Learning Bird is an ed tech company with an important mission: to make educational content culturally relevant for Indigenous communities. They work closely with teachers, band offices, community centers, and Elders to ensure that Indigenous children see their reality reflected in their educational materials. This might be something as simple as using beading patterns to teach symmetry or trap lines to explain geometry. But Learning Bird also runs training programs for schools, films and produces educational videos, and so much more.
The business uses Trello to stay organized and productive. But Louis Beauregard, Director of Operations and Product, found he was having trouble scaling Trello alongside the company. That is, until he discovered Unito.
Here’s how Learning Bird managed to expand the value of Trello and transform how they worked with Unito.
After joining Learning Bird in 2015, Beauregard saw an opportunity to increase agility in operations. As a certified scrum product owner, he thought he could implement some of the principles he had learned throughout his career in development to the entire company. This would help organize and accelerate the delivery of their educational work.
For that, Beauregard turned to Trello. Several internal teams adopted the platform, and Kanban became the project management methodology of choice.
But after a few years, Beauregard reexamined their usage of Trello and realized it wasn’t bringing all of the value he had initially hoped. People had set up very specialized use cases within the tool. Instead of generalized status columns, they would have expansive lists of very specific status columns that worked for them, but were hard for anyone else to interpret — making collaboration quite a challenge. Plus, cards would be used to represent large compound tasks instead of small incremental tasks, so you couldn’t tell at a glance how much work had been done and how much still remained.
Essentially, Trello usage became weighed down by personalization as the team scaled, losing the agility that Beauregard wanted to bring to operations.
“Trello was kind of working but it wasn’t at all scalable. I just knew if we doubled or tripled our business that it would explode,” Beauregard said.
As a manager, Beauregard was also struggling to dispatch tasks to everybody’s individual boards and actually track their work. Beauregard felt like he was entering discussions with the team without having a full picture of their progress.
So he went looking for a solution that allowed people to work their way without sacrificing collaboration and high-level alignment.
Beauregard started by stepping back and analyzing the existing workflows already in place. He identified the need to separate personal to-do lists from team boards, and boards used to manage client accounts. This, in turn, allowed him to standardize and simplify the columns within people’s personal work boards — what they call role boards — so they could easily see the work they (and their colleagues) needed to accomplish in a given week.
Once Trello was cleaned up, Beauregard turned to Unito to help with the distribution of work.
Learning Bird built out a series of Unito flows connecting client boards to role boards. These two-way connections allow for cards to exist in both boards simultaneously. Essentially, you can send a card from one board to another and any changes made to the card in either location are automatically updated in the other.
With this workflow, team members jump into client boards every Friday and look for important or pressing tasks for the following week. Using story points — a resource allocation technique Beauregard brought from his agile experience — they then take ownership over as many cards as they can handle, which Unito then automatically syncs to their role board. The team also pulls tasks from an internal process improvement board to fill out their weekly schedule. And of course, managers like Beauregard delegate tasks to individuals as well.
Come Monday, everyone in the company has a Trello to-do list all ready to go.
As a manager, Beauregard also uses these role boards as a coaching tool. He sits down with each member of his team regularly and dives into their cards. They go over what they’re working on, their task backlogs, and then drill down into any issues people might be encountering.
Better communication. Less confusion. Greater productivity.
These are just a few of the benefits Beauregard has seen from the team’s new Trello workflow. Everyone has an easier time prioritizing their work and the simpler Kanban system can now scale alongside the business.
“Unito multiplies by 100 the value I can get out of Trello. Seriously. It really does,” Beauregard says. “Very little happens now at Learning Bird that’s not on a card.”
And the impact goes beyond organizing work. The management team is feeling the benefits of this aligned workflow.
“From a management point of view, it’s incredible. I met with the CEO and said today I’m going to show you everything that’s going on in your company. And you can do that any day, any time you want,” Beauregard explains. “It improves how I can manage each person individually in the company and how I can manage each of those different groups overall. I’m able to manage the entire team right now with a fraction of the effort it used to take.”
Ultimately, Beauregard says that Learning Bird used Unito as a catalyst to rethink their processes as a team. “There was an important contribution from all team members to redefine how they want to work,” he explains. “They did a really great job and people rallied around the idea. And we reaped the benefits within weeks.”
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