December 15, 2023

Trello vs Slack: Key Differences & Working Together

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Key takeaways

  • Slack is best for teams prioritizing real-time communication and collaboration because of its features like organized channels, direct messaging, and a wide range of integrations for a sterling communication experience.
  • Trello is best for visual project tracking and management, with its intuitive boards and cards system that allows for effective task delegation, progress tracking, and organizational clarity.
  • Hive combines both by offering a unified platform that includes robust project management tools and effective real-time communication features.

Dec. 15, 2023: Irene Casucian revised the copy for clarity and refined our analysis. She also added Hive as an alternative software solution that combines project management and collaboration features.

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Slack vs Trello: How are they different?

Slack Trello
File management Sharing within chats Attachments on cards
Task management Integrations for tasks Boards and cards system
Direct and group messaging Built-in messaging system N/A (Communication via comments on tasks)
Workflow automation Workflow Builder for communication processes Butler for task-based automation
Integration Wide range, including apps for communication and productivity Power-Ups for enhanced project management features
Visit Slack Visit Trello

Consider an alternative:

Hive also stands out as a powerful project management and collaboration software, ideal for teams needing a centralized system. It offers user-friendly messaging similar to Slack; customizable project views like Kanban and Gantt charts, integrated proofing and approval tools, and streamlines team interactions.

With features like unlimited projects, diverse layouts, native messaging, and comprehensive analytics, Hive is particularly suited for collaborative teams that aim to enhance productivity and simplify project management and communication processes.

What is Trello?

Trello logo.

If you’re looking for an easy way to manage tasks and simple projects, Trello, developed by Atlassian, is an excellent option to explore. This system organizes tasks into cards, which you can then categorize into different columns on a Kanban board. Trello has templates for different workflows, such as content writing, podcast production, video production, Scrum processes, sales pipelines, and even wedding planning.

Some of Trello’s key features include: 

  • Clear visual organization using boards, lists, and cards. 
  • Customizable workflows.
  • Butler feature that can automate repetitive tasks.
  • Trello’s Power-ups enable integrations. 

With features comparable to Slack, Trello allows easy collaboration through comments, attachments, and shared boards, mirroring Slack’s communication-focused environment. Trello’s integration with various third-party apps, including Slack, enhances its collaborative and productivity potential. This integration offers a seamless experience for users accustomed to Slack’s ecosystem.

Moreover, Trello’s real-time sync across devices secures constant connectivity and collaboration, akin to Slack’s instant messaging and team communication features.

Screenshot of a Trello board dashboard displaying various task lists and cards organized under different categories.
A detailed Trello dashboard displaying project management’s efficiency through neatly organized lists and cards, categorizing tasks in an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Source: Trello

Pros

  • Allows creation of various boards and customization of cards.
  • Offers visual organization and ease of setting up new cards.
  • Provides design options, integrations, and filters.
  • Organizes tasks effectively with the availability of plugins and automation bots.
  • Customizable tracking of projects with label and attachment options.

Cons

  • Limited number of boards for free version.
  • Free and standard plans have limited visibility compared to Microsoft Teams.
  • UI could be improved, and background customization is limited.

Learn more about Trello in our video overview:

If you’re looking for other project management software options, explore our list of the top Trello alternatives.

What is Slack?

Slack was initially developed by Slack Technologies, Inc. and was later acquired by Salesforce in 2020. This acquisition has positioned Slack within Salesforce’s suite of business tools, as Salesforce can also be used in project management.

Nowadays, Slack is widely recognized as a communication and collaboration platform. It offers instant messaging, file sharing, and team channels. While Slack is not primarily designed as a project management solution, it excels at streamlining team interactions and ensuring efficient information flow.

However, Slack typically relies on third-party integrations for comprehensive project management functionalities. This approach allows it to integrate with various project management tools, thus enhancing its utility without compromising its core strengths in communication and collaboration.

Here are some Slack’s key features:

  • Can organize conversations by topic, team, or project.
  • Allows one-on-one or small group conversations for quick discussions and confidential talks.
  • Slack Connect enables the creation of shared channels with external partners.
  • Slack’s Workflow Builder automates routine actions and communications.

