During these last few weeks, I have intensified my working with the Butler Power-Up. My goal was to find out whether it could be used for similar workflow automation than its bigger brother, the ButlerBot. Creating cross-board workflows and automation routines within Trello boards has become a passion of mine, and every week I am discovering a new little hack to set up a new workflow.

The reason why I was so focused on the ButlerBot was that it’s been the better tool. Both the ButlerBot and the Butler Power-Up are tools from the same developers, but the ButlerBot was longer in the game and it had the better features.

But things are changing. New users are now encouraged to choose the Power-Up instead of the ButlerBot.

The only problem with this encouragement was, that the Butler Power-Up features weren’t up to par with what the ButlerBot was capable of doing. And this, of course, caused hesitation in some and felt like a show stopper for others to switch the tool.

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Anyway, I knew the Butler Power-Up had gained momentum and I was curious about what it had to offer in regards to new features. How big is still the gap between the two tools, and can the Power-Up already take over some of my more complex workflows? I also wanted to be able to watch its development over time.

I have built lots of complex workflow sequences with the ButlerBot these last months. I found that creating cross-board workflows within Trello is such a time saver, that I am decided to share some of the best workflows I am using myself in my Workflow Kits.

One of my later creations with the ButlerBot was a workflow for an Archive Repository Board:

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A cross-board workflow that archives cards across boards into a single board, whose primary task is to store those archived cards in an easily accessible format – along with some source information and a date stamp.

In this article, I am giving some insights into the basic structure of this workflow, and I am sharing my testing results for re-creating this workflow with the Butler Power-Up.

 

Remark: I was really pleased!

The setup in this image is slightly different, but gives you an idea of the basic functioning of an Archive Repository Board.

In this setup, I am using a Trello board as a dashboard (Master board), and I am transferring cards from there into the archiving board.

This setup for an archive repository board is part of the Workflow Kit for a Master-Project Board System.

Creating an Archive Repository Board with the ButlerBot

I thought that creating an Archive Repository Board would be a nice-to-have because on some days I lose track of what I get done.

Dealing with multiple boards in Trello, I sometimes get overwhelmed and forget where I started at. At the end of the day, I don’t necessarily see what I have accomplished. It is one of the side aspects of digital work, that it can take me weeks to see a project being completed. But then, having some daily visual that shows me the tasks I actually did finish, makes me feel different. It’s good for my credibility and my motivation.

With this in mind, I wanted kind of a visual of what I get done every day/week/month – even if these were tasks from multiple boards.

So, I thought an Archive Repository Board that holds copies of my archived cards from all those boards I am dealing with, would be nice.

That could come in different variations. I choose one that would store my current accomplishments in a weekly list. Later on, these  finished tasks would be merged into a monthly list. Such a setup I found beneficial in two ways: the board’s growth would be moderate and I still had a good chronological overview of every single accomplished task.

For the cards copied into the board, I decided to add a date stamp so that later I could always see when something happened. And because I wanted to use this setup for multiple boards, I was looking for a way to also add the source board’s name to it.

After a few tries, I found a solution, and here’s what the result looked like:

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This version of a Repository Archive Board works with a weekly and monthly list setup. All the cards from the weekly list are moved into the corresponding monthly list every Sunday and also at the end of the month.

The monthly list is created every month on the 1st day, whereas a new weekly list is created every Monday, early in the morning. The weekly list is archived after the cards are transferred into the monthly list.

You see that the card’s title holds 3 parts of information:

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(I) the original card’s title

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(II) a date stamp

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(III) the name of the source board

I created the original workflow with the ButlerBot.

Creating an Archive Repository Board with the Butler Power-Up

 

Now, on my journey with the Power-Up, I was interested how far I would come with creating cross-board workflows with the Butler Power-Up. Would I be able to build the very same workflow when using this tool – and if not, how would the workflow be different, then?

The one thing most essential for this workflow is the ability to send information across boards. As of late, these cross-board transfers of information have been made also within the Butler Power-Up, which made my undertaking propitious.

All in all, this workflow is made up of 3 different aspects:

 

If you want to learn how to create workflows in Trello yourself by using the Butler Power-Up, this online course is perfect for you!

I will guide you through all the features that the Butler Power-Up comes with. In a workshop module, I created a safe space for you where you can learn to create commands yourself and build workflows that will spice up your Trello boards and take work load off your shoulders.

 

Workshop & Online Course for the Butler Power-Up in Trello

1. Cross-Board Card Transfer

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The act of transferring a card to a second board is the first hurdle to master.

