Jory MacKay
Jory is a writer, content strategist and award-winning editor of the Unsplash Book. He contributes to Inc., Fast Company, Quartz, and more.
December 03, 2020 · 14 min read

Life After Trello: The 9 best Trello alternatives for your growing team

Life After Trello

There’s no denying that Trello is one of the best project management tools ever created. Until it’s not. While it might have been the perfect option for you early on, every growing team hits a moment where they need to start looking for a Trello alternative.

In fact, you’re probably here because you’re feeling that way now. Let’s see if any of these sound familiar:

One of the pieces of feedback we’ve heard from so many Planio users is that their team outgrew Trello. But that the pain of switching tools held them back from finding a better solution.

Luckily, there are hundreds of Trello alternatives you can choose from that give you the flexibility and power to actually manage projects.

At Planio, we’ve spent over a decade building project management tools that are not only intuitive and easy to use like Trello but also powerful enough to grow and scale with your team.

Of course, we know that Planio might not be the best Trello alternative for every team. So if you’re looking for more options, you can jump to our big list of the best Trello alternatives for 2021 here.

Why you need a Trello alternative: The 5 key features missing from Trello

As we’ve said time and time again, the best project management tool is the one that works best for your team.

Why you need a Trello alternative

There’s no point in switching to a tool that’s loaded with enough features to launch a rocket ship if it’s too confusing and bloated to manage your projects on a day-to-day basis. Instead, it’s all about finding that sweet spot of power, flexibility, and usability.

While Trello can be flexible and definitely has a great user interface, it most likely failed because it was missing key features from more fully-fledged project management tools.

That’s because Trello isn’t really a project management tool, despite how many of us use it.

So before we dive into which Trello alternatives you should consider, let’s look at the core features they need to have for growing teams like yours.

1. Project planning: Roadmaps, milestones, sprints, and more

Trello’s simplicity is one of the main reasons so many teams start with it (that, and their free plan). However, that same simplicity is often the first pain point that teams experience when they grow.

While Trello’s card system is intuitive and easy to use, it quickly becomes limiting for teams–especially technical ones. Any project that lasts more than a few weeks (or is ongoing like in Agile development) requires deeper insights into progress, milestones, dependencies, and deadlines.

Unfortunately, Trello’s big design flaw is that there’s no way to zoom out and see your overall project progression. (This is an issue with all Kanban-only tools).

Trello Kanban Board

While Trello does have a calendar view for tasks, there’s no way to view milestones, see task dependencies, or track sprints and milestones together. You’re either forced to jump between different boards (confusing) or use a different tool for long-term planning (redundant and expensive).

A Trello alternative like Planio lets you quickly switch between different views to go from long-term planning to running sprints. Here are a few:

Roadmap view of a Milestone

The key here is that you have a core place for all your tasks, milestones, and sprints to live rather than losing them on multiple boards.

Planio also has more features you can add or remove as you need, just choose which ones are relvant for each of your projects.

Quick Switch between apps and views

2. People management: Custom workflows, Gantt charts, and an intuitive UI that’s great for cross-team collaboration

Project management is people management. And you need a tool that allows you to customize your project based on the people on your team.

Unfortunately, Trello misses the mark when it comes to people management. There’s no way to set custom workflows or use roles and permissions to guide your team through their work. (Trello’s ‘Butler’ feature adds some automation, however, this is mostly limited to personal tasks and not team management).

In a Trello alternative like Planio, you can create custom workflows for your teammates and use roles and permissions to change how they use the tool.

New Role in Planio

This means that when you set up new projects or issues, everyone on your team–from developers to managers–is set up for success and won’t get lost in a sea of projects, issues, and features.

Customizable workflows also make Planio a great Trello alternative for working with cross-functional teams or even with outside clients and stakeholders.

3. Full-powered project management: Task management, built-in time tracking, and priorities

Trello is best suited as a task management tool. But you’ll even run into issues when using it just for this.

Trello’s task cards allow you to add members, set labels and due dates, and additional information like a description, checklist, and attachments. However, this is the bare minimum that most product teams need. Being forced to manage tasks through Trello’s limited features can be confusing and frustrating for your entire team.

Tasks are the building blocks of any project. And if you don’t get task management right, your project is going to fall apart. But every team has different needs.

A Trello alternative like Planio lets you customize your tasks to how your team works best.

Along with adding an assignee or groups of assignees, you can set a specific project, status, priority, milestone, and start and end dates for each task.

You can even set the estimated time you think it will take to complete (which you can see against the actual time using our built-in time tracking) as well as add custom fields and checklists specific to your team.

Set your own checklist items

While all of these features make Planio a great Trello alternative for task management, two of them are especially useful for project managers.

