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Shortcut vs. Trello: Choose the best software project management tool

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Erika Carter

Project management tools — can’t live without them. Can’t live with them, either, many fed-up software engineers may be thinking. They may feel like project management tools are too much management and not enough project. Too many lists, and not enough larger goals. Too many boards, not enough cross-team collaboration. Too many cards, not enough birds-eye-views. Too many… you get the idea.

They could have been in a dysfunctional relationship with Jira, or maybe they need something more powerful and nuanced than Trello. We’ll get to Trello in a minute. But first, let’s remember why project management tools exist in the first place. They are essential for getting work done on time and within budget. They should streamline workflows, track progress across teams, and act as a single source of truth for your entire organization. Let’s bring in some statistics now because, why not? People like numbers.

  • Organizations that have effective project management tools and strategies are more likely to spend 28 times less money
  • Teams that use project management software save 498 hours per employee yearly 
  • 61% of organizations that use project management tools complete projects on time and within budget 

In the long run, project management tools can help companies protect their bottom line by cutting costs (or staying within budget) and increasing revenue through timely launches.

One thing many of them have in common is kanban methodology.

A Lightning-Fast Look at Kanban Methodology

You hear us talk about kanban a lot. That’s because we put the “can” in kanban (or is that we put the “khan” in canban? Or do we… you know what, nevermind). It's also because kanban boards have grown in popularity with the rise of agile software development, distributed teams, and remote working. The system focuses on tasks and resources instead of just deadlines. Some of the most widely-used project management tools today like Shortcut, Trello, and Jira all use the kanban methodology to help software teams stay on track. People can organize tasks, resources, and other information. A kanban board can help software teams organizations with the following:

  • Project planning
  • Resource management
  • Assigning tasks
  • Cross-team and in-team collaboration
  • Managing tasks
  • Tracking project timelines
  • Tracking project status
  • Updating in real time

Shortcut vs. Trello

Well, let’s not beat around the bush. We’re here to talk about why Shortcut is a great alternative to Trello.

Trello, brought to you by the makers of Jira, is a general planning tool. It has a simple, clean interface that looks like to-do lists and allows users to jump between cards and boards across different teams; however, it does not support hierarchies that show relationships between tasks and projects. It’s also not purpose-built for software development with dedicated features, workflows, and reporting.

Here is a list of all the features Shortcut HAS that Trello doesn’t:

  • Hierarchical Tasks, Stories, Projects, Epics
  • Related Projects and Workflows
  • Groups for Enhanced Collaboration
  • Story/Card Types
  • Feature Parity Across Plans
  • Dedicated Customer Success
  • Quick Filters and Status Views
  • Configurable Spaces for Collaboration
  • Pointing and Estimating
  • Iterations / Sprints
  • Automation via Rules & Triggers
  • Range of Agile Visualization

Structure to organize your work, people, and process

Whereas Shortcut’s hierarchical structure uses Stories, Projects, Milestones, Epics, and Iterations for assigning tasks and tracking, Trello only has boards which are customizable with different types of cards and lists and features - many which require adding Power-Ups to add additional structure and functionality.

Milestone>Epic>Story

Visibility that powers collaboration

With no concept of team-specific boards, Trello users do not have the visibility required to drive true collaboration. The Trello Board is the only view provided. Users cannot easily navigate to view workflow states, status updates, or optimize smart filter views. Trello boards simply are not transparent and they do not scale.

Visibility across different Workflow States

Built to support critical software development processes

Much like Shortcut, Trello is easy to use. However, it lacks some of the most important features a software development team needs. This includes being able to run Iterations, classify between feature, bug, and chore, and clearly assign tasks to specific team members or to assign tasks across teams. Assigning tasks in Trello is mainly just leaving comments on threads and tagging other users when done. This is confusing in the long run, since, in software development, you often need back-and- forth before a task is completed or an issue is resolved.

Use Shortcut Iterations for sprint planning

Insights to help power data driven decision making

Because of our structure and visibility, Shortcut drives performance gains and provides insights that are impossible with Trello. Trello doesn’t provide agile reporting, tracking, and visualizations of how teams are performing over time, such as burndown, velocity, Epic progress, and so forth.

See completed Stories broken down by Story type with the Shortcut Velocity Chart

Evolve beyond a to-do-list

Trello’s general to-do-list-style of project management works well for individuals and tiny teams in terms of keeping track of tasks and deadlines, but on a larger scale, Shortcut help scaling teams and organizations do the same thing but with more things to track, resources to manage, and stakeholders to update. The truth is, teams outgrow Trello pretty quickly. If you’re a small agile software development organization who is growing fast, you’ll soon find that Shortcut’s unique mix of simplicity and functionality is more suitable for the long run.

PS: If you’re a Trello user considering alternatives, Shortcut offers an easy import from Trello.

Shortcut

Yes, yes, of course we’re biased. On the other hand, who knows Shortcut better than the people who work at Shortcut and use Shortcut every day? Shortcut was built to be both powerful and dynamic. At Shortcut, we believe in flexibility without having to compromise important features. Each Team and user can customize their own workflow. REST API and webhooks allow everyone to work the way they want. Shortcut allows you to gain complete visibility into your software development efforts. You can pinpoint status updates on a single project, or easily filter across multiple teams to see the big picture.

Integrate with with key tools so you can do more 

Shortcut also has many powerful integrations. Shortcut offers integrations with GitHub, Slack, Google Workspace, Bitbucket, Productboard, and other tools that you probably use every single day. Together, these integrations help Shortcut evolve and improve your software development workflow.

Everyone at Shortcut loves using Shortcut because it makes collaboration and task management easier across teams. It’s transparent and literally anyone in the organization can use it. It’s more powerful than Trello, and faster and more enjoyable than Jira.

So, what have we learned here? Shortcut provides more structure, options, and visibility for your growing software team. But ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the best software project management tool that’s right for you and your team. We can only tell you so much - sometimes, you just have to see for yourself to decide. And guess what? YOU CAN! Sign up for a free 14-day trial and start using Shortcut right now.