Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trello teams explained: it's worse than you can imagine (in free version)

I went through all of Trello’s (weak) online documentation trying to figure out how to manage my (free) Trello teams. Where in the UI is the a list of teams? I could see how to create a team. I could see how to add someone to a team. But where’s the team list?!?!

Turns out in free Trello “Teams” are not teams (of people). That’s why I couldn’t find them anywhere:

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A “Team” is a collection of boards and people are part of boards and teams and people are related by … I think a Team is basically part of the natural key for a join table between boards and people and “teams”. (But a board can belong to only one Team (or NULL team) … so maybe Team is a foreign key in Board)

You see teams in the Boards screen; in this (hidden) UI they group boards. To add a board to a team you work from the board menu. But Trello has (inadvertently?) made it hard to find the full Boards screen. I don’t think there’s any link to it in the UI, you have to click on “Trello” or just go to URL trello.com.

So you’ve found the list of Boards. They are grouped by Starred Boards, My Boards and by “Team Names”. The Team Names have Boards, Members, Settings. All 3 of these buttons go to the same tabbed screen.

(Tip: The Team-Member collection shows in the URL. So if you know team name, just do http://trello.com/myteamname]

Click on any and you see the the UI equivalent of a join table made up of members, boards, and the “Grouping” (team). BoardGrouping:settings:settings lets you delete a team.

From this tabbed screen you edit the Members:Board relationships. You can delete a Team (remove all rows with same Team name). You can add Members (add rows to join table) by clicking on “Add by Email” which doesn’t actually add by Email, it just lets you search the global Trello user domain by email or Trello ID (should be called “Add Members”).  HOWEVER, to add a board to a team you go to the Board’s settings and use Change Team (this doesn’t remove members, just divides them into Team and Non-Team members). My head hurts. You figure out the rest.

Let me repeat that. In (free) Trello, the “Team” page is the SETTINGS for the grouped boards and it can only be found by going to the semi-hidden “trello.com” home page or the secret URL shortcut.

Teams may make more sense in the paid version but they’re a hot mess in the free version.

I think Trello is one of those great ideas that’s been broken. It’s rare for software to recover from a state like this.

2 comments:

Erica Moss said...

Hi, John! My name is Erica, and I'm the community manager here at Trello. Honestly, we appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback on the product, because people who use it every day teach us a lot about how we can improve. What I can tell you is that we hear you loud and clear. We have been actively working on teams, and hope to share some exciting stuff in the near future. Thanks again!

JGF said...

I think it will take some serious thought to get it fixed, but good to know Trello is working on it.