Apr 15

How do I create a timeline in Trello? 3 approaches

Trello timelineTrello teaches us their universal ‘To do – in Progress – Done’ standard. What they skip is a Timeline, and for a reason: modern project management sort of rejects time-based planning. In real life, however, 90 percent of managers still plan things in time. Let’s look at three ways of creating a timeline in your Trello.

(1) Simple solution: a timeline-like board

You don’t need to install a Power-Up to have a timeline in Trello. There is a super-simple solution instead. Just create “Week 1”, “Week 2”, “Week 3” lists on your board. With time passing by, add new “Week …” lists and archive the old ones. You could obviously call them ‘May’, ‘June’, ‘July’. Or ‘Quarter 1’, ‘Quarter 2’ and ‘Quarter 3’. While simplicity is a strength of this approach, it has numerous drawbacks, too. For instance, how are you going to change your time perspective from, say, a month to a year? Or, how would you schedule lengthy tasks that should span a couple of lists on your board? Review the next two approaches to realize how flawed such a timeline-like board actually is…

There is one obvious application, though, namely a small agile team. In such a setup a single column on a Trello board would typically represent a two-week period (a.k.a. ‘iteration’ or ‘cadence’). Look at this example:

Timeline board in Trello

The simplest way to create a timeline in Trello is to name columns appropriately.

 

(2) Calendars are sort of a timeline

with the prominent example of Planyway Calendar and Timeline. It’s an excellent scheduling tool, with the hourly granularity. Change your time perspective, however, to ‘Month’ (the button at the bottom-right corner) to discover that the Power-Up stops resembling the timeline. It has one valuable feature, though, the ‘Team Timeline’—evident at 00:27 on the below video:

 

(3) The real timeline: bar charts

Trello timeline bar chart

A timeline on top of your Trello board(s) – BigPicture Power-Up.

The timeline should basically look like a horizontal line with an arrowhead. At least this is what they thought us at school, right? To locate a fully functional timeline Power-Up for Trello, you need to look up ‘Gantt chart’. And sure, some timeline Power-Ups are better than others.

Now, let’s name the basic features a timeline Power-Up for Trello should have:

  • the variable date range is number one. You want to be able to switch between week – month – quarter – half a year – year and bird’s-eye view,
  • dependency links between tasks are number two. Imagine you have two tasks: (1) ‘Shoot a movie’ and (2) ‘Edit the footage’. It would be ridiculous if the timeline allowed for the (2) to happen before the (1) right? Now, can you notice the dashed arrows on the animation to the right? These arrows represent the task dependencies, which you can set, and they will keep an eye on the ‘right’ sequence of tasks,
  • markers – for highlighting specific dates/deadlines on the timeline.

These are all available in our Trello BigPicture timeline Power-Up:

 

Trello BigPicture logo

ADD TO YOUR TRELLO FREE

Add Timeline & Gantt chart on top of your Trello boards.

 

The good news

Aug 2020
Thought of as classic, or proven, modern Gantt charts cater to agile teams, too. We share two ways of using agile sprints, including Jira Sprints, in BigGantt. More.

Jul 2020
BigPicture trial users have long asked for this: Pros and Cons of BigPicture. As with most topics, we take a long term approach here. Pros and cons of our flagship product.

Jul 2020
A simplistic way to run program and portfolio management with Jira BigPicture. Just create ‘Program’, ‘Portfolio’, and ‘Project’ custom issue types in Jira. Then use BigPicture’s structure builders for the work breakdown structure. Read Guest post by Tom Pabich of Mark My Words.

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About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.