The most common question we get from new Rindle users is...
"What's the best way to set up my workflow in Rindle?"
The simple answer is "it depends", because every team's workflow is unique. That being said, there are certainly some best practices that we can share with you to get you started.
The Baseline Workflow
When considering where to start on your Rindle board, this baseline workflow will give you a solid foundation, if not the workflow you end up sticking with. Here are the lists you will use:
Backlog > In Progress > Blocked > Done
The power of 4! Simple, compact, and concise. 💥
This list will store all of the work that needs to get done. The things your team needs to get done. Typically, this is where tasks start in the workflow. More specifically, they usually start at the bottom of the list as the Backlog is usually prioritized top to bottom.
By prioritizing the work from top to bottom, it's really easy for the entire team to see what's up next to be worked on.
This list will house tasks that are currently being worked on. Tasks should only be moved from the Backlog to In Progress when it's actually being worked on, not planned to be worked on. If it's not currently being worked on it should remain in the Backlog.
This list will help your team separate tasks that have outside dependencies holding up progress. By moving it out of In Progress to Blocked, it visually sets the task apart so the entire team knows which tasks are Blocked.
If your team performs daily stand-ups or any kind of status meeting, this is a perfect time to discuss items that are blocked and get updates on when those blockers will be removed. The Blocked list allows you to easily reference these issues without having to sift through various lists and tasks.
When the task is no longer blocked, it should move back into In Progress to be completed.
This list is exactly as described. Tasks that are completed live here.
So your workflow in your Rindle board will look like this:
How work flows
The lists as described above will flow left to right. Backlog on the far left and Done on the far right. In the same manner, tasks will flow through lists from left to right.
All new tasks get added to the bottom of the Backlog
Tasks get pulled from the Backlog into In Progress and assigned to a team member
If there is something holding up a task, it gets moved to Blocked
When issues with Blocked tasks are resolved, the task moves back to In Progress
When the task is complete, it moves to Done
By flowing tasks through lists, everyone on the board will have instant visual feedback as to how many tasks still need to be worked on, which tasks are in progress, who's working on them, which tasks are blocked and need attention, and which tasks have been completed.
This also makes status meetings and stand-ups run smoothly. Everyone is collaborating in one place, seeing the same workflow, which makes discussing tasks and issues much more clear and concrete during meetings.
Other lists to consider
Outside of the baseline workflow suggested above, here are some other lists that you should consider based on your needs (don't add it unless you need it).
If you have a step in your workflow that requires review or approval by another person before the task can be considered complete, a Review list could be just what you need.
Examples of this could be a manager's approval, proofing for copy, or quality control for an app feature. You can of course tweak the name if needed to Approval, Proof, or QA if that makes more sense. This list would typically come after In Progress and/or Blocked, like this:
Backlog > In Progress > Blocked > Review > Done
Sometimes you need to track things in a project that aren't necessarily tasks, but references to information or documentation. Adding a Resources list to the right-most list position will give you a special place to track these resources, separate from tasks, that the entire team can see and use.
Backlog > In Progress > Blocked > Done > Resources
Typically items at the top of the Backlog are next up to be worked on, but sometimes you want to clearly see the next set of priorities. Creating an Up Next list to the right of the Backlog will give you the perfect staging area to make what tasks to work on next crystal-clear to your team.
Doing this also serves as a perfect holding area to delegate tasks to your team. Some teams will pull tasks from the Backlog individually and assign to themselves, where other teams utilize a PM to delegate tasks out. If you work like the latter, the Up Next list will allow the PM to assign tasks to the team without cluttering up the Backlog.
Backlog > Up Next > In Progress > Blocked > Done
How Many Lists Should I Use?
A great baseline to shoot for is no more than 6 or 7 lists. If you use every single list discussed above, you would be at 7. When you get beyond this number, the workflow starts to feel more complex to use than it should. Most screens will have to be scrolled to see certain lists, and tasks are generally harder to see and track.
That said, your workflow should consist of as many lists as you need. More complex workflows may justify more than 6 or 7 lists and simple workflows may justify fewer. So use what you need... no more, no less. 😃
Here's what all 7 looks like:
Backlog > Up Next > In Progress > Blocked > Review > Done > Resources
A tag is a way of categorizing a Rindle task by type, represented by a color and term. If you need to segment your tasks further beyond lists, tags is the way to do it.
Tags are flexible and can ultimately be used in many ways, so here is some inspiration for how tags can be used to categorize your tasks.
Type of Work
Widgets R Us
Lilly Pad Design
Cog Works Central
Automating your workflow
Once you have your boards set-up and your workflow is humming along, it's worth taking a look to see if there are steps or actions that can be automated.
Automation is a shiny, trendy, and even intimidating word at times. We make it super easy to create automations and apply them to your workflow allowing you to:
Save you and your team tons of time
Reduce wasted time because someone forgot to...
Improve follow-through at various steps in your workflow
Improve consistency with repeatable, predictable results
When to Automate
Sometimes you want a notification sent to a team member or even to Slack based on a certain event that happens in Rindle, like when a task is marked complete.
Reviews & Approvals
Depending on your workflow, you may have steps that require a team member or outside resource approval. Examples of these include:
A QA engineer needs to know when to test a certain feature that's been developed.
You have a step in your workflow that requires a copy editor to review a piece, like a blog post.
Creative Director Review
A creative director or art director needs to have their eyes on the design before it goes out to the client.
Before tasks are considered complete, a manager must review and approve the task.
How often do you find yourself going into your PM tool and doing the same thing, over and over again? Countless clicks that seem to repeat an ever-familiar pattern. Rindle automations help save those valuable clicks, and ultimately a ton of your time.
Here are some examples:
When you move a task to the Done list, mark the task complete.
When you move a task to the QA list, assign Chuck (the QA engineer) and add the In QA tag.
When you forward an email into the Customer Feedback board, add the Customer Feedback tag, notify Jane that feedback has been submitted, and post a message to the Customer Success channel in Slack.
Learn how to create Automations