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Why is the free trello releasing the ability to let everyone be admins on a team Edited

I've been using Trello now for 5 years.  I love it. I manage my clients by giving access to a trello team for their space.

However I see that Trello is now going to make everyone an Admin of a Free trello team.

This is not what I want.  I pay for Trello Gold - so I can use additional powerups per client.  I don't want my clients to give access to anyone else to the team.  It's a place for me - the consultant - and the person I am working with/for only.

Given that upgrading to Business - is per team only, this will become so costly for me to use.

I really don't want to go back to Goggle docs for managing clients.

3 answers

3 accepted

1 vote
Answer accepted

Hi Ronni,

I'm the cofounder of Trello.  First, I wanted to thank you for being a Trello user for 5 years and I'm really happy that you love it.

I'm going to borrow a bunch of what @Iain Dooley already wrote, but this change won't affect permissions on your boards. 

Team Admins can a) add/remove other users, and b) upgrade to Business Class.  First, we are trying to remove friction for people to upgrade.  Second, we want to remove the friction and the burden of team organization from only the team creator and open that up to all team users.  Lastly, we believe that most teams trust each other and when they need extra certainty on that trust, it aligns with our Business Class product and the features we have added there for control and security.  We've already had this change out for new teams for a few months already.

I appreciate that you signed up for a Gold subscription, but our Gold product is designed for solo users and does not have team level capabilities.  We are shipping some new features shortly and those also will be only in our Business Class product.  We've designed our Business Class product to align with people that use Trello for their work (Gold is not designed for that).

I hope that either you will find you are unaffected by this change or your love of the product and the fact that you have been using it for so long will be enough of a reason (along with the new and existing features in Business Class) for you to upgrade.  

Best wishes,


Hi Michael - thank you for taking time to respond.  I still am unclear if either of you are understanding the complexity of what I am using Trello for.

I am a business consultant. I run my own business (here is 1 of me) - working with other solo proprietaries, or small businesses (Normally older mom-pop who haven't gotten far in the digital age but want to and under 10 people in the company) .  I help them develop digital strategies, social media, and potentially online communities/presence for their business. 

These are not folks that are very digital savvy sometimes.  Most of these folks are still using Rolodex and, have email, and smart phone, but are not taking advantage heavily of the technologies.  But all of them like to get organized.  I am project agile based.  Many of my clients retain me per month for some work.

For me - using Team designations has made it easier to create multiple same named boards for each of clients and creating contained areas so I can protect privacy with each client.  (And to keep my head from exploding.)

Maybe I am missing something here - but I can't see how upgrading to business class will keep my clients from seeing each other's private spaces aka their team boards.

More so - If I upgrade me to Business it's not 1 user license as far as I understand - it would be 6 Business upgrades (one for each team - since they are not connected in any shape or form other than they are my clients)

For example at one point this last year:  with me having the same email address and each client having a different email address that were subscribed to Trello and a set of boards associated with that particular team that the client was associated with;

Team A -  (Me, client-a, and his admin) 

Team B -  (Me, client-b) 

Team C -  (Me, client-c) 

Team D - My company  (Just me and 4 guests who I give piece work to)

Team E - (Me - client E does not use the trello ) (2 addresses potentially)

I totally get the 1 Corporation Multiple teams needs and think the solution to Business Class for them makes perfect sense.  

But for consultants - this becomes a nightmare fast.

Iain Dooley Community Leader Apr 21, 2020

@Ronni Business Class does have the ability to use Collections to keep things separate, which is typically what people on the free plan end up using Teams for, which then creates this weird scenario when they want to upgrade.

However if you're a "team" of one, and already paying for Gold, it would be just as simple for you to replicate your team collections by having a single, personal board with one list per client, and a template list, and then one board linked per card, which you then invite the clients to individually.

That way you still have your overview board where you can see everyone, you have a template list to copy when on-boarding new clients, and your clients just see their boards as personal boards. It sounds as though you're not really using any of the features of teams anyway, so either you'd want to have Business Class with collections (although if you have more than one board per client, each member of those boards will be billed as a multi-board guest) or you can just fudge the same setup using personal boards as described above.

Sure this means you have to create a bunch of boards for the clients each time you onboard someone new, but depending on your appetite for automation you could probably create the boards automatically with Zapier. Additionally, creating a "board of boards" is one of the examples in give in my Trellinator quick start/intro guide here (although that's more techy than Zapier):

You don’t have to add those outside users to your teams (or have multiple teams) to segregate them. 

You just need one team with all the boards in it. Add the clients you want to whichever boards you want - you don’t need to add them to your team. They will be “guests” of the team and if they are on more than one team board you will still have to pay for them (but if they are guests on only one team board they will not incur a charge).

This change won’t affect board permissions so those clients will still only see the boards you add them to if that’s how you want to do it.  As guests of the team, they won’t see boards they are not on. 

0 votes
Answer accepted
Iain Dooley Community Leader Apr 21, 2020

@Ronni The only things that team admins can do are:

1) Pay for/upgrade the team

2) Add/remove people from the team

This has no impact on board administration. Will it really disrupt your situation that much? I doubt any of your clients would be maliciously removing or adding people to/from a team, nor is it your concern if they decide to pay for some reason!

Actually the reason I went to Trello was because clients were adding people (random people even) on the other system I was using.  And it is disruptive.    

And I can't afford to add upgrades to every client team/board just to prevent the client from adding any one they decide to add and then prevent those folks from adding boards.

And yes it is my concern - Since I am paying for the Gold and using the Trello for my work flow and creating the boards/teams to manage MY clients. Not the other way around.

0 votes
Answer accepted
Esme Crutchley Community Leader Apr 22, 2020

Hi @Ronni 

There's been a lot of confusion about this here and here.

However, this is what's happening:

Long story short

Free Team members that are already admin on the free team - nothing will change

Free Team members that are members (i.e. not admin) - will be made admin - if you don't want this to happen - make sure they're on the relevant boards and remove them from the team. You could even send out a quick IM or email to those people letting them know, remembering that their membership of the boards isn't contingent on them being members of the team.

Board members - nothing will change - if they're 'normal' members, this will stay the same - if they're 'admin' members of a board, this will stay the same.

That's just how I see it, Atlassian please let me know if I'm wrong!

I am a user - not a member of staff, so please understand that I don't have any more information than the email that was sent to all of us.

 Basically, if you're the only team member and your clients are added to individual boards, nothing will change. 

If you're concerned that other team members, once they become admin will change things without your knowledge, remove them from the team but leave them on the boards that they need access to.

thank you for the time and information.  This has been very helpful and totally useful.

This is a good choice to keep me with the team,  and then add the clients to their specific boards - then I have the control I want and the ability to organize it.

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