After checking out the available actions within the Butler Power-Up, I realized that this was actually easier to do with the Power-Up than it was with the ButlerBot!

Because of its behavioral limitation, the ButlerBot forced me to create copies of cards instead of simply moving them to the other board.

With the Power-Up, I had a choice: I could choose which action I want to use – move or copy.

— Moving a card upon archive – would remove the card from the board of origin and move it to a second board.

— Copying a card would keep the original card in the original board and archive it there, but create a copy of it in the second board. In my tests, comments and labels that were added to the original card were also copied over to the Archive Repository Board.

Here’s a screenshot of the action that I used for setting up the transfer workflow with the Butler Power-Up:

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2. Flexible List Setup in Archive Board

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The other important part of the original workflow for a Repository Archive Board created with the ButlerBot was using variables to extract important pieces of information. I needed to figure out, whether my list setup in the Archive Repository Board would also be possible when using the Power-Up.

Until now, I thought this wasn’t possible. But a test that I run this morning, convinced me of the opposite. I was able to use the same variables for identifying the flexible list setup in the Repository Board – as I did with the ButlerBot.

So, this was a pleasant surprise.

In the original workflow, I was working with time-related variables that were responsible for creating new lists and correctly naming them.

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These list names needed to be accurate and should not be changed afterward, because these names would later be used in a housekeeping command sequence.

Here’s what the workflow for setting up the monthly list with the Power-Up looks like. This is a preparatory step of the workflow and shouldn’t be confused with the actual archiving workflow that is built with a Card Button. (Don’t know what a Card Button is in Trello? – Check out this article that explains a lot!)

This command and its use of variables play a crucial role in setting up the Archive Board. If the weekly list is not there, the workflow may create errors.

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3. Adding Timestamp & Source Board Info to an Archived Card

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As seen in the example above, I have added a date stamp to the copied card in the Archive Board. Also, I added the name of the source board to the card’s title.

This aspect of the workflow needed an inspection for whether it would work the same way. And here is what I got:

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I have used the very same variables for renaming the card. And all variables worked in the Power-Up as they do with the ButlerBot!

 

Another pleasing experience, and it was much easier than I expected it to be!

Other Workflow Setups For Card Archiving In Trello

 

The method I showed you above to archive cards away in a separate board, is just one route you could go.

If you think an entire board is a waste of space for that, and you would rather condense that a little and use a repository list — or even smaller, a repository card for your archived cards, that’s also fine and absolutely possible.

Check out my article on Medium, 3 Workflows for Archiving Cards in Trello that explains the concept of these two workflow variations for archiving cards.

 

If you want to learn how to create workflows in Trello yourself by using the Butler Power-Up, this online course is perfect for you!

I will guide you through all the features that the Butler Power-Up comes with. In a workshop module, I created a safe space for you where you can learn to create commands yourself and build workflows that will spice up your Trello boards and take work load off your shoulders.

 

Workshop & Online Course for the Butler Power-Up in Trello

Creating Cross-Board Workflows with the Butler Power-Up

 

In this article, I wanted to see and test where the Butler Power-Up is actually standing after all its development. I know that in the future, I want to be able to create more workflows with the Power-Up.

For my test, I was using an example workflow I originally set up with the ButlerBot. This workflow was about collecting archived cards from selected boards into a Repository Archive Board – and store these cards there in weekly and monthly lists.

This workflow isn’t a trivial one. It consists of several steps.

First, there needed to be a few commands that set up weekly and monthly lists with the correct variables. I recommend you use Calendar commands for that. I tested all the variables I used for the ButlerBot-command, and they have passed my tests.

Second, the workflow is a cross-board workflow which was making use of time- and board-related variables. Particularly in regards to variables, I have had concerns whether the Power-Up would be able to measure up with the ButlerBot’s features.

The good news is, that I could fully re-create this workflow by using a Card Button within the Power-Up.

The only difference to the workflow with the ButlerBot was – and this is only a tiny, insignificant detail – that the trigger for this workflow using the ButlerBot is, when a card is archived.

When using the Power-Up, the trigger for using the Card Button is pressing the particular button on the card. Then the card is archived and copied across boards. This, however, can also be used as an advantage. You can choose which cards you want to store in your Repository Archive Board. Not every card needs to be copied there. – That’s the advantage of using a Card Button.

If, however, you would want to move all archived cards across, without exception, you should create a Rule instead of a Card Button for this workflow.

These 7 inspiring checklist commands are a good starting point to create beautiful workflows in your Trello boards.

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