Kanban is a proven method for effectively managing projects. But the best Kanban tools for project management are far more than a couple of virtual boards you move cards between.
Instead, they also have powerful functionality that helps you streamline your work. They clarify who is working on certain tasks, highlight work-in-progress, and even let you automate some manual tasks.
In this article, I’ll introduce some of my favorite Kanban tools and highlight what makes them so special.
Here’s the list of the best Kanban board tools that I’ll cover in this article.
What do I look for when I select the best Kanban software? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI): A good UI makes building and managing Kanban boards an intuitive process. It also helps you quickly generate insight into the status of your projects.
Usability: You use a Kanban board to simplify workflow management. But this won’t happen if the tool is always getting in your way. All the tools on this list are easy-to-use.
Integrations: Your Kanban board will benefit from integrating with the other tools you use in your projects. Messaging and cloud storage integrations are particularly helpful.
Value for $: The tools on the list have a variety of pricing options, but most start at under $10 per user per month. This makes them accessible for the majority of businesses and teams.
Kanban Board: Key Features
The Kanban method is a relatively simple way to manage work. But, most Kanban tools offer extra functionality that make them some of the best product management tools available. Here are some of the most useful features to look out for.
Drag-and-drop: Your Kanban board should allow you to drag-and-drop cards to the relevant board whenever your task progresses.
Multiple views: Many of the Kanban tools on this list allow you to view the data in other ways, such as calendars or Gantt charts.
Automation: Some of the Kanban tools allow you to automate tasks. You can automatically notify team members when they are assigned a task or mark boards as complete once all checklist items are checked off.
Dashboards: Dashboards and analytics provide an overview of your team’s work. You can see which tasks are behind, who has the capacity to do more, and the percentage of tasks that are complete.
Work in Progress limits: One of the key features of Kanban is that you can set up Work in Progress (WIP) limits that restrict how many tasks an individual or team can work on at any one time. This helps you manage capacity and ensure that people aren’t overwhelmed.
Extras: Many of the tools have extras that help teams with specific needs. Look out for time tracking, invoicing, and team chat.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Kanban Tools for Product Management
Here’s a brief description of each Kanban software solution to showcase the tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the user interface.
1. monday.com – Flexible work management with Kanban functionality
Monday.com is a work management platform that allows you to build dashboards that streamline work processes. Kanban functionality is central to the tool and it’s easy to set up boards to manage projects.
You can create boards for all stages of product management using the tool’s drag-and-drop builder. You can then create and move tasks across the board as work gets done. It’s easy to add notes, tags, and assign people to each task.
The boards have all the advanced features you need to keep projects on track. You can set up automation to take care of manual tasks like notifying relevant people in other tools when a task moves to a different board. This plus commenting and messaging functionality make Monday.com a great collaboration tool.
I also like the dashboard features. These take data from the Kanban board and display it in new ways to help you generate insight. For example, you can see each team member’s workload and the overall progress of each task.
Kanban is just a small part of Monday’s offering. You can also organize work in sheets, Gantt charts, and calendar views. And the tool integrates with many popular business tools such as Teams, Dropbox, Slack, Github, and Zoom.
Pricing starts at $8 per seat. To access automation you’ll need the $10 per seat plan. You can sign up for a free trial on the website.
2. Wrike – Kanban and work management software with plenty of extras
Wrike is project management software that lets you create dashboards for many use cases. It has powerful Kanban features that work seamlessly with its other features.
All the basic functionality is easy to set up and use. You can create boards, manage task progress, add deadlines, and assign work items to team members. Anyone in your team can attach further information to tasks to keep people informed.
The Kanban boards can interact with the other features on Wrike. For example, when you add or change a task deadline, it will sync to your team calendar so everyone stays up to date.
Or you can use the tool’s time-tracking software to gain visibility into how long people spend on a task. You can also view data in the tool across various dashboards to manage workload and track task or project progress.
Wrike integrates with a ton of tools in areas including CRM, messaging, BI, development, and file storage. The tool has a pretty generous free plan for up to five users. Paid plans start at $9.80 per user per month and add more integrations and storage.
SwiftKanban is a dedicated Kanban tool with plenty of basic and advanced features.
Setting up boards is as easy as moving and editing tasks. I also like that you can create templates for new cards and then configure them as needed. This is a useful way to optimize tasks that you have to do repeatedly. You can also add to-do lists to each card so it is clear what has to be done before the task is complete.
SwiftKanban makes it possible to link cards to create task dependencies. You’ll clearly see how each task relates to the others on your board, which highlights bottlenecks and lets you prioritize tasks that are blocking progress.
The tool also has powerful analytics features you can use to measure work. The cumulative flow diagram helps you track work progress and make estimates about upcoming tasks. Meanwhile, the time reports show information about card completion, such as how long it takes to complete tasks on average.
SwiftKanban integrates with 60 plus enterprise tools including those from Atlassian, Microsoft, and IBM. The Microsoft Teams integration is super useful as it lets you access the board within a Teams tab—you don’t have to leave the messaging tool to view the board.
You can also access further integrations through SOAP and REST API access. SwiftKanban doesn’t publicize pricing, but you can sign up for a free trial on the website.
4. Smartsheet – Sheet-based tool with Kanban functionality
Smartsheet is workspace software with plenty of features to help you manage projects, including Kanban boards.
The tool is based around sheets, and Kanban is one of four views it has available. The boards have drag-and-drop functionality so it’s easy to move tasks around. And there are plenty of visual customization options you can use to clearly highlight crucial task information.
One feature I like is the customizable dashboards. If you have multiple sheets, you can view data from them in a single place. This makes it easy to see key information from across your entire project.
