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How Cindy Hoskey uses Trello to wrangle her college class and manage her ADHD

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Quick disclaimer: Hi, everybody! My name is Bridget, and I'm new to Team Atlassian as the Community Content Manager. I started the Community Spotlight series because I know that there's a story behind every Atlassian user, many of which contain nuggets of golden wisdom that will inspire you or snippets of humor that might make you smile. If you have a story to tell or would like to nominate another friend or coworker to be in the spotlight, shoot me an email to Okay, back to this week's Spotlight! 

This week's spotlight just so happens to be Part II of last week's. This is because @Cindy Hoskey wears many hats, too many for just one post. In her first Community Spotlight, Cindy talked to us about how she uses Trello to wrangle her college class and manage her ADHD. In this post, Cindy shares her first-person account of how she uses Atlassian products in her other role as a Senior Solutions Architect at Birst:

At Birst, we’re making Trello an important part of the new and improved Agile process we’re rolling out within our Professional Services organization starting early in 2018. While the program is just ramping up now and being used by a few select pilot programs, we expect that all projects will be using Trello soon as one of the vital organs of “Birst Agile.” I really appreciate that a team in Trello can include our customers as well as our internal employees. Many of the project management or document sharing solutions in place at any company can only be shared internally, often leaving project teams with no choice but to communicate via meetings, email, and spreadsheets. As a result, they create communication silos and all the duplication of effort, repetitive tasks, version mismatches, and inevitable copy/paste errors that go along with silos. At Birst we’re all about eliminating silos, and as a Services Organization, we view our customers are partners in the design, creation, and delivery of their Birst BI and Analytics solutions. This is not the kind of work where a team can walk away after an initial meeting and come back 3 months later to hand the customer a completed solution. All successful projects involve collaborative efforts with our customers to one degree or another, so we appreciate how easy Trello makes including everyone in the creation of a single source of the truth when it comes to the project’s requirements. 


Personally, one thing I really love about Trello is that it can go high and it can go low. By that I mean that it’s really easy to start off at a high level and use Trello to map out a project strategy, and then, over time, as the details begin to emerge, Trello can capture the stories, tasks, and to-do’s in a multitude of ways. This way we can have a single board, or several connected boards, in which both the whole picture can be seen as well as the fine-grained, technical tasks.  

Let me give you a specific example: One way we’re using this high/low aspect is in the management of our “Competency Working Groups." We have several groups whose members meet on a regular basis in order to provide strategy, tactics, best practices, and documentation around specific issues which are of high interest to our Professional Services organization and to the company at large. The groups cover subjects like Partner & Internal Education, Technical Architecture, Technical Account Management, and (my group) Agile. Each of the groups has a Trello board which is used a bit differently by each group. In the Agile Working Group, we use our Trello board to keep track of progress toward the items on our Agile Vision and Goals statement. The first list is the Goal list, which has a card for each goal.  Then each goal has its own list, and the card, and then each goal has its own list. The cards within the goal’s list detail the concrete next steps toward that goal. We link the cards so that you can look at the card for a given goal and all of the linked cards representing the action steps needed to reach that goal. Then we share the Goal cards back to the board managed for all the Competency Working Groups, as do all the other working groups.  Management can go to one place, see the goals of each of the Working Groups, and then easily see what each group’s concrete next steps are for their goals, who is responsible for the next steps, what the deadlines are, how much progress has been made, etc.   

And forget boring old WBS’s and spreadsheets – I love how easy it is to drag and drop a screenshot, document, or even a URL onto a Trello list to instantly add a card along with a pop of color! Seriously, never underestimate the power of color. I always like to change the board background so that it suits the project. It might be something from my customer’s industry or a picture of their city. It might be something that uses company colors (I have used a lot of backgrounds that are predominantly orange to go along with the Birst logo)! Or it might just be something to project a certain mood – my personal favorite is this amazing rainbow sunset mountainscape (shown below). To me, that just embodies vision and open-mindedness and creativity!



Finally, while Trello is my personal favorite tool, Birst uses Jira extensively within our Software Development and Support organizations as well. While we use another system to log support calls, any call that results in the need for a code change or added feature will be linked to the Jira ticket that is opened up by engineering. This means that we can always look at the progress of the myriad software development tracks that are underway at a given moment. In my role as a Technical Account Manager, I often open Jira tickets based on feature-requests from our customers. I love how easy it is to know exactly what work has been done, where the work is within the workflow, and which release will include the new feature.

Thanks, Cindy for a Spotlight so nice, we posted twice. 

Keep an eye out for the next spotlight! Until then,



Erica Moss Community Manager Dec 12, 2017

Such a great read, @Cindy Hoskey! Trello 4 life. 😎

So exciting to be profiled like this!  And for a product I enjoy using so much!

briancervino Atlassian Team Dec 19, 2017

Great post! My favorite board backgrounds are well placed animated GIF backgrounds like the one my colleague Lauren and I used for our "Infinite Pizza" public board:


OMG that infinite pizza board is crazy!  Although it would definitely give me a headache if I had to look at it too long.  Lol!

I love the pizza gif, Brian!

Thanks Cindy for the helpful article. 


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