Lark vs. Trello: Which project management tool is right for your business in 2023?

Lark vs. Trello: Which project management tool is right for your business in 2023?

Portrait of Jess Cheung Lark's Author
Portrait of Jess Cheung Lark's Author

Jess Cheung

June 4, 2023

6/4/23

Jun 4, 2023

6/4/23

6 min read

Whether it's delegating tasks to your teammates for a project or collaborating with stakeholders on a launch, project management tools ensure that your team track crucial deadlines and checks off all to-do boxes.

It can be challenging to choose the right tool that's most suitable for your team. In this blog post, we will discuss two popular platforms, Lark and Trello, along with their differences and the respective values that they bring to businesses.

What is Trello?

Overall, Lark and Trello both cover the project management space but greatly differ in comprehensibility, depth, and scalability. To begin, let's introduce each product and go into more detail about each platform:

First off, Trello, one of Atlassian's subproducts, is a task list-oriented project management tool primarily for office workers to meet deadlines. In Trello, users can create various Workspaces, which allow users to create Boards that house various lists, such as "to-do", "doing", or "done". Each list consists of Cards, where the Card represents the tasks and holds various information to get the task done, such as members, due date, description, attachments, and checklists. This board view is organized in a Kanban format, where you can see all the cards listed to help visualize flows of work.

trello kanban board, card organization

Trello is a very simple tool, focusing purely on project management through lists and Kanban-style boards. However, it's especially important for project management teams to also have more than just one project view to evaluate from various perspectives. Although Trello does offer other various ways to view the Board, such as Timeline View (tasks spanning across dates), Table view (spreadsheet-like format), and Calendar view (which includes third party calendars), all of these other formats are only available in the paid Trello Premium plan. Custom fields for each card are also a paid-only feature, so there's limited flexibility in types of data or information to include in each task.

Moreover, when it comes to organizing tasks, Trello does not have a built-out categorization and filtering system, making it difficult to find specific tasks in a sea of Cards and sorting them through categories like time or owner. As a result, Trello's simplistic structure can be challenging for frontline workers who need to access and filter information quickly. Trello is also not suitable for bigger teams who seek a scalable project management tool that easily adapts to complex projects.

What is Lark?

Lark is an all-in-one collaboration platform that offers project management tools, collaborative features, and communication channels that are friendly for all types of workers - whether you're working behind a desk or on the frontlines. When specifically comparing with Trello's project management tools, Lark's are more comprehensive, in-depth, and suitable for bigger teams, allowing you to easily digest huge data and task lists in a clean manner. For instance:

Lark's Task List allows users to easily categorize and create tasks to delegate to teammates. In a way, it's similar to Trello's Workspace in that it help teams meet deadlines and categorize task lists in Kanban view. However, Lark is able to handle much more heavy, complex tasks. With custom search filters and categorization, it's easy to find, organize, and sort through multiple tasks at once. Team members have more flexibility in what information to include into each task description and can create subtasks within tasks. Tasks are also seamlessly integrated into other areas of Lark - directly create tasks with coworkers within your chat groups and get message notifications for an approaching deadline.

lark task list, organize tasks, set owners and deadlines

Lark also has other tools to help with in-depth project management and organizing complex data. Similar to Trello's paid feature of Table view, Lark Base is an innovative sheet-based database that facilitates structured content organization. This feature is ideal for businesses with deskless teams, such as retail stores, construction sites, or warehouses required to build out customized apps. Base requires no code at all to build out dashboards and has multiple views like Gantt, Grid, and Gallery to help visualize project information in different ways (and they're free!). For instance, Gantt charts provide a visual representation of a project's timeline, enabling project managers to make informed decisions and keep the project on track. Without Gantt charts, it can be challenging to determine the critical path accurately, making it difficult to manage complex projects effectively.

lark base, create tasks, view progress through gantt chart structure

Lark helps you easily brainstorm with teams and visualize project management processes through collaborative mind maps. Plus, instead of having to organize your team's OKR's in a rigid task-life format through Trello, Lark OKR's feature is specifically dedicated to help your team manage and keep track of your OKR's so you can achieve your quarterly goals.

From comparing the two platforms, Trello is mainly a project management tool through creating task lists, and although it offers some collaboration features, they are quite limited. Trello works best for simpler projects with fewer tasks, smaller teams, and straightforward schedules. If your project involves complex workflows or larger teams, Trello may not be enough for your needs. On the other hand, Lark has more extensive project management features through Task List and Base, and also has key communication and collaboration tools to keep your project management needs moving in just one place (keep reading to learn more about these features!).

Plans: Pay less and get more with Lark

Running a business requires more than just project management tools — in order to communicate with others, chat, e-mail, and video conferencing subscriptions are also required. Lark and Trello both offer different pricing plans depending on the specific needs of organizations; however, in order to get all the functions your teams need, the actual bill you need to pay in order to get Trello up and running for your team can be larger than what's showcased on the pricing page. Lark offers the same features as Trello at a cheaper price.

pay less with lark to get more, trello is more expensive overall with chat, email, calendar, meetings, docs, and project management

On Lark, your business does not need to buy multiple tools to fulfill the growing needs and IT management can be simplified with just one paid plan. However, for Trello, you are highly likely to purchase another platform and spend time figuring out integrations. Trello's pricing can be expensive, especially if you need to upgrade to a paid plan for more features. If Trello is your main platform, the costs quickly add up when you need to fully run a business beyond project management and accommodate a larger team.

