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Can Trello Gold enhance your Scrum board?

TrelloA long time ago, in a blog post far, far away, I explored the use of Trello’s agile task tracking toolset to create a Scrum board for developer implementation. This has worked well for me over the years, especially when a project needs a little more structure than Kanban sometimes allows me. Recently, the post (and board) were featured on Trello’s Inspiration site, and that prodded me to do some investigation. Would I get anything out of Trello Gold that could help with the Scrum board process?

What do you get?

Maybe it’s best to start with a list of what Trello Gold gives you. Taken from the Trello Gold site:

Custom Backgrounds, Stickers, and Emoji

Upload the perfect backgrounds and stickers for your boards.

Premium Backgrounds and Stickers

You’ll get beautiful, hand-selected backgrounds and additional sticker packs featuring Taco, our spokes-husky, and more.

250MB Attachment Limits

Upload all your huge photos, videos, and documents without worry.

Saved Searches

Save your most frequently used searches for easy access.

Now, let’s dig in!

Custom Backgrounds

This one is nice. While it technically won’t increase the productivity of your individual Scrum board, this really helps when you are running multiple projects or multiple boards for a project. The visual identification by the background helps the team quickly zoom in on the board they need without needing to read through a list of names. This one is a definite Thumbs Up.

TrelloGold-CustomBackgrounds

Stickers

TrelloGold-CustomStickersWhether the stickers are your own custom ones, the free ones, or the Gold Taco/Pete packs, these things don’t add value in a Scrum situation. Card covers already do most of what these do (visual identification on the card), but Stickers do provide the ability to have multiple stickers and re-use the same sticker across multiple cards. Unfortunately, since you can’t filter on stickers, this doesn’t have the power of labels for a professional Scrum team. This is fine for some fun or maybe a non-professional board, but I don’t think you’ll see productivity gains with this one.

Emoji

Maybe it’s just me, but I save Emoji and their ilk for instant messaging and personal emails. I am rarely tempted in a work context to add a *facepalm* emoji in my comments on a story. That being said, your office might have a different atmosphere, and perhaps adding a little fun to the cards isn’t such a bad thing.  I just know that if I walked into your team and looked at a Story on your board and it had 🙂 ⭐ 💡 in your acceptance criteria, I would probably ask for the quickest way to the door. So, this is a Thumbs Down from the grumpy guy right here, but it might work for the mood of your team.

250 MB Attachment Limits

This is easily the biggest benefit of the Gold level. Most teams using standard Trello have to resort to Google Drive integration to pull in their requirements attachments like wireframes, design files, architecture diagrams, requirements docs, etc. With 250 MB attachment limits, you can actually store your data on Trello and not worry about sending folks to another system to manage the attachments. This is a huge productivity boost for the team, so gets a big Thumbs Up.

Saved Searches

I’ll admit that I’ve only rarely used the search feature and when I have it has been frustrating. Often times I can’t remember what the title of a card was, so I’m sitting there typing out a bunch of variations hoping one of them will hit on the card in the archive that I’m actually looking for. Saved Searches get rid of that, especially for things in the archive you need to find again regularly.

TrelloGold-SavedSearchesFor a Scrum board, once the sprint is over you’ll probably be archiving all the Done stories and tasks, which means you can’t visually see them anymore on the current board. Using the advanced filtering that is available in search (@name, #label, is:archived, description:, etc.) and the Saved Searches you can create reports to quickly find what you need on the board that is important for you right now, or for checking on historical cards. Searches alone are powerful for Scrum, saving them makes it invaluable. Thumbs Up right here.

Pricing

You can probably tell by what you’ve read so far that there are more features that will benefit your Scrum board than won’t, however price is another factor for folks. $45. Per year. Yup. I spend more on gas every week than Trello Gold costs for the entire year. So for a Scrum team, it would cost you $45 every year to have one team member get Gold and manage your board with these new features. Everybody on the team will get the benefits of seeing the backgrounds and stickers, or downloading big files, but only the person with Gold will be able to use the Gold features.

Oh, and you can get it for free too. Just get people to join Trello by using their sharing links. I myself have gotten loads of people to join but because I didn’t use the specific recommend link for my account I didn’t get credit. So if you want to get Gold for free, make sure to use your personal recommend link!

Now, if you have a lot of folks who need features like the bigger attachments and saved searches, then Gold might not be for you. Trello does offer a Business Class which has the same per user pricing, but you get more features and everybody in the organization gets the Gold features.

Here’s the rub: JIRA Agile, in the cloud, is a much more complete agile management tool and for some user counts may be more cost effective (especially given the feature upgrade). Here’s a pricing comparison based on published monthly pricing from Atlassian and Trello:

# users:   JIRA |  Trello
10 users:  $ 20 |  $37.50
15 users:  $ 75 |  $56.25
25 users:  $150 |  $93.75
50 users:  $300 | $187.50
100 users: $450 | $375.00

As you can see, there are certain users counts where you can get a lot more features for your Scrum team than is offered in Trello for a similar pricing. Definitely something to pay attention to if you are making the decision to start paying for your agile tracking software.

The Final Verdict

If you can get it free, this is a no-brainer! Trello Gold is better than the standard Trello and some of the extra features will actually be very helpful for a Scrum team. However, if you need to start looking at paying for multiple accounts with Trello Gold (or Business Class), you should investigate other options if you plan on running Scrum. There are better paid Scrum management tools available for a similar cost.

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4 thoughts on “Can Trello Gold enhance your Scrum board?”

    1. Hi Elizabeth, that’s a great question! There is always a personal preference that comes into play, but I would probably put Visual Studio Online and JIRA Agile on the list of paid Scrum management tools that folks should look into.

      Visual Studio Online is great if you want a lot of ALM tools immediately tied into your work tracking. Cost can be a little higher, depending on your needs, but if you are already MSDN licensed for it you get it free, and it’s also free for smaller teams. There are even roles for users known as Stakeholders so they can participate without paying for a license usage.

      JIRA Agile in the cloud is really strong and we use it at nonlinear for all of our projects. While the licensing is per-user, even for stakeholders, the pricing is competitive and the features are really rich. VSO lags behind JIRA in usability right now, but VSO has some nifty things that JIRA Agile just doesn’t have.

      VersionOne is another good tool out there, but I found it was a step behind the other two for what I needed to run our Scrum teams.

      However, when I need to spin up something quick, and free, I go to Trello. By far the best teamwork tool for task tracking that I’ve seen.

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