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What is the easiest way to learn to use Trello for construction Management projects

  I am looking to start using Trello for managing my construction projects.  I've done some looking around for templates for construction and I just keep finding "project management" templates.  Are there any templates or how-to videos out there on using Trello for construction projects? I am a never-ever user of Trello and need to get up to speed FAST.  Thank you so much for anyone who takes the time to point me in the right direction.  

4 answers

@Scott Dillard welcome to the communtiy, and welcome to trello! I don't know of any videos or posts specifically, but here's a couple thoughts and pointers from me if that helps: 

I built a template for you but keep reading for an explanation on how to use it.

1) Have one board to keep track of all your construction projects, I recommend adding the Cmrble Power-Up as it helps to keep track of contact details as they move through a funnel and will also give you reports about your projects.

2) Use lists for the stages they go through (for example maybe: lead, pre-sale, sold, drafting plans, in progress, final review, completed, etc.)

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3) Each card can be a client/project. With the Crmble power-up, you'll be able to add custom fields, including details about the project. 

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4) You can use labels to categorize projects (for instance, maybe if you have projects in different cities, you can use a label for each city name, and then you can easily filter your board by those cities. 

image.png

 

You can even filter your Crmble reports by these labels:

image.png

5) Assign members to the card if you have specific project owners, and again you can filter cards by this and view reports by project owner.

 

6) You can also assign start and end/due dates to a card to keep track of a progress timeline. If you have Trello Premium, you can actually view a timeline of all of these projects.

 

7) Use checklists inside of each card to add items you need to do for each project. Let me know if you're interested in automating these checklists (for instance, every time it moves to "under construction" stage, automatically add a checklist of xyz items, and I can explain how to do that, but don't want to overwhelm you with too much info at once if it's not helpful!

 

Let me know if this helps, or sparks more questions!

I'm going with everything Brittany said!

I was going to type a long essay on how one of my friends is using Trello in the construction industry.  His company is one of the world's largest suppliers of aggregate, concrete, building blocks, sleepers, asphalt, and and and.  And they get projects like "get the stuff we need to build HS2 or London super-sewers in the right place at the right time"

But he's using Trello with 5 of the 7 points Brittany mentions and is pushing to get the other two done, as Trello is so much better than the "legacy project-management junk" (his words, not mine) he is supposed to be using.

I think the one thing I wanted to add though, is that a lot of the stuff you are seeing about "project management" actually does apply to construction projects. You will see different goals, different ways to measure or execute tasks, but actually, most PM work really is "organise getting stuff done and report on it"

Like Scott Dillard likes this

This is amazing Brittney, thank you!  I feel like I need to learn how to crawl before I can walk.... what do you recommend for a never-ever to get up to speed fast?  

Brittany Joiner Community Leader Sep 22, 2021

@Scott Dillard check out these videos! They're not construction project specific, but they'll give you some general direction on what is trello and all those terms I used above :) 

- What is Trello

- What is a Trello board

- Another fun "what is Trello" with me and fellow community member @Fun Man Andy !

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Fun Man Andy Community Leader Sep 23, 2021

That was so much fun to make...! I had a great time. End result was so good as well! Nicely informational 😀

0 votes
Iain Dooley Community Leader Sep 23, 2021

@Scott Dillard are you using any other software to manage the process? For example do you have quoting software, invoicing software, any other CRM software, building project management software?

If not, are you looking to use something like that in addition to Trello or are you going "All Trello"?

If so, are you wanting to keep using those other systems and use Trello to manage the bits of your process that sit outside of them, or build integrations between Trello and those systems, or migrate away from those systems into a Trello only solution?

Do you have a team? If so how many aside from yourself? Full time/Contractors? How many projects do you typically have active at any one time? How many sales enquiries do you get in a typicaly month and how many new construction projects commence?

Do you have any existing project documentation that you create at the start of a job and what are you currently using to manage that process?

Do you use any software for site diary recording, and do you keep those records for use in any future legal action?

I'm sure there are more questions but these are the first ones that come to mind that might influence how you would want to use Trello.

  My business is different then most, (i'm sure everyone says that!).  I am Real Estate agent first, contractor second. I never have an end user/client on the contracting side, everything is spec.  I recently demoed some contracting software like co-construct and others. They were very powerful, but too focused on client relations...and expensive.  I am just looking for a place to organize my projects.  Contact info, insurance, contracts for the subs; place to keep photos(no daily logs needed); scheduling(with calendar); place to keep working drawings(links to drive maybe); place to keep paint colors and product info for reference in the future.

  To answer some of your questions:  I have a Real Estate Team and trusted subs, but at first at least I would not need other team members on Trello. I typically have 2-5 construction projects going at a time. I currently just use Google Sheets for bidding.  I have a CRM with my Real Estate side of the business to keep track of clients. I have no process to manage contracts, sub insurance docs, etc, other than drive which has not been working.  I have no checklists or timelines, I just go off of experience, which has worked in the past but I have more projects now and need to get more efficient.  No daily recording needed.  Great questions you ask. 

