Advanced Trello integrations with API – use Trello as a pro

Trello is one of my personal favorite tools. It’s so simple that everyone understands it, and yet it scales to very advanced systems. The different systems and methods I’ve seen in Trello are amazing, and it just proves my thesis that Trello can most definitely work in big organisations.

I believe the reason Trello is so popular is because the users of the tool just love it. The second you try to force advanced tools on developers (Jira, Podio, Sharepoint or even more advanced tools), they’re less interested in using it. However, with Trello, it seems everyone starts to use it for personal projects as well.

But to scale Trello into an advanced process, you need to get technical. This blog post is about advanced Trello use. This will require programming, and we’re experts in this. If you want to discuss potential Trello use, or just want to hear more, contact us.

Advanced use and flow in Trello

A typical advanced use of Trello I’ve seen is IT departments. They usually have a backlog of tasks, and a sprint board.

The example I am going to use is also relevant for other departments, so follow along even though you might not be into IT.

In the IT departments, they could have a board with columns such as:

  • Ideas from customers
  • Requests from marketing
  • Requests from HR
  • Requests from finance
  • Requests from IT

The project leader of each department is the only one allowed to add tasks to this board. That means only project leads will have access to this board.

Every task would follow a specific template, defined in the Trello card itself (by adding an example Trello card with a template to copy).

Every second week, when a new sprint starts, the IT project leader moves all the cards for that particular sprint into the sprint board.

In the sprint board the developers have access, and here the responsible developers are assigned their respective tasks.

And that’s the simple version

A natural extension of this would be:

  • Adding an extra Trello board for releases, which could be states such as “Ready for review”, “Ready for merge”, “In develop”, “In QA” and “In prod”
  • Adding an extra Trello board for roadmap, where tasks are put into “January 2016, February 2016” and so forth

The fact that you can put links to other cards inside cards is extremely effective and simple.

This can be used in all types of departments, and gives a really advanced process in Trello.

Process or use the Trello API?

Despite being extremely powerful, Trello has its limitations.

Common requirements I’ve heard:

  • Dashboard and reports on status
  • Exports to external tools
  • Extra metadata on tasks
  • More advanced notifications
  • Better way to show tasks to clients

While Trello of course continues to develop their system, all of this is not going to be implemented. In addition, the bigger the company, the more individual and unique the requirements are.

In this card, the Trello API comes in handy. The Trello API opens up for every wish you might have, as all data is accessible and modifiable.

However, when you go into the advanced Trello use and implementation using the API, you need technical skills. This is not something a non-technical department can do. However, we can easily be of assistance, so contact us to hear more.

Implement using the Trello API

The full Trello API documentation can be found here. This section is meant for developers. If you need any help implementing, we do recommend contacting us.

The Trello API is based on REST, and works like most normal REST APIs. You can retrieve an API key from their website, and then you’re good to go. In order to get the user’s authentication, you simply use OAUTH.

When you have both the API key and a token from a user, you can start making all the calls you need.

This includes the following two service endpoints:

  • /Board: everything you need to manage a board, such as assign people, move cards around, create/delete cards and create/modify boards
  • /Card: delete/update card, attach members, create lists and general handling of the cards

By using these endpoints, you can basically control everything in Trello.

Trello consulting and service

We’re experts in Trello and its API. Contact us to hear more, or to ask any questions you may have.