shot development on a film production. To track status we're using colour coded labels but unfortunately these don't seem to activate notifications.

This is a pain in circumstances where the status of a task has changed but not in a way that requires an update to the card (new note, attachment, etc) so no notifications get sent to other users.

Ideally we'd have an option to do this when a label is added but failing that is there a way of having a button on the card that sends a notification to all watchers or to an individual?

Or some other workaround?

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Iain Dooley Community Leader Feb 13, 2019

@janrogowski adding a comment will notify all people watching a card, so will checking off a checklist item, modifying a due date, adding or removing members etc.

Is there a reason why you're using label changes to indicate state change rather than moving between lists?

Mainly because labels are so visually accessible from board level.

I looked at changing checklists but ticking/unticking doesn't appear to fire a notification, just pops up in the activity list.

Do you know if Butler will automate notifications based on labels being added or taken away?

I believe Butler may add/remove labels or fire notifications according to certain actions. Possibly linked to modifications to a checklist?

Sorry if I'm off the mark, early days...

Should add I can't test the Butler powerup (not being lazy!) as it's in some kind of purgatory while Trello assimilates it's code.

Iain Dooley Community Leader Feb 14, 2019

@janrogowski oh right you are -- checklist item completion doesn't trigger a notification for watchers. Now onto the second point: Butler just uses Trello's API so the only way it can trigger a notification is by taking some action that would otherwise trigger a notification. So for example you might have:

When a label is added to a card post comment "@card {labelname} added"

You can't currently create a new Butler account, but I have created an alternative automation tool called Trellinator that can do all the same things, but using Google Apps Script instead. This has some advantages and some disadvantages, the most notable being that it's tricky to set up and you have to write code to use it. The good news is that you can pay people on Upwork to do that for you pretty inexpensively and I've documented it well so that you can reasonably expect someone to learn how to use it and then write code for you without it costing too much.

For example, the trellinator code to do the same thing as the Butler command above would be:

You can see how to set up and install this code here:

HOWEVER ... you could obviate the need for this entirely by simply moving cards between lists to indicate state changes instead of using labels. Seeing which cards are in which lists is just as easy as seeing which cards have a label applied.

So either:

1) There is a different way to achieve the same outcome by modifying your workflow to use an event that triggers a notification for watchers OR;

2) You can automate what you need with Trellinator OR;

3) You can wait til Butler accepts new accounts and start using that :)

Like janrogowski likes this

That is phenomenally useful info.

Moving between lists is not really desirable as all tasks/cards need to be grouped and mixing them up by status would be quite confusing. And having multiple status lists for groups is going to result in a LOT of lists.

I will look at Trellinator (excellent name) tomorrow, many thanks!

Iain Dooley Community Leader Feb 14, 2019

@janrogowski Okay so let me hit you with this:

flip it around so that the labels are the groupings and the lists are the state changes. If you do this, you can use filters to show cards with a given label, and then move them between lists to indicate state changes.

@Iain Dooley I thought about your previous posts and have realised that actually splitting up the groups of tasks into different boards might very well be the way forward. Then I could have half a dozen lists representing task status and an administrator can be in charge of progressing them towards completion.

I think this is the solution for us, massive thanks for your help in getting there!

Iain Dooley Community Leader Feb 15, 2019

@janrogowski Yep, using multiple boards is another option.

I *do* sometimes find that this can scale badly though ... like, as a rule of thumb I prefer to use a single board with labels to group things unless the actual state changes each piece of work goes through is different, or the people that need to see the information are different.

You can see what I mean by grouping using labels/filters here:

Especially if you get good at using the keyboard shortcuts this is a really fast way to get an overview of all your cards while still being able to easily drill down into a single grouping.

If you do go the multiple boards route, consider using a "board of boards", that is, a board where each card represents a board, with a link to the board on the card. This will allow you to store meta data about the board, it will allow the boards to have state, and will make it easier to keep track at a bird's eye view of what's going on -- the native boards menu and home screen aren't particularly "trello like" in that regard:

This "board of boards" example code is actually the use case I demonstrate in the Trellinator Quick Start introduction:

Awesome stuff, thanks Iain!

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