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While the Sugar platform is a powerful sales tool, sometimes organizations need to customize the platform so it can be used as a tool for project management or other divisions. In this scenario, your organization should evaluate two options. You can build a customization within Sugar or find another tool that does exactly what you need and integrate it with Sugar to pull in key pieces of information. Sometimes building an integration can be more cost-effective if you need a lot of additional power outside of what Sugar offers. W-Systems evaluated these options internally when we needed a custom way to manage projects. We decided to build an integration to Trello, a third-party project management tool.
Trello is an organizational tool that can be used to organize information in lists. The tool is really flexible, but we use a board to represent each project. These boards can be used to manage all sorts of projects--from kitchen renovations to custom development projects. As you can see on the board below, the lists or columns (sometimes called swimlanes) are often used to represent different stages or phases of the project.
In each column, there are several cells that are called “cards”. Each of these cards represents to-do tasks under each project stage.
On each card, users who are added to the board can add comments, upload file attachments, create checklists, add labels and due dates, and more. Trello’s notification system alerts tagged users about status changes or when new items or comments are added to the board.
Now that we’ve discussed the functions of Trello, let’s talk about the integration we built to Sugar. Each project in Sugar is linked to a board in Trello, and each case in Sugar is linked with a Trello card. Each project has multiple cases under it, because each project has several to-do items that need to be completed. Swimlanes in Trello each represent a case status. When a user creates a new project, a board is automatically created in Trello with a matching project number. The URL to that board is placed in a custom field in Sugar so it can be easily accessed by the user.
In the image below is the Trello board that was automatically created using a predefined template. Each swimlane represents the different stages of cases: pending approval, new, in progress, pending input, customer testing, done pending launch, closed, and rejected. The “Trello help” swimlane is one that we added for our customers to learn more about the tool when they first access the system.
On the right side of the screenshot above is the menu. The users who have access to the board are listed across the top. Users automatically added to the board include the lead engineer, the project manager, and the user who creates the project. Beneath that are setting options and a list of all recent activity that has occurred on the project board. Underneath the project in Sugar, users can create a case for each to-do item necessary to complete the project. Each case has a time estimate, start date, and due date associated with it. These cases create “cards” in Trello and sync down the case subject, due date, assigned user, time estimate, and case description to the Trello card.
You can change the status of cases in one of two ways. These cases can be moved to another status by dragging and dropping the correlating card. Alternatively, the case status can be changed in Sugar and the card will move to the correlated swimlane in Trello instantly. Either way, the current status will be reflected in both Sugar and Trello thanks to the bi-directional sync.
This integration allows us to complete most of the project management process from Trello while using Sugar to store the most meaningful pieces of information such as project status and hours worked. The advantage of us using an integration is that we can allow our customers access to these project boards by creating an account for them. Customers and W-Systems employees can interact with each other in Trello using the @ symbol to tag each other. At the same time, sales reps and other divisions across the company still have transparency into a project status directly from Sugar.
This post showed you how the flexibility of Sugar allows you to take advantage of powerful third-party tools to create transparency and streamline processes. And if you’re a W-Systems customer, this offers some insight into how we manage your projects behind the scenes. For more information on the Trello integration, contact us here.