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Kanban Software Guide | How to Choose the Best Tool for Your Team

Choosing the right Kanban tool can be challenging. Get insightful tips and discover the benefits of introducing Kanban software for project or workflow management.

Kanban software solutions can help you gain better work visibility and foster team collaboration. Thanks to their added functionalities like tracking, limiting work in progress, reporting, forecasting, and more, they will help you attain continual process improvement.kanban board selection guide

Kanban Software - What to Look for?

Physical boards are a fantastic way to get started with Kanban. However, in the long run, digital Kanban tools offer a much more convenient and time-saving solution due to their many helpful build-in features.

Kanban software tools enable you to visualize, organize, and manage work in the most efficient way. With a Kanban tool you can easily cut waste activities, automate your work processes, and focus on work that brings real value to your customers.

Advantages of Kanban software for project management:

  • Accessible from everywhere
  • Suitable for remote teams
  • Immediate updates/Changes go live
  • Share attachments

Finding the best Kanban tools that fit your needs may be a time consuming exercise. So here is what to look for when trying to discover the best Kanban apps:

  • Adaptability, swimlanes, limiting work in progress, columns flexibility
  • Attaching files, assigning tasks, link tasks
  • Analytics/Reporting
  • Automation
  • Integrations

Some of the Best Kanban Software Solutions

Without further suspense, here are some of the top Kanban project management software solutions you can use. Keep in mind that some of them are more suitable for personal use, while others can also be applied on a team and company level.

Kanbanize

This is a powerful Kanban project management software in the category. The platform is equipped with a number of features that allow you to plan, organize, and track work on a team and company level. You can take advantage of the powerful analytics module and automate your processes thanks to the business rules engine. The software is extremely flexible and supports almost any use-case, plus it integrates with some of the most useful digital tools such as Google Drive, Slack, GitHub, GitLab, Power BI, and more.

Organize Work, Keep Track of Projects

And Optimize Your Workflow.

Jira

With Jira, you can easily organize and track tasks. You can use the software to capture issues, assign work, and follow team activity. You can also generate different reports with Jira. However most of them are Scrum oriented, such as Burndown charts, Burn Up charts, sprint reports, etc. Even though limited, you can also use a couple of rules to streamline your team's workflow and automate some activities.

*see how Kanbanize compares to Jira

Asana

This is a flexible software solution for workflow management. You can customize your workflow on a Kanban board, depending on your team's specific needs, and keep track of what's most important. Your team can also see real-time updates, plus you can create task dependencies. Additionally, Asana integrates with various useful digital tools.

*see how Kanbanize compares to Asana

Trello

Trello is known for being user-friendly and allowing visitors to start and understand its functionalities within a few minutes. Teams can structure and customize Trello to fit their specific requirements and work processes. Probably one of the most significant benefits of Trello is that it integrates with over 100 digital tools. This Kanban project management software is suitable for individual users or small teams who are new to Kanban.

*see how Kanbanize compares to Trello

Flow-e

Тhis is a new generation Kanban project management tool great for personal usage or small teams. The idea of Flow-e is to plan and execute your projects without even leaving your inbox. The app converts your Outlook inbox into a Kanban board and helps you manage emails and tasks in a much efficient way. Furthermore, you can delegate tasks, create and track projects, and more.

*Learn more about Flow-e

These are just a few examples that can help you build the perfect Kanban board. Actually, with Kanban software tools, you can create many different boards that cover the needs of different teams. So, keep reading to learn more.

Optimize Your Workflow with Kanban Software

Getting started with Kanban software is a bit different than operating a physical board. The first thing that makes a strong impression is that you can edit your board with just a few clicks.Kanban Software - Workflow customization

You can also put as much information you need into Kanban cards and leave comments inside to keep communication between stakeholders visible all the time. Also, the cards have added functionalities like the ability to set deadlines, choosing between a wide variety of card colors to distinguish tasks, history logs, etc.

Kanban Board Examples to Explore

As mentioned earlier, making changes to a digital Kanban board is far easier than correcting a physical one. You can add as many columns and swimlanes as you need and often experiment with different layouts to improve your workflow continuously.

As different teams require different boards and each one has its specific process steps, you will save valuable time from redrawing columns.
To illustrate the difference between boards for separate teams, let’s look at multiple examples:

Engineering Board

Engineering Assembly Kanban Board

The structure of an engineering board can vary greatly, depending on the specifics of the industry.  As in the example above, one board often is used to visualize multiple workflows of interdependent teams. Visualizing the work of “Engineering” and “Assembly” together gives a clear overview of the status of different work items and ultimately increases the level of transparency in the company. Adding and removing columns and swimlanes should occasionally happen to keep your board in sync with the actual tasks that team members process.

It is common to have different swimlanes for the different types of work, and columns may vary for each swimlane. Having the ability to change the layout with just a few clicks will be appreciated by the process owner.

Software development boardSoftware development board example

Development boards are typically built around 3 key process stages:

  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing

Depending on the team, such boards may have 5 to 15 specific columns for the different steps in each stage. As your team advances with Kanban, you will surely have to make multiple changes, and a Kanban project management software solution will make this a lot easier because all you need to do is click a few times to correct the board.

*Discover more Kanban board examples

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Project Manager’s Guide to Kanban

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Planning Work with Kanban Software

Planning is an inevitable part of any work process no matter how much we (Kanban practitioners) dislike it. Just like any other aspect of our work, Kanban can help us become more efficient in planning.

This is done through a pair of tools:

Kanban board planning

The backlog is a section that is rarely present on physical boards, but it is a common functionality of contemporary Kanban software solutions. You can break it down into multiple columns representing time frames (This quarter, This Month, etc.). This way you can plan work for the near future.

Within an online Kanban tool, you can also make informed forecasts, not just wild estimations. With the help of Monte Carlo Simulations, you can run a data-based calculation to see how likely it is to finish the items in your backlog as planed. With a physical board, this is nearly impossible as these simulations use workflow data on past cycle time and throughput to generate forecasts.

*Discover more about Kanban planning

Lead Time vs Cycle Time

When selecting Kanban software for your team, make sure your tool of choice lets you collect and analyze Lead and Cycle Time. These are two of the most important Lean and Kanban metrics. At first, people tend to confuse cycle time and lead time and therefore fail to measure them properly.

Lead time

Lead time starts when a work item is requested (not started) and ends at the moment it is delivered to the market.

Cycle time

Cycle time is all the accumulated time from the moment a team member starts working on that item to the moment it is delivered to the market.

Measuring lead and cycle time seems like an easy job - you can do it by counting the days a Kanban card spends on your board. However, to improve your process you need to count the metrics for a large number of assignments and calculate average values so you know where you are and where you want to get.

Doing this by hand is possible, but quite unnecessary and most of all time-consuming. This is another process you can automate by introducing Kanban software with integrated analytics.

 

This article summarizes the essential knowledge you need to obtain about Kanban software solutions. If you are hungry for more information, check out our dedicated articles below.

Organize Work, Keep Track of Projects

And Optimize Your Workflow.

 

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Step 1

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Step 2

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Step 3

Practical Kanban Board Examples

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Kanban: Lead Time vs Cycle Time

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