Slack offers several key features focused on enhancing team communication and collaboration. It provides channels for organized conversations by topic, team, or project. Direct messaging and group messaging in Slack facilitate quick discussions, akin to Trello’s comment features on cards.

File sharing within conversations in Slack parallels Trello’s attachment feature on cards. Integration with third-party applications, including project management systems like Trello, Asana, and Wrike, allows Slack to complement and extend the capabilities of these tools. Additionally, Slack Connect and the Workflow Builder provide enhanced collaboration with external partners and automation of routine tasks, features not natively present in Trello.

The screenshot of Slack's user interface features a clean and organized layout with various channel and direct message listings.
Slack enhances team collaboration and communication and provides an organized layout for easy access to channels and direct messaging. Source: Slack

Pros

  • Integrates with well-known apps like Jira, Trello, and Google Drive.
  • Rich text support for images, attachments, and code snippets.
  • User-friendly interface and notifications management.
  • Manages private and team communication effectively.

Cons

  • Notification hiccups and inconsistent message order in channels.
  • Difficulty in finding previous discussions in threads.
  • Searching results aren’t always organized effectively.
  • Limit on the size of files that can be directly uploaded.

Learn more about Slack in our video review:

Trello vs. Slack: A detailed comparison

Trello Slack
User interface and ease of use Yes Yes
Task management Yes No
Instant messaging No Yes
Video conferencing No Yes
(Requires integration)
Integration with other tools Yes Yes
Notification system Yes Yes
Collaboration features Yes Yes
Project tracking and reporting Yes No
Customization and flexibility Yes Yes
Mobile app experience Yes Yes
Pricing and plans Yes Yes
Security features Yes Yes
Offline accessibility No No
Customer support and resources Yes Yes

Pricing

The pricing structures of Trello and Slack differ primarily in focus and scaling. Trello’s structure is designed to cater to project management needs. It has a range of plans that scale with additional project management features for larger teams or more complex projects. Slack’s pricing, meanwhile, is geared towards scaling communication features, with plans that expand on messaging history, integrative capabilities, and advanced administrative tools as you move up the tiers.

Trello Slack
Free plan available Yes Yes
Monthly subscription Yes
(Standard/Premium)
Yes
(Standard/Plus)
Annual subscription discount Yes Yes
Per user pricing Yes Yes
Tiered pricing levels Yes Yes
Enterprise plan Yes Yes
Additional features at extra cost Yes
(Power-Ups)
Yes
(Add-ons)
Non-profit discounts Yes Yes
Free trial for paid plans Yes Yes

Slack’s pricing structure is designed to cater to a wide range of users, from individuals and small teams to large enterprises. The Free Plan is a great starting point for those new to Slack or with minimal requirements. It offers basic functionalities like access to the last 10,000 messages, ten app integrations, and one-to-one voice and video calls. This plan is suitable for small teams or personal use but has limitations regarding message history and integrations.

Slack offers the Pro Plan at approximately $6.67 per user per month (billed annually) for more advanced needs, which is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. This plan includes unlimited message history, app integrations, and group voice and video calls; for larger businesses or those requiring additional security and administrative features, the Business+ Plan, at around $12.50 per user per month (billed annually) offers enhanced security features. Lastly, the Enterprise Plan caters to large organizations with specific compliance and security needs. This plan provides customized pricing and enterprise-grade features.

Trello’s pricing structure is tailored to suit a variety of users. The Free Plan is quite suitable for individuals or small teams. This plan offers basic project management capabilities with unlimited cards, lists, and up to 10 boards per team. It’s a great starting point for those new to project management tools or with simple project needs.

For more extensive project management requirements, Trello offers several paid plans. The Standard Plan, priced at around $5 per user per month (billed annually), is ideal for teams needing more boards and advanced checklists. It includes unlimited boards and additional features like custom fields, advanced checklists, and more storage. 

