Hello Epics

Hello Epics

  • Client: Substantial
  • Platform: Web
  • Services: Strategy, Design, Development, Pricing

Power up your productivity within Trello

We created Hello Epics, a Trello Power-Up, to improve workflows and project management by simplifying card relationships natively within Trello rather than with a more cumbersome web browser plug-in. Quickly see how cards are related, identify work streams, and better track a project’s overall progress—all within Trello’s existing interface. Available now within Trello.

“Hello Epics helped us not only to organize our Trello board, but to be the most productive with it.”
‐ Jason Persin, Mercedes-Benz R&D N. America, Inc.

Hello Epics launched in July 2017 to great fanfare from Trello and its users. Many of them, like Substantial, wanted a better way to create parent/child relationships between Trello cards. These relationships are invaluable when working on large projects, where being able to add details matter – something that cards can support but would be impossible with just the checklists inside them (that may have been duplicated with cards).

Hello Epics was designed to be immediately obvious to Trello users by conforming to Trello’s interface. That familiarity removes the need for any heavy onboarding, an approach supported by Trello. Trello also lent their support in early feedback, wrote a glowing overview of Hello Epics, and marketed the power up via their online presence and email list.

Within a week of launch Hello Epics had 1300 trial users across 4200 project boards.

Adding child card in Hello Epics
Adding parent card in Hello EPpics

A core part of Trello’s strength is its open-ended nature. As a professional project management tool, it allows users to create columns of cards with descriptions, comments, due dates, and other information. That level of detail and focus means Trello can be used for many different kinds of products and projects. It’s one downfall in being a jack-of-all-trades tool–it isn’t optimized for any particular area. At Substantial, we felt overwhelmed by its broad positioning on our larger projects which require a piece of work to be broken down into sub-tasks. We found no native way in Trello for cards to “collect” other cards, and the workarounds too messy and cumbersome. That’s why Substantial built the Trello power up, Hello Epics.

Using Trello’s robust, open source API (application programming interface), our developers extended Hello Epics from the existing Trello platform. In doing so, it allows the Trello community to seamlessly integrate our power up with other Trello products and enhance existing functionality. Using the power of Hello Epics and these other power ups, Trello users have the ability to customize Trello for the way they work.

Building an effective Trello power up comes with an interesting set of constraints. For one, Trello users are familiar with the native interface so we made use of Hello Epics as easy as possible by constraining our design choices to fit within the established visual language and interaction patterns. As an addition to Trello (as opposed to a standalone product) we also wanted to keep our browser footprint minimal so we used Preact, a smaller, more focused alternative to React. On the “server” side of things we used AWS Lambda, which runs code on demand without full server overhead, keeping our running costs a non-issue even as Hello Epics scales. As the product was being readied for release, the Hello Epics team also spent time developing a robust pricing strategy, surveying potential users, interviewing other Trello power up developers, and modeling various revenue models.

Hello Epics launched in July 2017 after weeks of beta testing with internal and external users.

Navigating between children
Completing cards in Hello Epics
1300 Trials first week of launch
4200 Trello boards w/Hello Epics after 1 week