Gantt chart is probably the best tool to help you visualize your roadmap in a nutshell. This is a simple way to get a “big picture” of your project and make it easy to share your vision with your team in order to coordinate resources and achieve objectives effectively.
Elegantt is a Trello friendly tool which generates Gantt charts for your boards. Installing the extension will just take 2 minutes : "How to install Elegantt for Trello"
Gantt charts will allow you to easily spread the information: everyone in the project has the same indications at the same time. You should give at least these key details on your roadmap:
- Milestones (PRO)
- Dependencies (PRO)
You'll also get a certain peace of mind: once you’re done planning, you can make more focused and effective decisions regarding resource allocation (avoid overcapacity), timetables and obviously your own tasks.
Before moving on, making this roadmap is a timely opportunity to take stock of the situation, don't you think?
Confirm your goal
Providing users with the smoothest possible Sign up process is actually a goal, whereas launching a new feature is not. Make sure to remember WHY you're doing all of this while you’re listing tasks.
Tips : Write down your ultimate goal somewhere around you, so you can take a look at it every time you have a doubt : “Is this really helping me with my objective?“
Unless you're working with strict specifications, your project is going to change a bit over time. So don’t be afraid to throw tasks away if they’re not in sync with your goal anymore.
Enough theory! Let’s get started.
Step 1 : Create a new board
Let’s create a brand new board on Trello.
You can do so by clicking the “+” button next to your profile on Trello. Then, select “Create Board”.
Step 2 : Organize tasks with lists
We're going to organize your lists with Kanban flow (To Do - Doing - Done in its most basic form). We choose to fit this specific workflow because it is the most used one with Trello.
Principles of the Kanban board:
Image from lifehacker.com
Divide and Conquer
Try to break your project down into several parts. Choose the higher level: it could be your different teams (“Marketing”, “Tech” and “Design”) or the main parts of the project itself (“Market Study”, “Business Plan” and “Account Creation”).
Put all of this as a draft on paper, so you can try to decompose with sub-groups, tasks, task checklists, etc until you get short enough tasks so they can be easily estimated.
Tips : Name your task with the pattern “verb + subject” so you’re sure it is specific enough. For example, “Press Relations” is more a sub group than a task, whereas “Make a list of tech journalists” is a real task.
Once you’re satisfied with your structure, you can create each task on your Trello board, in the right list. You should use Trello labels on cards with several colours in order to see them in your Gantt chart: Elegantt for Trello uses them to group tasks.
By the way, make sure your title and description are specific enough. If anything is ambiguous, a little piece of work could become a huge problem.
This is definitely the most important challenge with planning. You have to define milestones and deadlines. Here are some advices to help you there:
- Have a talk with people you work with on this project, so they can tell you what seems to be possible or not.
- Ask yourself what could put your plan at risk: where are the risks and how could you avoid them.
- Avoid deadlines/milestones on weekends or holidays. When a critical deadline is on sunday, you don't want to wonder if it's acceptable to complete work on monday.
- Deadlines are good, but durations are better. Your roadmap has to show end dates AND start dates.
- Schedule reminders as frequently as you can so you keep a serious sense of urgency.
Then, just set a due date on each card. Later, you'll be able to add Start Date with Elegantt for Trello via Advanced settings in cards.
A simple way to make sure nobody is overburdened, is to add member(s) on each card. With Elegantt, you can set a lead for each card as shown below :
Step 3 : Feel the Magic
In order to get an Gantt chart for your newly created cards, you must activate the Elegantt for Trello extension. You can see how to install Elegantt on this help article : How to install Elegantt.
It will create a Gantt chart based on your cards, calculating start and end dates according to your cards data: Elegantt will take into account the existing due dates of your cards to draw your Gantt.
In order to take advantage of all the product features, you should also activate your Pro Free Trial. All the PRO features will be available on all the boards of the team you're going to choose while registering for the trial.
Once your roadmap basis is made, you can adjust and customize it easily by a simple "click and drag" on your Elegantt timeline :
Dates could be customized from card advanced settings as well, so you can set a due date AND a start date for each task.
Thus, you might want to add milestones, so your entire team can remember of important upcoming events. You could also assign one of your team members to this particular milestone by clicking on the Lead avatar. Last but not least about milestones, you can set a reminder for as many of your team members as you wish to keep them on track.
Finally, you can add dependencies between tasks to your roadmap. This way, you’ll be able to better detect the critical path. Critical path is a sequence of tasks which must be completed on time if you don’t want to delay the entire project. In that case, a task can be started only when the previous one is completed, like a classic dependency on a Gantt chart. The only difference here is the inescapable impact on the overall project.
The effective / planned view feature has been temporarily removed while launching our new version. It will be back soon!
Then, You can filter tasks according to their labels.
Moreover, you have the ability to ignore cards or lists if they're not relevant anymore. It is a simple way to improve the responsiveness of your Elegantt chart.
In addition, we often recommend to create "Sandbox", "Backlog" and "Archive" boards on Trello if you haven’t done so yet. We manage cards that way here at Elegantt in order to keep the clearest possible "on air" boards. The point is to avoid being distracted by tasks you've done 3 months ago for example.
If you want to easily share your roadmap with teammates who don't use Elegantt for example, you can export chart in PNG, PDF, Excel or iCal format. This way, you would be able to use it in your presentations, reports or pre-project planning.
You can adjust the timespan of your exported chart by scrolling the chart horizontally or clicking the calendar icon to change the current scale before using the “Save as image” feature.
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