When comparing Trello vs Pivotal Tracker, the Slant community recommends Trello for most people. In the question“What are the best project management tools?” Trello is ranked 2nd while Pivotal Tracker is ranked 12th. The most important reason people chose Trello is:
There are two primary columns: the board is shown on the left and all the other controls on the right. The main means of interaction is dragging and dropping to-do cards into the various lists. The board structure is very customizable, and includes a variety of features that help along the way: color-coding, due dates, card images, checklists with a graphics bar that allows following progress easily, and card aging for cards that haven’t been touched in a long time.
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Pro Simple and easy to use interface
There are two primary columns: the board is shown on the left and all the other controls on the right. The main means of interaction is dragging and dropping to-do cards into the various lists.
The board structure is very customizable, and includes a variety of features that help along the way: color-coding, due dates, card images, checklists with a graphics bar that allows following progress easily, and card aging for cards that haven’t been touched in a long time.
Pro Great real-time team collaboration features
Trello has permissions at the board level as well as the ability to assign multiple people to each card. There are a lot of sharing options available and boards can be made visible for the public. It's also possible to subscribe to a card to be notified of its progress. The simplicity of the UI makes collaboration easy because it’s very simple to see the progress of each card and who is responsible for it. It also updates constantly to reflect real-time changes in progress.
The simplicity of the UI makes collaboration easy as it’s very simple to see the progress of each card and who is responsible for it. It also reflect changes on boards in real-time.
Pro Free for unlimited users
Trello offers a very generous free version that has no ads, no restrictions on the number of users, and very little restriction on how the program can be used. The paid features are generally cosmetic, such as the ability to change the background, add stickers or integration with other tools.
Pro Highly flexible workflow
Trello calls items used in the workflow “cards.” Cards are double-sided and can contain subtasks as well as notes and other details.
Card columns can be used to simulate a workflow by moving cards from left to right as they are completed, or as a way of indicating task priority.
The workflow is highly flexible as the columns are completely customizable to suit the task flow. For example, tasks can be put through a workflow "idea > approved > in-progress > pending review > released" or simply "ideas > released" depending on the granularity level needed.
This makes Trello a great solution to feature management as it's possible to set up boards to handle everything from agile sprints to a more generic to-do list, all with status management.
Pro Functionality can be extended via plug-ins
Voting, view, and calendar plug-ins further increase the functionality.
Pro Works well for visual thinkers
The UI is based around Kanban, so you can see all your tasks and their status clearly.
Pro Excellent for groups using agile software development
The responsiveness and layers of customization make it easy for team members of various disciplines to collaborate on the same task board.
Pro Markdown support with well-rendered images
Trello supports Markdown, meaning that HTML input is represented appropriately. Cards with attachments are also rendered well. For example, images are shown correctly on the card, bug links are detected etc.
Pro Cross-platform and cross-sync
Trello works on all modern devices through the web application and has native apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8/10 devices.
Each card can have one or even multiple task lists.
Pro Great native app for Android and iOS
Pro Good performance
Pro Attach files to cards
Keep all of your files (images, documents, etc.) organized on their relevant cards.
Pro Features to add voting on cards
Trello offers support for features to add voting on cards, often referred to as 'power-ups'.
Pro Best kanban for personal usage
Pro Smooth media integration
Works like a charm.
Pro Lots of API integrations
Pro Action history log allows you to rapidly follow changes
There is a global history system which allows to rapidly follow changes. There is also a notification system if another user updates the board while you're watching it.
Pro Great prioritization, Due date and Story point features
Can set different priorities to various tasks, set appropriate due dates and Story points - timing allotted to each task.
While not perfect kanban, Pivotal is somewhat flexible in that you can mark sections of stories. So rather than (or in addition to) a normal sprint, you can put a marker in to define all cards above that point as part of something, for example a release. Further, you can override the auto tracker and define how many points in a sprint. So there is some degree of flexibility which sometimes you don’t find in “purist” agile or scrum tools.
Pro Great software to use in conjunction with a disciplined agile/scrum development philosophy
Pivotal Tracker has a Kanban feel to it, but takes a more opinionated “Agile” approach to feature management: It encourages items in the flow to be user stories with effort points associated to them to allow Pivotal to calculate your team’s velocity.
If you agree with the workflow, Pivotal offers a ton of functionality not provided by more generic tools like Trello. You can see your team’s velocity over time, organic smaller Stories into “Epics” (huge features) etc.
Pro Stories can contain media files
Easy to create features/bugs/chores with embedded files (screenshots, docs, videos).
Con Subtasks lack features
Every task can have a list of subtasks which more closely resembles a standard to-do list.
These lack the functions that cards offer you. You cannot comment on a sub-list, give the sub-tasks due dates, or provide additional information. You are limited to only checking them off once completed.
Con Not really a to do list
Trello is much more a workflow and project management program than a typical to-do app, which makes it overwhelmingly robust for those looking to jot down their shopping list.
Con Managing large projects may be difficult
Trello works best with medium to small projects and with very high-level overviews. It is less effective for projects that require very granular management due to the fact that it becomes considerably more difficult to keep track of various cards and priorities as they are pushed off the screen.
Con No multi-board aggregation
If you have multiple boards with tasks on them there is no way to get all the tasks on one board in a way that changes on one board will update the other.
Con Can't get one view of cards across all boards
However, you can view all cards assigned to you.
Con No quick deadline assignment
You have to open a Calendar every time to set a date without any quick options like today, tomorrow etc.
Con Data is locked into Trello. Board
It can be exported in Trello’s own data format, JSON, which is not usable in other programs such as Excel.
Con You can't add more than 1 Power Up without paying for it
Con Can't create dependencies between cards
Con Slow and requires a lot of mouse work to navigate
Con Project management system only
This is cumbersome to get started.
Con Impossible to use Pomodoro timer connected to Trello on iOS
Con Light on features
Trello is focused on simplicity and as such forgoes certain common features that may or may not be important to you.
Con No Kanban-board
To get a good overview often Kanban boards are used. You can somehow imitate a board, but it is not comparable to a real Kanban-board.
Con Limited Work Flow & Process
Few story states. If your process involves some sort of QA and sign off, forget it - you get started, deliver, accept/reject, and finished. No way to customize this to your process. Sad miss for an easy fix/configuration.
Con Non-Editable Default Templates
Templates for defining stories and bugs save time. Pivotal has a default for story and bug. However you can’t edit these. So when you go to add your own, the titles can be confusing to users. Maybe title like “Our User Story” and “Our Bug”? Users will see all templates in the drop down and it’s confusing, so you end up with peope using the wrong templates which adds to process problems.
Con No Saved & Shared Views
Everything is in a column. Aside from destroying Kanban, it also gets confusing. The real downside here is that there’s no way to save a set of columns and pin for others to quickly see. Everyone on the team is usually looking at a completely different set of work. This is literally the definition of not being on the same page.
Con Not usable for multiple projects
If you want / need to have an overview of all the tasks going on over different projects and if you have these organized in different projects, there is no way to get an overview beside reporting. Just take a look at the screenshot and you see what you can expect.