For example, in order to get a basic stack for a 100-employee company, a business might need to pay 400% more if they buy business plans for Trello + Airtable + Google Workspace + Slack, compared with if they go ahead with Lark's pro plan to still get all the functions the teams need. While the cost of each platform depends on the specific needs of the organization, Lark's pricing model for what each plan offers makes it an affordable, simple option for businesses looking for a comprehensive collaboration platform.

Suitable Teams: Lark is intuitive for both front and back offices and friendlier for bigger teams

80% of the world's workforce do their jobs without a desk; thus, it's important to use a collaboration platform that is both mobile and desktop friendly for both front and back offices. A simple user experience and interface plays a significant role in how easy it is to onboard your teams. An unintuitive platform can lead to a challenging experience and if teams can't get aboard with a collaboration platform, companies are wasting their IT budget by buying a tool that employees won't use.

Since Trello is strictly a board style with a rigid list structure, the interface may not be suitable for everyone — the Kanban system may not be the best way to manage all types of projects. It's also challenging to transfer all of your teams' materials onto this platform, since the Kanban style does not fit every project's composition. The unflexible structure is also not quite suitable for big teams — without an efficient sorting and categorization search, users would have to scroll through a swarm of tasks and Cards, which can be a huge hassle when working on the frontlines, onboarding new team members, or for managing detailed information like supplier procurement data.

trello kanban board

While Trello is mainly built for smaller project teams and desk workers, Lark centers every user's experience around collaboration and makes it easy to navigate for all teams. Despite all the features built into one app, everything is immediately accessible and displayed on the sidebar on desktop and at the bottom on mobile, making it intuitive for users to navigate and collaborate wherever they are. Project teams can still easily focus by creating project-specific chat groups, where project timelines, docs, boards, and more can be pinned as tabs for instant access.

Lark has a clean user interface, both on desktop and mobile, making it easy to use for both beginners and advanced users. Its design is sleek and modern, making it a pleasure to work with. It's so intuitive that you can onboard your teams in less than a day!

lark dashboard, analytical numbers, visualization

To work efficiently from anywhere, it's crucial to have a collaboration platform that is easy to use on both desktop and mobile devices. For instance, Lark's Base is a fantastic option for managing projects in the office using custom views and automated workflows. It is also mobile-friendly, making it suitable for a wide range of project types and businesses. For example, teams that work in the field often rely on mobile devices to submit reports, raise issues, or check numbers. With Lark's Base's form view, they can easily share this information in just a few taps, helping them stay connected with the team.

Plus, Lark has features specifically made to help with mobile work. Edit all of your documents on your phone, input data into Base forms, or share your documents while taking video meetings through your mobile device with Magic Share. And when taking meetings, Lark's voice-to-text transcription also makes it easy for users to take notes and communicate with their team without having to type.

Trello also has mobile apps available for iOS and Android devices like Lark, but the mobile app's functionality is limited compared to the desktop version. Not only is Trello's interface not as modern and intuitive, but the Kanban board system can also quickly become cluttered and difficult to navigate on smaller screens. As a result, it is challenging to see all the details of a project or visualizing workflows on mobile, especially for workers who are physically located at the office sites and rely on phones.

In addition, users are still required to also download multiple other apps to complete all work online: to conduct video meetings, users might need to download the Zoom app, making it challenging to take notes from going back and forth between apps. Overall, Trello's mobile app is a useful tool, but it may not be the best option for managing complex projects with many tasks or detailed workflows for scattered teams.

Collaboration: Lark empowers you to communicate with your teammates beyond tasks

A comprehensive project management software should provide more than just task management capabilities. Clear communication is crucial to ensure that a project is completed successfully and delivered on time — whether it is through docs, video meetings, audio calls, or chat. As more teams work remotely or from different locations, having communication tools like chat and video conferencing is also essential to ensure everyone stays connected and can collaborate effectively.

Although Trello positions itself as bringing teammates together, Trello may not be the best option for smooth project communication. Trello does not have chat or video conferencing integrated into their platform and while users can leave comments on the Cards to collaborate on tasks, they easily get lost in the swamp of lists. Purely relying on comments is not enough to ensure effective overall communication for the project, especially when it comes to connecting both frontline and desk workers. As a result, you would probably need to purchase an additional third-party tool, like Google Workspace or Zoom, to facilitate productive conversations.

However, Lark offers built-in chat function and meetings (at a cheaper price!) which is more suitable for teams that require more robust communication tools. With Lark, you can collaborate with your team using features such as chat, video conferencing, docs, email, and calendar all in just one app. This means that you don't have to switch between multiple tools to get work done, making it much more efficient to collaborate. Some Lark features that empower inter-team communication that Trello does not include are:

lark features include chat, video conferencing, docs, workflows, calendar, email, automatic translation, wiki

Compliance: both meet security standards

Lark complies with SOC 2 & SOC 3 standards, has secured multiple certifications across information security, privacy information management, cloud security, and cross-border security, and is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). More information on Lark's data security and compliance can be found in Lark Trust Center.

lark is soc2 and soc3 compliant and Lark's data is hosted on AWS

Trello has gained a similar series of certifications, too:

Conclusion

In conclusion, although Trello is a useful task tool, it may not be suitable for everyone's needs as it focuses on surface level project management needs and lacks communication tools necessary for successful collaboration. However, Lark helps with all facets of business. Lark's in-depth project management feature, collaborative tools, affordable pricing, and friendliness to both frontline and desk workers make it a more efficient way to manage your projects and teams. If you're looking for a comprehensive collaboration and project management platform, check out Lark today and sign up for free.

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