Trello is a free small project management application using a paradigm called kanban. Projects are depicted by boards containing lists. Lists contain cards that depict tasks. Cards should move from a preliminary list to the next (by dragging and dropping), thus showing the movement of any task from idea to implementation. A card can be assigned to the user responsible for it. Users and boards can be combined into teams.
The concept of kanban was popularized in the 1980s by Toyota employees who used it to simplify supply chain management. And in 2011, Fog Creek Software (now the company is called Glitch) first implemented it as a separate web service, and then the Trello mobile application.
According to some reports, Fog Creek Software spent several million dollars on development and marketing, which brought them more than 400 million dollars in profit. Next, we'll look at how much you can create an application like Trello (and even better) today to get your share of this super-profit pie.
Time and cost of application development
But before proceeding directly to estimating the cost of developing an analogue of Trello, it is necessary to clarify that the cost of developing any software is based on the time that programmers, designers, project managers and testers spent on its implementation. And depending on what country these specialists live in, their salary may differ several times.
For example, in North America, the average hourly rate is at $ 70 per hour for mid-level IT professionals and at $ 120 per hour for pros. Whereas in Africa you can easily find a person who does the same thing as an American pro, but for $ 10 / hour. Of course, the quality of the resulting software product in the first case is likely to be much higher, but you will receive the product in any case – even for $ 100 / hour, even for $ 10 / hour.
Therefore, in the text below, we will first of all talk about the time that needs to be spent on implementing a particular function of a Trello-like application — app development. And only after that we denote the cost (in North America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa). In addition, a separate item will indicate how much web development will cost (HTML / CSS-coding, interface and backend programming). This is important if you will create an application from scratch, and not on the basis of an existing web service.
Key elements of the Trello app
The main thing for which users love Trello is design. It is simple, convenient, pleasant in appearance and copes well with its main task - to facilitate the management of work processes in the style of Kanban. And since the latter is a key feature of Trello, it is precisely this that should be the main focus when estimating the cost of developing a similar application. We are talking about these features: board, lists, card and team.
Implementation boards - from 3280 dollars
This is a list of the highest order, within which there are other lists. Each board represents a separate project, product or goal that is under development and needs to be managed through the kanban concept. With their help, you can manage any projects of easy and medium complexity - from personal work schedules to publishing a large business magazine, for example, The New York Times (this is one of the users of Trello).
Each board can be associated with specific users who will have access to it and, according to the assigned roles, invite other participants, create new lists and / or cards, control the flow of tasks between lists or simply view its content. You can add and remove users in the settings, access to which is located in the upper right part of the screen. You can also add and delete a background, change its color, enable commenting, change the rights of other users.
For more convenient work with cards, Trello has a filter function by name, creation date, performance date, keywords and tags. The search function is also present. You can find something on the entire content or by restricting the selection with the help of prescribed operators, for example, @name, where “name” is the name of the user, limits the search by participants, you can also enter @me.
The implementation of all the functions of the Trello boards in the new application will require from 80 to 96 hours of work of the relevant specialists. If the application development comes from scratch, then in addition to this, you will need to spend from 320 to 342 hours to encode HTML / CSS, the development of the external and internal interfaces.
Trello board development cost
Implementation of lists - from 1640 dollars
Since the Trello app represents kanban-style workflows, you can create an unlimited number of lists within each board. This is an easy way to divide a board into separate categories. They are displayed at the top of the screen horizontally and usually represent a separate stage of the workflow. For example, the process of writing this article can be divided into the following stages: task, execution, written, ready for deployment, posted, archive. Or as follows:
Lists can be renamed, interchanged, added, deleted, etc. All this can be done by clicking on a specific item in the list or through settings, access to which can be obtained through the "..." icon (three dots) in the upper right corner of the list.
Developing UI and UX design lists like Trello will take from 40 to 50 hours. Web development (HTML / CSS coding, interface and backend programming) for this functionality will take from 96 to 104 hours.
Realization of cards - from 3280 dollars
As we wrote at the beginning of the article, the boards in Trello are divided into lists, and these lists can be filled with cards. Cards represent a task or work, the execution of which can be divided into separate stages (they are lists). For authors of texts (copywriters, bloggers, journalists, etc.) this will be a new article or post on social networks.
As an example, you can take the process of writing this article. To do this, you need to create a card and give the name of the new article: “How much does it cost to build an application like Trello”. Then inside the card you need to describe the task and attach files to it (if necessary). These files can be editorial policy, terms of reference, tutorial, infographics, reference books, etc.
You can then add one or more colored labels to help classify this card and indicate its priority and direction. If the task consists of several stages, you can create a checklist for it: “Data Search”, “Article Plan”, “Draft”, “Done”, “Posted”, “Archive”. This will help the manager to be aware of the current state of the task. When the card is ready, you can attach the performer to it and put it into production.
