Kanban has become one of the favorite methods for workflow visualization and Lean management in general. Often, while looking for a digital Kanban solution, teams confuse Trello for such.
However, when they realize that there’s more to the method than moving cards across a board with columns, they start looking for an alternative.
Kanbanize is a next step Trello alternative that you can’t just pass by. However, before going deep into the “why”, let’s just see a quick comparison between the two platforms regarding the six core practices of Kanban:
|Limit work in progress||✔|
|Make policies explicit||✔|
|Establish feedback loops||✔||✔|
|Seek continuous improvement||✔|
From this table, you can understand that if you only seek the ability to visualize work items, both tools can serve you right. However, if you are looking for professional Kanban software, you need something better than Trello.
At this point, it is logical to ask yourself what is the difference between a professional Kanban software and one that covers a few of the practices. To answer it, we will use the Kanban maturity model as a reference. It breaks down the six core practices of Kanban into 7 organizational maturity levels and 132 sub-practices depending on how adept you are with it.
|Visualize an individual’s work by means of a personal Kanban board||✔||✔|
|Visualize basic work item related information on a ticket||✔||✔|
|Visualize work for several individuals by means of an aggregated personal Kanban board||✔|
|Visualize the work carried out by a team by means of a team Kanban board||✔||✔|
|Use avatars to visualize an individual’s workload||✔||✔|
|Visualize initial policies||✔|
|Visualize teamwork by means of an emergent workflow Kanban board||✔|
|Visualize work items on Kanban board with per-person WIP limits||✔|
|Visualize work types by means of card colors or board rows||✔|
|Visualize blocked work items||✔|
|Visualize development of options by means of a discovery Kanban board||✔||✔|
|Visualize individual workload on a discovery Kanban board by means of per-person WIP limits, potentially implemented using avatars||✔|
|Visualize basic policies||✔|
|Ticket design: Visualize concurrent or unordered activities with checkboxes||✔||✔|
|Ticket design: Visualize concurrent activities performed by specialist teams using partial rows||✔|
|Board design: Visualize sequential activities where no dependency or preferred sequence exists using rows or vertical spaces||✔|
|Visualize defects and other rework types||✔||✔|
|Visualize workflow by means of enhanced discovery/delivery boards||✔||✔|
|Visualize project progress on a portfolio Kanban board||✔|
|Visualize “ready to commit” status, also known as “ready to pull”||✔||✔|
|Visualize “ready to pull” criteria, also known as “definition of ready”, “entry criteria”||✔||✔|
|Visualize workflow and teamwork items on one Kanban board||✔|
|Visualize project work items on a two-tiered project Kanban board||✔|
|Visualize parent-child and peer-peer dependencies||✔|
|Use parking lot to visualize dependent work requests of another service or system currently waiting or blocked||✔|
|Visualize upstream options by means of an upstream/discovery Kanban board||✔||✔|
|Visualize discarded options using a bin on an upstream/ discovery Kanban board||✔||✔|
|Visualize replenishment signals||✔|
|Visualize pull signals||✔||✔|
|Visualize pull criteria (also known as “pull policies”, “definition of ready”, “exit criteria”)||✔|
|Visualize available capacity||✔|
|Visualize work item aging||✔|
|Visualize target date or SLA||✔||✔|
|Visualize failure demand versus value demand|
|Visualize aborted work||✔||✔|
|Visualize class of service using ticket colors, board rows or ticket decorators||✔|
|Use Earned Value portfolio Kanban board to visualize project progress and schedule or budget risk||✔|
|Visualize local cycle time|
|Use ticket decorators to indicate risks||✔|
|Visualize risk classes with different swimlanes||✔|
Trello is a fantastic tool for getting started with Kanban visualization. However, as your team matures, you will inevitably feel some limitations. For example, you won’t be able to visualize blocked items, create flexible board layout, nor make classes of service transparent.
If you are already at this stage and are looking for a Trello alternative to facilitate more advanced Kanban implementation, Kanbanize won’t disappoint you.
|Establish personal WIP limits||✔|
|Establish per person WIP limits||✔|
|Establish team WIP limits||✔||✔|
|Establish activity based WIP limits||✔|
|Establish CONWIP limits on emergent workflow||✔|
|Use an order point (min limit) for upstream replenishment||✔|
|Use a max limit to define capacity||✔|
|Bracket WIP limits for different states||✔|
Limiting work in progress allows you to focus team capacity on what is already started before engaging with new tasks. This is Kanban’s primary way of optimizing efficiency, so you will definitely need functionalities related to limiting it.
A quick look at all the different ways to do so in the table above gives you an instant answer why Kanbanize is better than Trello for practicing Kanban. So, if you are ready to take the next step you should carefully consider your options.
|Define work types based on the nature of tasks||✔|
|Define work types based on customer requests||✔|
|Map upstream and downstream flow||✔||✔|
|Manage blocking issues||✔|
|Manage defects and other rework types||✔|
|Organize around the knowledge discovery process|
|Use a cumulative flow diagram to monitor queues||✔|
|Report rudimentary flow efficiency to understand the value of reducing buffers and the leverage of eliminating sources of delay||✔|
|Collect and report detailed flow efficiency analysis||✔|
|Determine the reference class data set||✔|
|Forecast using reference classes, Monte Carlo simulations and other models||✔|
|Allocate capacity across swimlanes|
|Allocate capacity by the color of a work item|
|Make appropriate use of forecasting||✔|
|Assess forecasting models for robustness|
Managing flow can easily be considered as managing process efficiency. To do so you need a variety of features for measuring the stability of your process, forecasting, managing work types.
What really makes Kanbanize stand out as a next step alternative to Trello is the ability to break down a project and manage dependencies between tasks.
Making Policies Explicit
|Define personal Kanban policies||✔|
|Define Initial Policies||✔|
|Define initial services||✔||✔|
|Elaborate further policies||✔|
|Define blocking issue escalation policies||✔|
|Define policies for managing defects and other rework types||✔|
|Establish initial request acceptance policies||✔|
|Define work request abandonment policies||✔|
|Establish replenishment commitment point||✔|
|Establish pull criteria||✔|
|Establish a delivery commitment point||✔|
|Define classes of service||✔|
|Collect and report detailed flow efficiency analysis||✔|
|Establish demand shaping policies|
Process policies are your workflow’s law. The more clear you make them, the easier for your team to follow them and perform in the best possible way. Trello is more suitable for personal use, rather than advanced Kanban implementation.
Kanbanize is a logical next step alternative to Trello as it has a plethora of features for advanced process management with Kanban, which allows you to implement all but two of the above-listed practices.
Establish Feedback Loops
|Ability to leave comments||✔||✔|
To get you up to speed quickly, we have developed an onboarding process in Kanbanize that will walk you get you started with the platform when you create an account.
In addition, our team is always ready to assist so just drop us a message and we will contact you shortly.
If you only seek the ability to visualize work items, Trello can serve you just right. However, if you are looking for an alternative to help you implement the Kanban method to its full extent, Kanbanize is equipped with all you need to go to the next level. Try it out for free and feel the difference.