The MDN community uses a Trello board to organize and keep track of the things that need to be done to improve, update, and add to our content. This guide will help you learn what Trello is and how we use it.
The Trello-based process has been replaced with a new process, using a platform called Taiga. Please see MDN's agile process to learn more.
Having a tool like this to maintain a public task list lets our entire community participate in planning, and helps everyone understand what we're working on. That way, both MDN staff writers and our amazing community of volunteer contributors can know what's going on at a glance. Our board is public, meaning that everyone can see it. If you already have an account on Trello, you can star (favorite/bookmark) the board so that you can get to it quickly whenever you connect to Trello.
Introduction to Trello
The Trello software is a Web application (created by Trello, Inc.) which you can access using your Web browser or an app on your mobile device (Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, and Windows 8 are among the supported platforms). This lets you check or update the Trello board at your convenience. For more information, you can read their "about" page.
The Trello board
A board is composed of lists, and each list is composed of cards. Every card represents an "action item", which is a task that needs to be accomplished. You can add comments, due dates, detailed lists of sub-tasks, etc. on every card. But most importantly, you can drag and drop a card from a list to another, which means the task has changed status; for instance, you might drag a card from the "Doing" column to the "Review needed" column, which indicates that you've finished the task and would like for someone to review your work.
A list is a set of cards; while you can assign whatever meaning you wish to each column, the MDN team uses each column to represent the status of the task. The farther to the right the column is, the closer to complete the task is. This is similar to the GTD method or the Kanban methodology.
We have the following primary lists (other lists may crop up temporarily from time to time):
- On Hold
- The tasks here have been accepted as something that need to be done, but are not currently being actively worked on. When work begins on a task, it should advance to the next column.
- The tasks in this column are actively being worked on.
- Review Needed
- The tasks in this list have been completed but the writer(s) would like someone to review the work to ensure that it's accurate and/or stylistically/grammatically.
- No Update in the last 14 days
- Bugs in this list have been languishing with no new information for more than two weeks. These bugs are in danger of being moved back into the On Hold list unless their status is updated soon.
- Completed in...
- We create lists of bugs created in specific months to help us track our rate of progress and to be able to provide achievement lists
Lists are simply are a collection of cards with a title, used to organize cards.
A card has much more content in it. As mentioned earlier, a card corresponds to a specific task or project. The card is described by its title which is displayed on the "front" of the card when you're looking at the board. Clicking on a card "flips" the card, showing you a panel with additional details. The detail view looks something like this:
A card's detail view has these sections:
- 1. Members
- The members of the board that are assigned to this task/card. These are the Trello users that are working on the task in some way. Here, we can see that four people are involved with this task.
- 2. Labels
- You can think of labels as themes or categories that can apply to more than one list. Here, we can see that this card is related to "Open Web Docs" (a category), "Q1 Delivery" (a planning tag), "Learning Area" (a tag indicating a section of MDN), etc. These labels are used for organizational purposes, but are also helpful for filtering; see Filters below.
- 3. Due date
- You can add a due date for a card to help with planning. This date can also be used for sorting and filtering. Trello can also be configured to display a calendar showing items that are due in a given time period, but this feature is not currently enabled on the MDN Content Team Status board.
- 4. Content
- In this example, the card has a checklist to detail the precise actions that are needed to complete the task. You might also find comments and attachments inside a card. So if someone wants to put a note for this card, one can add a comment and so on. Usually, checklists are used to break down a task in smaller units which do not need to be displayed for everyone on the board.
If you look back at the first screenshot, you can see that there are a lot of cards. While working on some project, you might want to focus on specific ones (such as those associated with a particular technology or project). To make the board clearer and to find the right cards more efficiently, you can use filters.
For example, if you only want to see the cards representing tasks or projects that are first quarter goals, you can turn on the corresponding filter on the label "Q1 Deliverables" and get this as a result:
Experiment with filters! You can filter on members (to find work being done by specific people), due dates, and more.
How we use Trello
Every member of the writing staff is a member of this board. In addition, volunteers can easily get access too. See Getting involved to learn how.
Once you have access, you can either create cards representing proposed or ongoing projects, and you can add yourself to a card to indicate that you intend to work on that task. You can then update cards with new details such as new comments, attachments, or changes to to-do lists on the cards.
We encourage you to join us and contribute to these tasks! Pick a task that is described on one of the cards and start working on it. Once you are working on it, you'll need to be able to edit the corresponding card. For this you'll need to have a Trello account, which is free. Then you will need an administrator of the board to add you to the board. To contact an administrator, you can:
- Email the MDN administration team
- Come to a community meeting on IRC; we discuss many of these tasks, and you'll be able to find an administrator there. You can also introduce yourself and let us know a little about you! We're friendly. Honest!
- Or just drop into the #mdn channel on IRC any time and politely ask if an admin is around. Typically there will be at least one around between around 5 AM and 5 PM Pacific time.