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Creating task dependencies and organizing cards in Trello



Trello is an easy-to-use Project Management tool for the teams and when using Trello, you might need to work with task dependencies when a task is dependent on other tasks for it to complete.

Dependencies allow you to link related cards together and to specify how they are related. For example, you can specify that some card is currently blocking some other card, or that a card is a parent for another card.

Typically, the task's dependencies can be:

  • Sub-tasks: a task is broken down into smaller tasks. When all sub-tasks are completed, the task is completed.

  • Prerequisites: a task requires some other task(s) to be completed before it can start. Once all prerequisites are complete, the task can start.

  • Blockers: a task can be blocked by some other task

But Trello doesn't have a built-in task dependency management. To manage task dependencies in Trello, checklists can be used.


Task dependencies in Trello:

1. Using Checklists

To understand task dependencies, lets create a Board in Trello with different lists.

  • In Sprint Backlog, the Tasks are Test1, Test2 and so on.

  • In the To-do List, the sub tasks are Task1 Task2, so on.

  • Here Task 5 and Task 6 is a sub-task of Test 4, lets create dependencies for these cards.





a. Open the Task Card (here its Test 4) and click on checklist to create a new list





b. Name it Sub-task(s) or Task list (as shown)

c. Go the subtask (here its Task 5), click on the share button and copy the link to the card and close the card window.



d. Open the Task Card now, paste the link under the Task list and hit Add. Viola! the sub task dependency has been created.




e. Similarly, do it for the other task(s) and the sub tasks will be added to the main Task.

f. The list of the tasks will be reflected in the card details.




g. On the front of the card, it will show something like this, 0/2 Tasks




h. When the sub-task(s) has been completed and moved to the Done list, you will have to open the main Task card, (like here it is Test 4 card) and mark the check box to indicate the dependent sub task has been completed. It is shown with a strikethrough font.






Disadvantages:

· You have to manually go to every Task to see if the sub-task(s) have been completed and mark the check box, so its time consuming.


2. Using Powerup: Scaled by screenful


Scaled by screenful is a free Power-Up that allows you to link cards together by setting dependencies between them. To create dependencies, lets add the Powerup to our Trello Board




After adding the powerup, when you open the card, you will see ‘Dependencies button where you can easily create a dependency similarly like this






If a dependency is resolved/completed by moving the card in the Done list, it is shown in a strikethrough font.



On the front of the card, it will show something like this



Advantages:

Using this powerup, the set dependency is reflected in both cards. You can move between cards by clicking through. There is no need to close the card and then search for the other card as you can move between the cards by clicking the links in the dependencies list. One card can have multiple dependencies with other cards so you can easily link all the related cards together for easy discovery.


Organizing cards with Epics:


Epic is a task that is so big that it has to be split into multiple tasks. You can think of it as a container for cards. Scaled by screenful helps to organize the work by creating Epics to the tasks on the Board.


1. Click on the Powerup’ Scaled by screenful’ on the top of screen, then a window will open asking to specify the Epic card list





2. Create a ‘Epic cards’ List in Trello




3. Select the options in this window and click on Save







4. When you click on any card, there is a button ‘Add to epic’, where you can select the tasks you wish to add to the Epics






5. The front of the card shows the Epic name on the Board making it very clear the tasks belong to which particular Epic.




Point to Note: You can hide the Epic Card list, once you have assigned all the tasks to the Epics.


Conclusion:

Different types of dependencies can be created and managed using Trello and the cards can also be organized into Epics with the help of Powerup.





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