Under the description of the task and the list of attachments there is a place for comments. With it, people involved can ask questions, answer them, clarify points of interest, add new tasks and reference materials, or simply give an assessment to what has already been done, including using emoticons. All this is available to all participants in the process.
In addition, a notification system is also built into the Trello cards. If someone moves a card, adds something to it or makes any other changes to the card where you are marked, then you and all other users attached to it will receive a notification in the form of an email, a pop-up notification in the browser and notifications on the phone.
In the interface of the Trello application, notifications are presented in the form of a context menu that opens by pressing a button in the shape of a bell in the upper right corner of the screen. When you have unread notifications, the button is red, if there is nothing new, it is transparent (white outline on a blue background).
To remove an unnecessary card, you need to go to its settings and select the function “Record card to archive”. The card will remain in the archive indefinitely (unless you prove to the support service of Trello that the card must be removed due to a violation of the law or the rights of the user). This approach saves from accidental deletion and helps to keep a history of past activities. If you wish, any card in the archive can be made active at any time.
Other features of Trello cards:
- Hotkeys. For example, you can press Q so that the system hides all the cards in which you are not marked or ? (question mark) to see all hotkeys.
- Instant import of items. You can drag the list to the name of the card, click Add at the bottom and then Create an N-th number of new cards.
- Card status marks. Over each card you can put a large icon that marks the status of the process: an asterisk, a check mark, a thumb up, etc.
Team implementation - $ 1640
Teams can be created for any task in your life: work, family, friendship or travel. For example, in the case of a blogging team, it usually consists of an editor, authors, translator, content manager, and a few other people. When it comes to business processes, the list may include the CEO, lawyer, marketer, and company personnel.
Team members can view all the boards of your company, edit them and create new ones. The access levels of team members and their rights are specified in the settings. The main in team is administrator. To assign someone as an administrator, you need to click on the nickname in front of the corresponding icon.
Even in the settings, you can customize the visibility of your boards: for all, the team and individual participants. Nearby is the ability to connect the team in Trello to the team in Slack, as well as the possibility of improving it to the Business Class (a local equivalent of a paid subscription with additional features).
Trello Monetization Business Models:
- Gold - $ 5 per month. Same as the basic version of the service, + more than 800 smiles and three significant improvements: integration with external applications, increasing the tab limit to 250 MB and search history.
- Business Class - $ 12.50 per month per team member. Designed for teams of up to 100 people. Adds the ability to customize the visibility of boards, the rights of team members and several other significant features, including the priority status of your support calls.
- Enterprise - from $ 20.83 per month per team member (there are discounts for large groups, up to $ 6 per person for a team of 5,000 participants). Same as Business Class, + two-factor authentication (2FA), dedicated account manager, priority telephone support during business hours and several other features.
The cost of developing basic elementsIn addition to the key functions, for the operation of a Trello-like application you will need to implement several other basic elements. Their development also takes time (money), and therefore this process should be included in the cost plan of the product being developed. This is the basic application functionality:
- Login. Standard login functionality via email or phone (authentication via a unique URL or OTP) + registration via social networks will require 20 hours of work by web developers. In addition, you will need to spend another 10−50 hours on AB testing to find the optimal input option (script, design, selected words, etc.)
- Horizontal and portrait view. Some things are easier to study in a horizontal way, others in a vertical way, especially when it comes to videos, images and graphics. It will take from 20 hours to implement.
- Navigation. To design a smooth navigation bar, a hamburger, scrolling and buttons menu it can easily take 10 hours or more. This element also requires careful AB-testing, which can take up to 50 hours.
- Push notifications. Required for applications like Trello. The time of their development depends on the complexity of the notifications: pop-up notification on the phone screen, email, SMS, message on the PC screen, integration with instant messengers (Slack, Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram). Approximately 20 to 200 hours.
- Synchronization with the website. If you create an application based on a web service, then you need to synchronize their content (boards, lists, data, multimedia, teams, etc.), which can take up to 20 hours.
- Multilingual support. Needed to reach a wider audience. You need to spend for 6 global languages about 20 hours.
- Offline mode. Trello can store application data on a local device, so users can view boards, lists, cards, and inserted files without connecting to the network. 50 hours required.
- Sensors (GPS, accelerometer, compass, light, fingerprint, etc.). To teach the application to use them, it will take about 10 hours.
- Advertising within the application. Depending on the complexity, it may take from 20 to 50 hours of work for web programmers.
Technology stackNow that we have reviewed the functionality of the Trello key modules and estimated the estimated development time and cost, we can say a few words about the technological stack. This will help you understand which developers and software you need to create your own application.
- Automation systems: RSpec, Capybara, PhantomJS
- Cloud hosting: Amazon Web Services (AWS).
- Web application server: Puma.
- Web server: Nginx.
- Web application framework: Ruby on Rails.
- Key value storage: Redis
- SQL data storage: PostgreSQL