One of the tools we use most around Substantial is Trello. If you aren’t familiar, Trello allows you to create a board made with columns of cards. Those cards can have descriptions, due dates, labels, and checklists and they’re often set up with tasks that move from To Do to Doing to Done. The open-ended nature of the product means that we use it for everything from client projects to event planning.
We did have a persistent request amongst ourselves, however. We wanted to have a hierarchical relationship between cards. Checklists are useful for keeping track of relatively small items, but they don’t work as well when each item has enough scale to warrant its own card. You could make each larger task its own column, but then you end up with an unwieldy board over time. What we wanted to was to have a card that had other cards as dependencies. That way you could keep the same level of functionality (labels, descriptions, due dates, etc.) while still keeping things reasonable. So we built that functionality via our new Trello power-up, Hello Epics.
With Hello Epics, when creating a collection of cards, you can label one card as a “parent” or “child” of another. As child cards move from To Do to Done, that is reflected in the parent card, an analogue to checklists but with higher detail for the individual cards. A real game changer.
If you’re used to Trello, Hello Epics should be instantly usable, as its interface uses the patterns of Trello itself. We’ve streamlined the card creation process to create parent or child cards from within a card and make it easy to navigate from card to card.
Here’s a look at Hello Epics in action:
Opening a card and adding a child.
Opening a card and adding a parent.
Navigating between parent & children cards.
View overall progress based on cards.