At approximately $10 per user per month (billed annually), the Premium Plan caters to teams requiring more sophisticated project management tools, offering features like dashboard view, timeline view, workspace table view, and advanced integration capabilities. 

For large enterprises or organizations with complex project management needs, Trello provides the Enterprise Plan, with pricing that varies based on the number of users and includes comprehensive security, control, and support features.

It’s a tie. Here’s why:

Choosing between Slack and Trello solely based on pricing depends on your primary need. Suppose your focus is on maximizing communication within your team, and you value real-time interaction with a wide range of integrations; Slack’s pricing may offer better value.

However, if your priority is project management with a visual and intuitive task organization system, and you also require a tool that can manage and track projects, Trello’s pricing structure could be more cost-effective.

Ultimately, the decision hinges on whether your primary need is advanced communication (Slack) or structured project management (Trello).

Consider Hive as a cost-effective alternative

Hive emerges as a cost-effective alternative to Slack and Trello by combining the features of both platforms into a single solution. Hive’s pricing structure offers value for businesses requiring integrated real-time communication and comprehensive project management tools.

This option reduces the financial burden of separately subscribing to Slack and Trello. With Hive, users gain access to task management, workflow automation, and collaboration features in one package. That’s why it’s an attractive option for teams that need the functionalities of both platforms.

Workflow automation

Trello and Slack serve distinct roles in workflow management. With its visual board-based system, Trello can enhance task tracking and project progress visualization. It’s tailored for structuring and overseeing tasks and projects and offers an organized view of responsibilities and deadlines.

On the other hand, Slack provides a platform for real-time messaging, file sharing, and tool integration. While Trello organizes the workflow, Slack streamlines internal communication, making it ideal for quick discussions, document sharing, and team interactions.

Together, they offer a comprehensive approach to managing team projects’ structural and communicative aspects for a smoother and more efficient workflow.

Trello Slack
Trigger-based actions Yes Yes
Automated task assignments Yes Yes
Due date reminders Yes Yes
Automated status updates Yes No
Scheduled messages/reminders No Yes
Email-to-task automation Yes No

Slack plays a significant role in workflow management by offering various features that automate and streamline processes within a team or organization. Slack’s Workflow Builder allows users to create custom workflows tailored to their needs. This tool enables teams to automate routine operations, such as onboarding new team members or handling common requests, without needing extensive technical expertise. 

Slack also provides trigger-based actions, which means certain predefined conditions or events can automatically initiate specific tasks or communications. For example, a new channel member can trigger a welcome message or a sequence of introductory tasks. 

Moreover, Slack allows users to schedule messages and set reminders. This function is handy for keeping projects on track and securing timely follow-ups. Teams can schedule reminders for deadlines, meetings, or any important dates to guarantee that nothing gets overlooked.

Slack’s integration with a wide range of third-party bots and applications enhances workflow by connecting Slack with tools like Trello, Asana, or Google Calendar. This function creates an ecosystem of apps that can automate tasks across different platforms and centralize the workflow in Slack.

Trello’s functionality in workflow automation is primarily centered around its customizable and user-friendly interface. Trello’s Butler is a built-in tool that allows users to create rules that automate tasks. For example, you can set up a rule that automatically moves a card to a different list when a task is marked as complete. This feature reduces repetitive manual work and secures consistency in task management. Butler also enables the creation of customizable buttons and commands within Trello boards. This customization allows teams to create workflows that align precisely with their project needs and preferences.

Trello users can also set due dates on cards (tasks) and integrate reminders for these due dates. This feature alerts team members about upcoming deadlines and helps them manage time efficiently.

Trello also has the ability to convert emails into tasks. Users can send emails to a unique address associated with their Trello board, and these emails will automatically be turned into cards (tasks). This feature is convenient for quickly capturing tasks and to-dos from email communications and integrating them into the project workflow.

Overall, Trello’s workflow automation features make it a powerful tool for teams looking to enhance efficiency and keep their projects on track.

