The simplest alternative to Trello
I’ve invented a groundbreaking method of project management for tiny-to-small projects which will let you code at the speed of thought, without any over complicated tools getting in the way. What’s better: it’s totally free.1
It’s just index cards.
Trello is very exciting. Especially if you like processes. And for your own personal project, you can go as wild as you like. It can auto-archive your “done” cards for you after a few days, let you add comments and labels and colours and stickers and background images, it’s got checklists, its got buttons that you can hook up to arbitrary action combinations, it’s got automated rules, it’s got friggin email reports. Wonderful! Hours of fun.
But I keep finding myself getting wrapped up in those process changes and wasting a huge amount of time. I’ll come across a bug and think “oh, lemme stop everything and record that in Trello before I forget”.2
My coding project time is often limited to half-and-hour a day, and even logging into Trello takes a few moments of that.
Instead, now I do this:
(This look eerly like a real index card, right? Thank you. It almost certainly will not work nicely on a small screen.)
- Top left is for the project name, since these cards typically live together, but have been known to stray.
- Top right and the index number (useful for referencing on other cards) and the type of card. This is particularly cool feature to ensure progress continues in a decent direction and allows changing mindset when tired. “Features”, “Bugs”, “UI/UX”, “Testing”, “Quality” and “Dev ops” are the labels I usually have. Tick a checkbox, then put that card to the back of the stack. You’ve done a Feature, your next task is a Bug. Now you get to work on something fresh and unrelated and at the same time, you’ve prioritised technical debt!
- I love me a good handdrawn checkbox.
Edits are very quick. Adding something new to the list is immediate and thoughtless. You can close a browser tab.
There have been some synching issues: I once forgot my index cards at the Factory. That resolved itself pretty well though: I just started a new batch of cards and merged them later.
If you have a stationary supplies cupboard in your office and an officer manager that doesn’t mind things going missing. ↩
I got myself excited about a creative writing wiki, like SCP, that I could just do world building in, and see if any stories come out of it. “Nice!” I thought to myself. “But maybe we could write one of the pages in a Word doc first? Just to save the $5 on Digital Oceans droplets.” “Nevermind then,” I immediately thought. I think I was more excited about setting up a Wiki than actually doing anything with it. ↩
I previously gave a good review for the Micro, which I retract. ↩