Did you know we use a Trello for task management and it is completely transparent and publicly accessible?
Well, now you know!
When we first released it, we got an ask about how to use it; below is a Trello tutorial for those unfamiliar with how to use it, focused specifically on our boards and how they’re organized!
While we’re still hammering out the details on how best to organize the Trello for utility both for us as we organize things and to the public – in particular, I’ll need to tweak how it’s set up if we’re going to effectively use the built-in calendar functionality – here’s how it’s set up now.
Note: all screen caps were taken on September 17th, 2022, and do not reflect the exact current organization or the current project status of the items shown in the captures.
At a Glance: this is the “overview” lists. It includes all of our current projects, and all of our regular/general management. Those are organized on Cards – more on that next.
Task Implementation Check Lists: we were having trouble sometimes remembering everything that needed to be done for certain “big” tasks we do regularly (such as publishing a story on our website) so we’ve begun to create guide lists to help us remember every process step that needs to be done. This also helps as we grow and more tasks are delegated.
Merchandise: lists all the merchandise we’ve currently got in production/in process, and what their current status is. (it does NOT include merch produced for past campaigns/activities)
After those two, we have a whole bunch of lists that all serve the same function: they indicate what stage of editing we’ve completed for each of a number of stories we’re currently working on.
- Developmental – Writing in Progress: first draft isn’t done
- Developmental – Draft Completed: first draft is done, waiting for an editor
- Concept Editing – First Pass Completed: a concept-edit run has been returned to the author and is pending their review
- Concept Editing – Second Pass Completed: a second concept-edit run has been returned to the author and is pending their review.
- Copy – First Edits Completed: a SPAG edit run has been returned to the author and is pending their review.
- Copy – Second Pass Completed: a second SPAG edit run has been returned to the author and is pending their review.
- Copy – Final Edits Completed: a final/clean-up SPAG edit run has been returned to the author and is pending their review.
- Final Edits Approved, Contract Sent and Pending Signature: the author has approved the final edit run and has been sent their contract.
- Story Completed, Contract Signed, Author Paid, Preliminary Formatting Done: what it says on the tin
- Typesetting – First Pass: the typesetter has done the first run on formatting the story for print.
- Typesetting Completed: what it says on the tin.
Not every story needs every one of these steps, and sometimes stories need more concept or SPAG runs than this, but we thought this division reflected the process stories go through most often. All task cards feature the author’s chosen pen name and the current working title of the story, if it has one.
Completed Project Lists: the next lists feature information on our completed projects, and can function as a (difficult to navigate and poorly organized but existent!) list of what’s available in our shop. It’s divided into four categories, reflecting the four places where our projects usually “end up” when they’re completed. (A fifth end point is “in an anthology,” and then that anthology, rather than the individual title, will be on this list when it’s completed).
- Main Imprint: Available For Purchase on Our Website – stories published under the Duck Prints Press imprint that are currently listed in our webstore.
- Erotica Imprint: Available For Purchase on Our Website – stories published under the Duxxx Prints Press imprint that are currently listed in our webstore.
- Merchandise for Sale on Our Website – what it says on the tin. 😀
- Monthly Backer Reward Stories – completed stories that have been posted for our Patreon and ko-fi backers.
Long-Term Ideas, Lists, Information We May Need Someday: the last of our lists is what it says on the tin. We keep track of ideas for future anthologies, potential merch, things we’ve thought of and gone “we can’t do that now but maybe someday…” etc., and we just toss it all there so that the ideas don’t get lost.
Every List is composed of Cards. Each Card reflects one category of “thing that needs to be done.” There are a lot of ways to actually set up lists and cards (and we may change ours in the future) but currently, we’ve chosen the following approach:
Cards for all our main projects/overarching “areas” in which we’re working. These are on the At a Glance List.
Cards for all currently in-progress Merchandise, on the Merchandise list.
Cards for all stories we have in-progress at the moment, on the appropriate Lists for their current status.
Cards for some over-arching categories of “things for not now,” on the Long-Term Ideas list.
All the Cards on At a Glance have the same basic structure. If you click on the Card, you’ll be able to see sub-tasks/checklists related to the items on that list. For example, here’s the Recurring Tasks Card:
This is one of the most complex of the Cards, as it includes all the activities we engage in daily, weekly, monthly, and annually to keep the business running smoothly. Other “management” related Cards on this list include two related to our weekly management meetings and monthly all-server meetings, and the General Task Card, which lists a whole slew of background activities that we’ve been working on and/or intend to do (divided into separate checklists for each category, cause there are just so many).
Then, below the the general Cards the cards for specific projects. Here’s the one for He Bears the Cape of Stars and She Wears the Midnight Crown.
This, and the other specific project Cards, list all the tasks we currently know of/have thought of that need to be done for the given project. The checklists give a quick idea of what the task is, and indicates the current status of that task. A few also have dates attached to them, though not most cause we don’t tend to treat deadlines as that “hard” internally – we prefer to maintain flexibility considering how many people are involved in these projects and how complex all our lives are and how the world just, ya know, is right now.
As we complete tasks, we move them into the Comments section at the bottom of the Card. Because we only recently implemented this public system (previously, we worked from a private Trello that looked a lot like this but was just a bit messier and not designed to be viewed by outsiders, like, we used a lot of shorthand, that kind of thing) it doesn’t include tasks completed before we implemented this system, but we’ve been doing our best to keep on top of it since we opened the public Trello. For example, here’s the completed tasks for our upcoming anthology that we expect to open recruitment for on October 1st:
So, I think that’s the basic?
If there’s something more specific that anyone trying to use the Trello is finding confusing, I’m happy to expand this tutorial – I tend to figure that if one person has a question and actually tells me they have a question, there are at least a half-dozen other people who had the same question and decided for whatever reason not to ask. We’re committed to transparency, and the Trello is one of the biggest facets of that, so ensuring it’s navigable for newcomers is really important to us. It’s hard to create a public-facing system that maintains a certain degree of confidentiality and still serves our needs for managing the business, and also just – we’ve got a lot going on basically all the time (and more and more as we grow), so there’s a lot that has to go on there, which means by necessity it’s complicated. I do worry that if it’s really complex, it’ll serve to create obscurity instead of transparency, but…well, we’re doing our best, and we’ll keep doing our best, and we hope that when questions/issues/concerns/delays/etc. do arise, people will continue to be as patient with us as they have been! <3
Want to know more?
- You can see our up-to-date (and used daily!) Trello here.
- You can learn more about the Press in general, where we started, and where we’re going, here.
- All our completed projects are available in our webstore.
- Anyone who wants more information about “behind the scenes,” your best bet is to back us on Patreon or ko-fi – that’s where we post all the juicy details as we work every day to bring more amazing stories to y’all!