Trello. Here’s why:

When choosing a tool for workflow automation, Trello stands out as the more suitable option if your priority is detailed project management and comprehensive task organization. Its visual board-based approach, combined with powerful features like the Butler for rule-based automation, customizable commands, and due date reminders, makes it exceptionally practical for tracking progress and managing complex projects.

While Slack is excellent for enhancing communication and collaboration with some workflow automation capabilities, Trello’s strength lies in its ability to provide a clear, organized overview of tasks and deadlines; that’s why it’s ideal for teams that need a more structured and visually intuitive workflow management system.

Consider Hive for workflow automation

Hive competes closely with Trello and Slack in workflow automation by offering a no-code, drag-and-drop interface that is highly intuitive and user-friendly. This approach makes Hive an appealing alternative for users who seek simplicity in project management and communication without needing technical expertise.

Unlike Trello, which focuses primarily on task management, and Slack, which excels in communication, Hive merges these functionalities. Its drag-and-drop functionality simplifies task organization, while its no-code aspect guarantees that setting up and customizing workflows is accessible to all users.

Hive’s ability to blend the strengths of Trello and Slack into a single, streamlined tool makes it a compelling option for workflow automation.

Integrations

Trello and Slack differ significantly in their approaches to integrations. Trello’s integrations allow users to connect with different productivity tools like time trackers, calendar apps, and other PM software.

Slack, however, focuses on integrations that bolster its communication and collaboration features. It integrates with many services, from project management tools like Trello to file-sharing apps and developer tools. This functionality makes Slack a central hub for team interactions and information flow.

While Trello integrates tools to enhance individual and team productivity in project management, Slack’s integrations are geared toward creating an interconnected communication ecosystem that supports a variety of workflows.

Trello Slack
Native file storage integration Yes Yes
CRM integration Yes Yes
Real-time data sharing No Yes
Custom bots and apps No Yes
Email integration Yes Yes
Project management tool integration Yes Yes
Communication platform integration No Yes

Slack’s functionality in terms of integrations is a significant aspect of its appeal as a collaboration and communication tool. Slack offers a broad spectrum of integrations with various software and services. These integrations span different categories, from project management tools like Trello and Asana to CRM systems, file-sharing services, and developer tools. 

Slack facilitates real-time data sharing and updates directly within channels through its integrations. For instance, if integrated with a project management tool, updates on tasks and projects can automatically populate in a designated Slack channel. 

Slack’s ecosystem also includes numerous apps and bots designed explicitly for functions like CRM, customer support, and development. These specialized tools can provide quick access to information and streamline processes. 

Discovering and adding these integrations to Slack is straightforward, thanks to the Slack App Directory. This directory categorizes apps and bots and helps users find the right tools for specific needs. Installation is typically a few clicks away, and Slack guides you on configuring and using these integrations effectively.

Power-Ups in Trello are add-ons that extend the functionality of Trello boards. They cater to specific project needs or add new features that are not native to Trello. For instance, a Power-Up might add advanced calendar views, time tracking, enhanced reporting, or even automation within boards. 

With these Power-Ups, Trello can integrate with numerous platforms, including but not limited to Google Drive for file management, Salesforce for CRM, and several other productivity and business tools.

These integrations allow for a sterling workflow where information and resources from different platforms can be accessed and managed directly within Trello. For example, attaching documents from Google Drive to Trello cards or syncing Trello tasks with Salesforce records enhances the efficiency and coherence of project management efforts.

Moreover, adding and managing these integrations is straightforward in Trello. Users can easily add Power-Ups directly from the board interface without needing to navigate away or deal with complicated installation processes. The UI is intuitive as it simplifies the activation and deactivation of Power-Ups and configures them based on the project’s requirements. 

Trello’s integrations provide a flexible and customizable project management experience, primarily through its Power-Ups. The ability to integrate with various external platforms and the ease of adding and managing these integrations directly from the Trello board interface make it a highly adaptable tool suitable for different project types and sizes.

Slack. Here’s why:

When comparing Trello and Slack in terms of integrations, Slack offers a more extensive range. With over 2,400 integrations across various platforms, including cloud storage, productivity suites, and customer support tools, Slack’s integration capabilities are vast. It also allows custom app integration through its API​​.