First, time tracking.

You can’t properly plan and run projects if you don’t know where your time is going. While Trello offers paid “Power-ups” to track time spent on projects, Planio and other Trello alternatives make them standard.

Next, Planio offers an easy way to set task priorities.

Set your own custom priorities

Not every task is the same. And while you can use Trello’s label system for adding a task’s priority, it’s messy and not always clear. Planio lets you set custom priorities for your tasks as well so you can keep your team on track.

4. Team collaboration: Chat, wikis, integrated code repositories, and cloud storage

There’s no denying that collaboration is a major part of project management. And this is another place where Trello is probably holding you back.

For team communication and collaboration, Trello relies entirely on task ‘comments’ and a notifications tab to see recent activity (which can quickly become a nightmare when you’re collaborating on complex projects).

Many Trello alternatives give you multiple ways to share information and connect with your teams.

In Planio, for example, you can chat in real-time, create wikis and blogs to share knowledge, and keep your most important data and files at hand with integrated cloud storage and code repositories.

Planio Chat

5. Reporting: Roadmaps and data to keep your team and stakeholders on track

Finally, as a project manager, a large part of your job is to keep track of and report on progress to your stakeholders and team. But Trello doesn’t currently offer any reporting features (and simply sending a link to your project Kanban board to your boss is never an option!)

However, reporting is a delicate balance in project management tools. The role of data is to bring clarity, not confusion.

In Planio (and many other Trello alternatives), you get easy access to key insights that push your project forward. For example, Planio shows you common Agile charts such as Burndown and Burnup, Velocity, Cumulative Flow, and Lead Time.

You also get access to Gantt Charts to track task dependencies and see when teammates are overloaded. As well as Time Tracking Charts to help manage your planning and estimate projects better in the future.

The last thing you want is a tool holding your team back or adding uncertainty to your projects.

The 9 best Trello alternatives to consider in 2021

Trello is a great personal productivity tool. But it misses the mark for 99% of growing teams. You need a tool that is flexible and powerful enough to match your software development style but not too complicated that it gets in the way of getting things done.

In this list, we’ve gathered the 9 best Trello alternatives for 2021 and beyond.

Each of these was handpicked for its balance of features and functionality, especially when it comes to our five key criteria for a Trello alternative: Project planning, people management, powerful project management, team collaboration, and reporting.

1. Planio

It should come as no surprise that we’ve included Planio at the top of our list of Trello alternatives. But don’t just take our word for it.

Planio Advantages

Planio was built to satisfy the needs of project teams from small startups to Fortune 500s. One of the biggest pieces of feedback we’ve gotten from our thousands of customers is that they were using a tool like Trello and needed something better.

Planio takes the same Kanban-board approach as Trello but adds more of the features and functionality that project managers and teams need.

Here’s a quick rundown of a few of the powerful features that set Planio apart from other Trello alternatives:



Why you should pick Planio as your Trello alternative in one sentence: Planio is both powerful and familiar so your team can keep working on your present projects while you set them up for even more success in the future.

2. Asana

Built by former Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Asana is a web-based project management tool that is another good Trello alternative.

Asana is built off of their main list view that gives you a quick rundown of all tasks broken up by category or milestones. You can also see your tasks on a Kanban board (like Trello and Planio) and use their Timeline feature to see how all parts of your project fit together.

Two of the key features that set Asana apart are Portfolios and Forms.

Portfolios are essentially a quick view that lets you see the status of all your projects at once including progress, date, priority, and team lead. Each project includes a high-level overview so you can keep your team and stakeholders updated.

Forms, on the other hand, is a microfeature that standardizes work requests. This lets other teams or clients request work in a way that doesn’t get messy.



Why you should pick Asana as your Trello alternative in one sentence: Asana is a powerful work management tool for teams with lots of projects on the go.

3. ClickUp

ClickUp is one of the many project management tools that promises to bring all your work into one place. It includes features for task management, goal-setting, docs, team chat, and more.

To make sense of all this data, ClickUp includes a number of different view options for your tasks and projects. There’s a board view that will be familiar to Trello users, Gantt charts for traditional project management, list views to get a general overview of tasks, and tons more.

In fact, ClickUp lets you customize their tool in every way possible from forms to dashboards to tasks to mind maps to docs... This level of customizable can seem great at first. But as the old saying goes, build for everyone and you’re building for no one.

While ClickUp offers features and functionality that make it a good Trello alternative, it can also quickly become complicated or feel overly bloated for teams used to their current workflows



Why you should pick ClickUp as your Trello alternative in one sentence: ClickUp gives you access to customization that will help you create the project management environment that works best for your team (if you put in the work).