The tool has automation features that allow you to set up alerts or create reports. It also integrates with plenty of other tools software development teams use in areas including messaging, data visualization, content creation, and automation.
Smartsheet pricing starts at $9 per user per month. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial on the website.
5. Kanban Zone – Kanban tool that lets you connect multiple boards
Kanban Zone is a dedicated Kanban tool with all the features you need to manage projects. It aims to get the balance between simple Kanban to-do lists and a complex work management solution.
The Portfolio Kanban methodology is central to achieving this. This is a system that allows you to create multiple boards and then connect them to help you visualize work across your organization. You can then trace how the workflows through your business.
Here’s an example of this in action. Imagine that one task in your product release board is to build a new feature. This is then connected to another board that contains all the work you need to do to create this specific functionality.
You can also use Swimlanes to further separate and streamline your workflows. With this in place, you can better see how different tasks relate to each other and build flows without any disruptions.
While this can be complicated to set up, Kanban Zone provides users with a coach to help set up the boards in a way that works for your organization.
Kanban Zone offers some integration via Zapier, the Kanban Zone API, or webhooks. Pricing for the pro plan starts at $10 per user per month. There’s also an individual plan for $6.25 per month and a free 30-day trial.
6. Kanbanize – Flexible Kanban tool that lets you create board networks
Kanbanize is agile project management software based around Kanban boards. It allows you to create anything from a single board to complex structures that display all the work going on in your organization.
The main feature is that you can create a network of connected boards. These can expand horizontally across teams or vertically across management levels, helping your organization get a clear view of how work is progressing. You can also create workflows across each level, making it easy to manage tasks dependencies and stop bottlenecks.
Another cool feature is sub-columns. This lets you split each part of your Kanban board into different stages. For example, you can view your “in progress” column based on the tasks being performed by each team or department so you know what these groups are working on.
The tool integrates with plenty of other tools. These include cloud storage tools like Google Drive and BI tools like Tableau and Data Studio. It also has an import option to bring in data from other project management tools like Trello, Leankit, and Asana.
Kanbanize pricing starts at $179 per month for up to 15 users. You can also sign up for a free trial on the website.
Teamwork is a project management tool with Kanban board functionality and features designed specifically for client work. It helps you manage projects with both your internal team and outside collaborators like freelancers and clients.
You can view each project in a table, Kanban, list, or Gantt chart view. The Kanban board has all the features you expect such as the ability to create multiple boards, assign team members to tasks, and use drag-and-drop Kanban cards.
There are plenty of features specifically designed to help agencies. For example, you can give clients access to the board for free. The tool also has templates you can use to get new clients onboarded quickly. There are also built-in invoicing and time-tracking tools.
Teamwork integrates with a ton of tools including Slack and Hubspot. You can also link up with Zapier for further integrations. There’s also a Teamwork chat app for desktop and mobile that integrates closely with the platform.
The tool starts at $10 per user per month when billed annually. You can use Teamwork for free for 30 days or sign up for the free plan, which has basic features for up to five users.
8. Project Manager – Project management tool with Kanban and Gantt functionality
Project Manager is a work management tool designed for hybrid teams. It has features for project planning, team collaboration, managing tasks, and time tracking. The Kanban system helps with the task management section.
It’s easy to create task boards and cards. You can customize them by adding files, deadlines, notes, or assigning users. Each card has a progress bar that highlights how near to completion the work is. And you can add tags to set whether each task is high or low priority.
There are plenty of advanced features too. You can track hours within each task in real-time which is perfect for agencies that need to track billable hours or companies that want to better manage workload. You can also filter tasks which is useful if you have a lot of work going on and need to see a particular section.
The tool has advanced reporting features. You can see metrics like how many tasks you have at each stage of development, task backlog, the percentage of tasks in each project that are complete, and whether any tasks are ahead or behind schedule.
You can integrate Project Manager with Slack, Trello, Jira, and plenty of other products. Premium plans start at $14 per user per month, and you can try it for free before purchasing.
9. Trello – Kanban tool with easy-to-use workflow automation features
Trello is an easy-to-use task management tool with plenty of features to help you get work done. Setting up your board is easy, and the UI looks great. It’s easy to customize task cards with the information you need such as subtask checklists, notes, fields, deadlines, and assignees. You can also use some of the tool’s existing templates to get started faster.
I really like how easy it is to set up automation on Trello using if/then instructions. Just write the trigger and the action into the automation tool, and the workflow will occur whenever a relevant action happens. A simple example is that you can tell Trello to automatically move a card to the finished board when every item in a checklist is ticked off.
Trello integrates with plenty of other tools, such as Dropbox for storage and Slack for notifications. You can set up automation with these tools too, such as automatically alerting relevant people in Slack when they are assigned a task. And you can access mobile apps on iOS and Android.
There’s a free plan that lets you create up to ten boards without limiting users. Paid plans start at $6 and allow you to create unlimited boards, use advanced features, and set up more automation.
10. ClickUp – Project management and Kanban tool with the ability to reorganize boards
ClickUp is a flexible workplace tool you can use to build workflows and dashboards for many use cases. It allows you to organize your work in a Kanban board view, as well as Gantt, calendar views, and mind maps.
One cool feature is that you can change the columns to see your work in different ways. The column can show tasks based on their stage, like a regular Kanban board. Or you can switch it up so the columns show work by task assignee, due date, or any tags you have assigned.
Another feature I like is that you can view data from multiple boards in a single view. Imagine you have a separate board for part of the project management process. Single views allow you to see information from all these separate boards in one place.
ClickUp plans start at $9 per user per month. This gives you unlimited storage and users. Plans go up to $29 per month. There’s also a free plan and a free trial you can use to test the software.
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