4 benefits of using Trello as an academic

publishing pipeline on paperIn March 2019, Angelique M. Davis, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Global African Studies at Seattle University; and academic editor and writing consultant, Rose Ernst, presented a TAA webinar titled “How Trello Can Transform Your Life as an Academic”. For those unfamiliar with the tool, Trello is a collaborative platform that uses boards, lists, and cards to organize projects.

During this event, Davis and Ernst incorporated a demonstration and template of a Trello board based on Erin Furtak’s publishing pipeline. As related to the publishing pipeline, they shared the following four specific benefits academics can gain by using Trello.

Benefit #1 – Trello lets you identify patterns and habits

“The publishing pipeline helps you see your own habits when it comes to different stages of the publishing process.” Based on where items pile up within the pipeline, you can identify common places for stalls, such as first drafts or revise and resubmit processes.

Benefit #2 – Trello lets you maintain a sense of momentum

“If you are visually oriented, Trello is particularly useful in maintaining a sense of writing and publishing momentum.” By moving items along the publishing pipeline in Trello, you can see your progress on projects based on the smaller tasks as they are accomplished rather than feeling frustrated by the incomplete larger project.

Benefit #3 – Trello helps you understand how long it takes to complete projects

“Trello allows you to track time.” Trello allows you to mark cards with due dates. You can use those dates to assess original expectations against actual performance on specific project tasks to better understand how long each part of the publishing process (from idea to publication) takes to complete.

Benefit #4 – Trello helps you celebrate your successes along the way

“Like maintaining momentum, the combined use of Trello and the publishing pipeline can really help you celebrate success.” At the point you move a card from one stage to another within the publishing pipeline, this can be a signal for celebrating the smaller successes rather than waiting until the project reaches publication at a later date.

Trello board publishing pipeline

If you’re interested in getting started with the publishing pipeline on Trello, check out the public board made available during the live webinar.

Bonus: Tips for getting the most out of Trello

Davis and Ernst also shared five general tips for getting the most out of Trello as an academic.

  1. Use color-coded labels for chapters/sections of a book to see progress across multiple stages of the publishing pipeline
  2. Use the checklist feature of a Trello card to itemize the steps for a larger task
  3. Attach files from various sources like Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive
  4. Use Trello on mobile devices and tablets to manage your card and boards anywhere
  5. Use the Trello Add-In for Outlook to easily attach email content to Trello boards

Have you used Trello? What additional benefits or tips do you have to share? Comment below.

The complete session recording is available in TAA’s Presentations on Demand library.


Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.