@Scott Dillard 

My business is different then most, (i'm sure everyone says that!).

Haha yep. Everyone. Literally.

 

> I am Real Estate agent first, contractor second. I never have an end user/client on the contracting side, everything is spec.  I recently demoed some contracting software like co-construct and others. They were very powerful, but too focused on client relations...and expensive.

Okay so you're more like a real estate developer than a construction company/builder right? I've worked with a couple of similar companies over the years I think, one was doing "build to rent" property development, the other was doing investment property development where they would find the sites and organise the builder to build a property for investment purposes (and sometimes upgrade existing property).

 

The latter was a one man show, the former was a 40+ person company.

 

Does that sound something like what you're doing?

 

> I am just looking for a place to organize my projects.  Contact info, insurance, contracts for the subs; place to keep photos(no daily logs needed); scheduling(with calendar); place to keep working drawings(links to drive maybe); place to keep paint colors and product info for reference in the future.

 

Okay so the breadth of information you need about each project almost certainly means you need a "board of boards" approach. You won't be able to fit all the various bits of information about a project into a single card. Probably, though, you want a single card throughout the sales process. The BenkoBot demo video on our home page is actually an example of a typical "sales pipeline through to project" setup for a business such as yours:

 

http://benkoworks.com/benkobot/

> To answer some of your questions:  I have a Real Estate Team and trusted subs, but at first at least I would not need other team members on Trello.

Okay so what you should think about then is having email integration with Trello. There are quite a few options these days, most of them run as power ups though so will not work on tablets/mobile devices. We have a product called BenkoBoard that lets you use Trello as a Gmail client (or BenkoDesk for shared email):

http://www.benkoboard.com/

It also helps centralise your notifications across multiple different boards (the BenkoBot demo video above shows this a bit too).

> I typically have 2-5 construction projects going at a time. I currently just use Google Sheets for bidding.  I have a CRM with my Real Estate side of the business to keep track of clients. I have no process to manage contracts, sub insurance docs, etc, other than drive which has not been working.

Okay what's the CRM you're using with the Real Estate side?

Also, with the Google Sheets thing is it like one document per bid? So you've got a Spreadsheet template that you copy which has a bunch of calculations into which you put various parameters such as land value and construction costs in order to determine the profitability of the job and then that gives you an idea of what you can afford to pay for a piece of property? If so then you would probably keep using that same template, but you might structure it a bit by having one card per opportunity with the sheet linked to the card, which would then allow you to store some "meta data" and communications info/checklists/process etc. that kind of sits "around" the spreadsheet.

> I have no checklists or timelines, I just go off of experience, which has worked in the past but I have more projects now and need to get more efficient.  No daily recording needed.  Great questions you ask. 

EDIT: oops somehow this bit got cut off in my initial reply:

Yep so the first step is to just get all your work into cards, then move those cards through lists to identify the various phases/stages, then for each phase/stage identify what the steps are and put them into checklists.

You the link each checklist to a page of documentation with information about how to do that step, and once you've got your process outlined like that you can start to automate the data entry parts and communications (for example when a particular checklist item is complete you might have an email automatically send out documents to one or more stakeholders).

Hey Scott, looks like some great answers above. I have been using Trello for quite a while now and have built a few Power-Ups for it. If you wanted to grab a time on my calendar I'd be happy to share my knowledge and see if I can get you set up for success https://calendly.com/robinwarren/30min

I've seen a lot of teams set ups so can share what I've seen work and what mistakes I have seen people make.

To be clear on my motives, the benefit to me here is that I can see how Trello could work for construction projects, I've seen a lot of other ways to use it but this one would be new to me. Maybe I can get some ideas on how me and my team can improve our existing Power-Ups. Plus I like helping people :)

Robin

Founder: Blue Cat Reports for Trello and more :)

0 votes
Hannah Morgan Community Leader Sep 22, 2021

@Scott Dillard I'd recommend starting simple. There are heaps of cool features and power-ups to explore, and lots of different types of boards you can create, but I'd start with the core functionality on the free plan to get comfortable, use it for a bit, see what's missing, and then progressively add on from there. 

In terms of where to start, I'd first ask why you want to start using Trello. What is the overarching goal? Is it just for you, or will you be collaborating with others? 

Thanks for asking Hanna.  Mainly just for me to keep my projects organized before, during, and after.  Maybe have team members use it in the future, but that is not why I am going this route.  Looking to organize Contact info, insurance, contracts for the subs; place to keep photos(no daily logs needed); scheduling(with calendar); place to keep working drawings(links to drive maybe); place to keep paint colors and product info for reference in the future.

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