Trello, while offering more than 200 integrations, primarily enhances its project management functionality. Although Trello’s integrations are helpful for task tracking, Slack’s broader integration ecosystem and flexibility with custom apps make it a more versatile choice for businesses seeking comprehensive integration options.

Expand your integration capabilities with Hive

When it comes to integrations, Hive competes effectively with Trello and Slack. That’s because it offers a unified platform that consolidates various work tools. With more than 1,000 integrations, Hive allows for the centralization of information and efficient workflow management.

Popular integrations include Microsoft Teams for collaboration and Jira for advanced project management, and it even allows for integration with Slack and GitHub. This extensive range of integrations positions Hive as a robust alternative, particularly appealing to users looking for a comprehensive tool that blends project management and team communication platform features.

Collaboration

Trello and Slack serve distinct collaborative functions: Trello is a workflow management system ideal for project organization. It offers visual Kanban boards to track and manage tasks and highlights who’s working on what and their progress. This makes it excellent for structured project management.

On the other hand, Slack is a communication-centric platform designed to centralize and streamline workplace conversations, replacing emails and texts with a more organized, searchable system. It excels in facilitating real-time communication and information sharing through channels and direct messages. Its features make it more suited for dynamic team interactions and decision-making.​

Trello Slack
Messaging and chat capabilities No Yes
Video and voice call functionality No Yes
Board and card system for tasks Yes No
Project tracking and updates Yes No
Commenting and feedback on tasks Yes Yes
Shared workspaces and channels Yes Yes
Integration with other collaboration tools Yes Yes

Slack offers channels that act as focused project spaces. These channels allow organized discussions on specific topics or projects. This structure aids in keeping conversations relevant and easily accessible and enhances team collaboration on particular subjects or tasks​​.

Slack provides direct messaging for private conversations beyond group channels. This feature is helpful for one-on-one discussions, which allows team members to communicate privately without cluttering the main channels.

Furthermore, Slack directly incorporates audio and video calls, called Huddles, into the platform. This integration facilitates real-time voice and video communications within the team, where stakeholders can conduct quick meetings or discussions without external conferencing tools​​.

Through Slack Connect, users can create shared channels with external organizations. This capability extends collaboration beyond the internal team, which provides smooth and secure project coordination with clients, vendors, or partners.

Trello’s boards offer a clear, visual layout of projects, where tasks are represented as cards. This visual representation helps teams understand the scope and status of the project at a glance, which then improves collaboration and organization​​.

Each card in Trello can hold comments, attachments, and checklists. This functionality allows team members to collaborate by sharing information, tracking progress, and managing task details effectively​​.

Team members can also be assigned to specific tasks and boards. This feature guarantees clarity in responsibilities and facilitates collaborative effort on projects. It also helps align teammates and keep everyone informed about their roles and contributions​​.

Trello’s layout and features offer visibility into the progress of tasks and overall project updates. Teams can easily track deadlines, see what everyone is working on, and understand where a task is in the process. This intuitive visualization promotes transparency and coordination in collaborative efforts.

It’s a tie. Here’s why:

Choosing between Slack and Trello for collaboration hinges on your team’s specific needs and collaboration style. If your team relies heavily on instant communication and real-time updates, Slack is the best choice. It excels in facilitating quick, continuous interactions through its organized channels, direct messaging, and integrated calls.

On the other hand, if your team focuses more on visual project tracking with an emphasis on task delegation and progress monitoring, Trello is ideal. Its boards and cards provide a clear visual representation of projects, making tracking tasks and managing workflows easier.

Whether your team is communication-centric or project-oriented will guide the decision between these two tools.

Consider Hive as a collaboration tool

Hive’s real-time collaboration features are designed to balance Slack’s communication focus and Trello’s project management orientation. Its built-in messaging system parallels Slack, which allows drag-and-drop chats into tasks and facilitates organized and searchable communication within the project management tool.

