More and more architects are using collaborative applications to organize their work. Those applications improve significantly the team's productivity. They allow to have a global view on the tasks to be done. They put all the people on the same platform, limit the emails overload and make it more easy to find information.
In this post we compare two collaborative applications that can be used in architecture and construction projects : Trello and Bricks.
1/ Trello, a simple and intuitive collaboration tool
Trello is one of the most popular tools for project management. It is often the first to come to mind when choosing to collaborate online. It simplifies task management and facilitates communication between projects members.
Trello is an easy to learn application that focus on visual feedback. It is inspired by the Kanban method, in which all tasks are written on a sticky note and displayed on the wall on a special board called Kanban. Using Trello for an architecture and construction project helps to bring together all the participants in a common platform and gives everyone a global vision of what remains to be done.
Trello can replace or complete more traditional methods to organize tasks, such as task lists on a spreadsheet, grouped emails... It improves cooperation on architectural projects and ultimately saves time and reduces coordination errors. It offers transparency to stakeholders on current tasks with its visual workflow.
- Intuitive interface, especially on mobile phones
- Visual method based on kanban
- Fluidity of exchanges
- Many templates available
- Simple file sharing
- Limited team management in the free version
- Ease of editing can quickly lead to disorder with inexperienced teams
- Tasks are always displayed in Kanban: no list view as in Excel for example
- Files and images are embedded in the cards, no files library to group them together
- No native BIM file integration
The Kanban board in Trello
2/ Bricks, a collaborative platform dedicated to architecture
Whereas Trello, Bricks is a project management tool specifically designed for the construction industry. Architecture & Construction (AEC) profesionals are actively exploring new methods of working with the development of BIM, Artificial Intelligence, Parametric design and many other recent innovations. More and more applications such as Bricks offer solutions to the recurring productivity problems facing the indsustry.
Bricks is designed by architects and stands out from other applications by putting forward the Agile method as a key change trigger. Making the AEC industry more agile is essential to improve coordination and building design overall quality. The collaborative apps, by facilitating collaboration and transparency between the projects actors make project management more efficient and seamless.
Today the most common way to organize tasks in the building industry could be to take notes on a notepad, fill an Excel table... Whereas the communication are mostly done by email or phone calls with the distributed teams (architects, engineers, client, etc.).
With Bricks, each actor can continue to manage a list of tasks. The difference is that it is now shared with all the actors. The discussion is structured around recurring topics such as "the treatment of ceilings" or "parking lots". In these subjects everyone can participate, upload plans, images and define precise tasks to move the topic forward. It is also possible to assign a task to a specific person to clarify roles or set a deadline.
Once the list of topics grows, Bricks stands out by the ability to prioritize the subjects and move them forward. A Kanban board allows you to know where you are at any time. It is also possible to set the pace of the work by using sprints or short iterations. Using sprints inspired by one of the Agile methods -Scrum- make long work easier to handle and allows to have early feedbacks from stakeholders. Bricks documentation explains more in depth how to use Scrum in an architecture projects. Finally, to prepare your meetings, you can export a list of topics in pdf format quite easily.
- to keep a clear list of tasks shared between all the actors
- to visualize the progress of the project
- to communicate seamlessly
- to historize the discussion
- to automatically build an organized library of documents
Bricks specificities compared to Trello
- Team and role management
- Possibility to assign at task level (equivalent of checklist in Trello)
- Several displays available: Kanban, List or Excel like Table
- File library that groups all shared files and images
- Export of pdf reports
- Import of BCF task exchange files connected to the BIM eco-system
The Kanban table in Bricks
3/ How to Import your Trello board to Bricks
Working in Trello is a first step. But as the project becomes more complex, it becomes difficult to manage everything with a single display. If you want to connect to the BIM software via the BCF, have a viewer, Trello does not provide these features. So don't worry, you can now continue your projects started with Trello in Bricks!
Here is a short guide to import one or more Trello tables into Bricks.
- In the right menu of the trello board you want to export you have to export a JSON file that store all trello board information. (Menu > More > Print and Export)
- Save the raw file of the table that Trello opens for you in a new window (Right click > Save with an extension .json)
- Create a new project from your Bricks account. Or use an existing one if you want to mix with topics you already have.
- Go to the settings > import section of this project. You must be a project admin to see the settings section. Click on the import button, choose file type trellos, upload the.json file.
- Check that the data in the file matches and then click on Import to launch importation.
- The display shows you the progress and possible errors. In this example 21 subjects were imported from Trello to Bricks with success.
- That's it! Your trello board is fully imported into Bricks and you can continue to modify it, images, comments. Create reports or start sprints.
We hope you like the import from trello feature, feel free to give us your feedback. You can participate in the development of Bricks currently in beta.