4. ProofHub

ProofHub is another Trello alternative that offers multiple views (including Kanban boards) as well as more customizable task management. Where ProofHub differentiates itself is through a few agency-focused features such as Proofing and Timesheets.

Proofing lets you comment and collaborate on designs and documents in one place so you can capture feedback within your project management tool.

With integrated timesheets, and time tracking (similar to Planio), ProofHub helps your team or agency know where your time went and more accurately bill clients.



Why you should pick ProofHub as your Trello alternative in one sentence: ProofHub offers a simple UI that’s great for agencies looking to keep track of multiple projects, track their time, and manage feedback and requests.

5. Flow

For design-focused teams, Flow is a good and simple Trello alternative with a few extra tricks up its sleeve.

Like many of the other options listed here, Flow lets you customize how you view tasks. This includes a Trello-like Kanban board, Calendar view, filterable list view, and project timeline. However, where Flow excels over Trello is with features like their Workload view.

Workload gives you a quick overall view of the work that each of your teammates is doing. Tasks are shown in a timeline view and color-coded so you can quickly see who’s overloaded. Reassigning tasks is then as simple as dragging them from one person to the next.



Why you should pick Flow as your Trello alternative in one sentence: Flow is a project management tool that you’ll love to look at every single day.

6. Clubhouse

If you can’t imagine a world without Kanban boards (or don’t care about seeing your tasks in different ways), are obsessed with Agile, and default to speed in every scenario then Clubhouse might be the Trello alternative for you.

Clubhouse is a relatively new project management tool that is based on the Agile methodology. Projects are based around stories and categorized by epics and milestones. You can quickly view progress and plan sprints on the Kanban board and your personal dashboard.

However, as we wrote in our guide to the best project management tools for technical teams, Clubhouse takes a bit of an idealistic view towards project management. This means you get limited reporting, not much in the way of resource management, and missing features when it comes to managing the intricacies of larger projects.



Why you should pick Clubhouse as your Trello alternative in one sentence: Clubhouse is the ultimate Trello alternative for Agile fans who don’t need more robust reporting and planning features.

Switching your project management tool is no easy feat. But believe us when we say: There is life after Trello.

7. Monday.com

One of the reasons you probably chose Trello in the first place was for its simple interface and clean and clear design. If that’s the case, then you might want to try Monday.com as a Trello alternative.

Monday.com is centered on the Kanban board (like Trello), however, it also gives you multiple views that are tailored to your team. This could mean a list view to see your major milestones over the next few quarters. Or, a Workload view to visually see who’s overloaded with tasks and who can take on more.

Monday.com also includes a Dashboard view that digs into your company’s KPIs and how your projects are affecting them. As well as charts that can pull data from multiple projects to give you a holistic view of your team’s efforts.



Why you should pick Monday.com as your Trello alternative in one sentence: Monday.com is a flexible and customizable tool that will keep your team on track and your stakeholders happy.

8. Jira

We were hesitant to include Jira as a good Trello alternative because the two tools couldn’t be further apart. Despite being owned by the same company (Atlassian, the makers of Jira, bought Trello in 2017 for $425 million), Trello and Jira serve very different customers and users.

While Trello is simple to use with limited features, Jira is a complex, in-depth, and feature-heavy software development tool.

Jira is designed for Agile teams with Scrum boards, Kanban boards, Roadmaps, and dozens of Agile reports. All these features make it a powerful ally for veteran Agile teams and a terrifyingly confusing piece of equipment for everyone else.

However, almost every technical team tries Jira at some point (and many even stick with it). So if you’re willing to put in the time to get used to it, chances are it can do what you need it to.



Why you should pick Jira as your Trello alternative in one sentence: Jira is the go-to enterprise project management tool for Agile teams.

9. Wrike

Wrike is another Trello alternative that skirts the line between powerful and too complicated (like Jira).

Designed with enterprise users in mind, Wrike combines multiple project views, customizable dashboards, built-in approvals and feedback, and in-depth metrics to give you a full view of your project.

At the other end of the spectrum, Wrike also gives each team member a personal workspace that quickly links to their highest priority tasks so they can see everything on their plate and work on the right things.



Why you should pick Wrike as your Trello alternative in one sentence: Wrike provides a workspace to take your projects from idea to the final approved product.

Is it time to move on from Trello? You have options.

Switching your project management tool is no easy feat. But believe us when we say: There is life after Trello.

The last thing you want is a tool that’s holding your team back or adding uncertainty to your projects. So when you hit that wall with Trello, check out the list of features and tools above and find the one that’s right for you.

If you’d like to try Planio out, we’d love to have you! You can start a free 30-day trial, get individual help migrating your data over, and start using Planio on your next project.