Additionally, Hive acts as a centralized communication hub that integrates external chat systems, streamlines team interactions, and avoids switching platforms for messaging and task collaboration​​​​. This approach makes Hive a comprehensive solution combining the strengths of Slack’s instant communication and Trello’s visual task management.

Slack vs Trello: Can you use them together?

There are two ways you can make Trello and Slack work together: the Slack Power-Up in Trello and the Trello App for Slack. They’re both useful add-ons, but the one you end up using will depend on which tool you prefer.

For instance, the Slack Power-Up in Trello lets you do the steering from Trello, while the Trello App for Slack lets you do the steering from Slack. This might seem confusing at first, but once you learn how both add-ons work, it all comes together.

But why choose one add-on over another? If you switch back and forth between Trello and Slack regularly, I recommend using both add-ons so you can streamline processes in whichever app you happen to be working in at the moment.

Using Slack in Trello

Let’s rewind for a moment and talk about upgrading to a paid tier in Trello. You can do this to simply get more automation and security features out of Trello as a standalone solution, but you’ll also get a lot of value from unlimited Power-Ups.

Power-Ups take your Trello experience to the next level, and thankfully there’s a nice Slack Power-Up you can get. This add-on lets you remind yourself and others about upcoming due dates on cards. It also lets you assign a board to a specific Slack channel, share cards with someone in a DM or with a group of people in a certain channel, and link to a card in Trello.

Using Trello in Slack

The Trello App for Slack works much the same way that the Slack Power-Up in Trello does, except the roles are reversed. In the previous example, the Slack Power-Up, a user works in Trello to trigger actions in Slack. But in the Trello App for Slack, a user works in Slack to trigger actions in Trello. 

You can do this using what Slack calls Slash Commands. These are actions you can take in Slack by simply typing /[command] in the messaging field. Some common examples include:

  • /remind — lets you send reminders to yourself and others
  • /invite — lets you invite someone to a channel
  • /collapse — collapses all files in a channel. This is very useful for hiding distracting GIFs from your co-workers

The Trello App works no differently. Using the Slash Command /trello, you can create new cards straight from Slack. This add-on also lets you attach conversations from Slack to Trello cards, subscribe to updates on a card, update due dates, and join cards and boards.

Skip the integrations with Hive

Hive stands out as a compelling alternative to Trello and Slack. It is an extensive project management tool and robust workflow automation with effective real-time communication features in a single platform.

Unlike Trello, which specializes in visual project tracking, and Slack, which focuses on communication, Hive brings these functionalities together. This integration of functionalities means users can manage projects, automate repetitive tasks, and communicate with team members without switching between different tools.

Additionally, Hive’s self-contained nature reduces the reliance on external integrations, which can sometimes be unstable and more prone to errors. 

Trello vs Slack: How to pick?

Trello and Slack, while both serving as pivotal tools in modern work environments, cater to distinctly different purposes.

Trello is primarily a project management tool that offers a visual and intuitive way to organize and track projects through boards and cards. It excels in task delegation, progress tracking, and providing a clear overview of project stages. Hence, it’s ideal for teams that need a structured approach to manage their workflows.

On the other hand, Slack focuses on enhancing team communication. It is a powerful tool for real-time messaging, file sharing, and integrating various work applications, which promotes swift and efficient team interactions. Slack’s strength lies in its ability to facilitate immediate communication, which is why it’s perfect for teams prioritizing ongoing dialogue and quick information exchange.

Alternatively, Hive presents a balanced approach, merging the strengths of both Trello and Slack. It offers robust project management features similar to Trello, such as task assignment and progress tracking, while also incorporating real-time communication tools akin to Slack. Hive’s platform is designed to improve team dynamics and efficiency by providing a unified solution for both project management and communication needs.

The choice between Trello and Slack should be based on your specific needs. Trello is an excellent choice if your priority is structured project management with visual task tracking. For teams needing a robust communication platform, Slack is more suitable.

However, if you’re looking for a tool that combines both features, providing a comprehensive solution for communication and project management, then Hive is an excellent option. Evaluate your team’s workflow and communication style to decide which tool best fits your requirements.


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About the author


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