Kanban methodology started with paper cards pinned to a physical board. Over 80 years later, the Kanban software you choose for your business should help you:

  • Maintain a real-time visual overview of your project that makes it simpler to manage and assign tasks
  • Easily access and discuss the details of the jobs in your workflow 
  • Build a flexible framework that’s custom designed for the outputs your team produces
  • Speed up your workflow by helping you prioritize and automate your work

If you’re looking for Kanban software, you’ve probably already heard of Trello — but this platform is definitely not the final word in Kanban methodology, and it’s not the most scalable option for larger teams or more complex workflows. 

Here, we’re going to explain the benefits of a truly robust Kanban tool, show you the features that can help you take your workflows to the next level, and give you a broader overview of the Kanban software on the market today. 

The first tool we'll look at is our work management platform, Wrike, which includes customizable, automated Kanban boards for effortless task tracking and communication, however complex your workflow becomes. 

Key benefits of Kanban software

Kanban boards are often associated with Agile project management, scrums, sprints, and software development teams. But this method of visualizing workflows has advantages for teams in every industry. 

For example, every Kanban board should: 

  • Increase focus with an overview that reduces clutter, shows your work in progress, and helps your team prioritize their tasks
  • Centralize information by keeping all your tasks and the data associated with them in one accessible dashboard
  • Reduce emails and check-ins by helping you view your project progress at a glance, creating more time for uninterrupted creative work
  • Streamline task intake and approval to give you — and your clients — a great experience
  • Report on your team’s performance so you can improve your workflow or resource allocation and help future projects run more smoothly

Most Kanban apps can do a few of these things successfully, but many of them struggle to provide all the information in real time, in detail, or across different teams. 

Plus, although clarifying complex workflows is one of the main advantages of the Kanban method, the best tools need to combine an uncluttered interface with robust task tracking and communication features behind the scenes. The bottom line is that many Kanban software options aren’t powerful enough to manage complex projects, because they can’t provide this combination of features. 

For example, Trello is synonymous with Kanban, but the platform is not well suited to cross-team projects. Its native reporting is limited and you can’t complete resource planning or basic tasks like time tracking without using an external integration. 

When you need a Kanban tool that ticks all the boxes, try Wrike. We create detailed and dynamic Kanban boards for 2.4 million users in over 20,000 companies.

1. Wrike: The best Kanban system, built on comprehensive work management data 

Wrike is an award-winning work management platform that builds, tracks, and automates workflows and centralizes the latest data on all tasks your team is working on. 

When you manage your projects in Wrike, you create a central source of truth for your team. Then, we use this real-time information to power the Kanban boards that keep them on track.product screenshot of wrike board view on aqua backgroundFrom the lists you use in your Kanban board to the notifications that keep your team in the loop, Wrike is completely customizable. You can tailor your Kanban boards to your team’s requirements, however complex your projects become. 

This gives you some clear advantages over the other Kanban software on the market. 

Custom Kanban design for your unique team

Let’s look at how the key components of your Kanban board come together in Wrike. 

Create custom lists to map your workflow 

Your Kanban lists represent the different statuses your tasks move through as they progress through your workflow. For example, in a simple Kanban board, you might add new work items to a “Backlog” column. They could move to “In Progress,” then “In Review,” and finally “Completed” or “Published” when the work is done. 

With more basic Kanban board software, these lists can feel arbitrary. For example, if your product development team needs to put their outputs through multiple levels of testing and approval, a simple “Review” column won’t give you an accurate picture of how much work still needs to go into the task. But when you generate your Kanban board in Wrike, the columns reflect the custom task statuses you’ve created for your workflow. With libraries of custom item types and easy editing, your Kanban board can reflect the work that’s actually taking place — and your tasks fit into it perfectly.

product screenshot of wrike custom statuses on aqua backgroundAdd your Kanban cards

One of the main drawbacks of simple Kanban project management software is the lack of detail on the task cards. They can have limited space, and some platforms restrict the size of the files you can attach to the cards. This can leave you signposting users to different platforms when they need to know about the work the card represents. 

In Wrike, your tasks have plenty of space for crucial information like task ownership, due dates, and status, as well as descriptions, file attachments, checklists, links, and a history of the discussions and changes that task has been through.It’s also incredibly easy to assign your tasks once you’ve created them. Just open the task, click on the “Assignee” option, and type the name (or names) of the Wrike users you want to delegate to. We’ll automatically share the task and send them a notification to let them know.

The team at Frontline Education has been able to increase their marketing workload by 20% with Wrike. 

With Wrike, we’re able to create statuses that are really meaningful and tell us a story of where a task or a project is. Ultimately, that allows us to better communicate to management and leadership.

Sean Amster, Digital Strategy and Operations Manager

Update your board 

Once you’ve built your lists and columns, you’ll need a system to keep your Kanban board up to date. Some Kanban software requires you to manually drag and drop your tasks when you’re ready — just like with the physical cards in the early days of Kanban. 

In contrast, Wrike can fully automate your Kanban board. Whenever one of your team members updates the status of a task, its card will move across the board. We’ll also send an automated notification to let your team know. 

For example, if a task moves toward completion, Wrike can alert the person responsible for proofing and approval so they can start reviewing the work straight away. Or, if changes are requested, the task card can move back to an earlier stage in the workflow, with requested edits tagged to the person responsible for them.gif of wrike proofing process

As well as keeping your task cards in the correct column, updating your Kanban board can mean optimizing it for your upcoming projects. With Wrike, it’s also easy to change the structure of your Kanban board (for example, adding or removing lists, color coding your columns, or assigning cards to teams rather than individuals), as you learn more. 

With Wrike, you can also easily collect data, thanks to time tracking and project dashboards. This data can feed into automatically generated reports, saving you even more time. 

product screenshot of wrike dashboards on aqua backgroundIdentify and avoid roadblocks

One of the main advantages of the Kanban method is the top-level overview of your task progress. If a task has spent a long time in a certain column or there’s a logjam of tasks waiting to move across to the next status, you know you have a problem — like a bottleneck, a lack of resources, or an unrealistic deadline — to address.

With these essential Wrike features, you can ease the flow of work across your Kanban boards at every stage of the workflow.

  • Work in progress limits for continual forward progress: When you limit work in progress (WIP) — putting a cap on the number of open tasks a team member can have — you keep the focus on completing tasks and make it easier to manage your resources. 
  • Request forms to prevent delays during intake: Kicking off a task with a Wrike request form means you gather all the information your team needs, so they can begin work as soon as a new task appears in the Kanban board. 

gif of wrike request form

  • Shared folders to eliminate information silos: In Wrike, you can cross-tag tasks, files, and folders so they appear in multiple workspaces. Every team can view the latest information in their Kanban or team dashboard, and you eliminate delays where you’re waiting for updated files to be sent. 
  • AI risk management reports to keep your project on schedule: Our industry-leading Work Intelligence® model identifies the tasks at risk of missing a deadline and generates suggestions to help get you back on track. 
  • Integrations for a smooth experience: Wrike works seamlessly with over 400 apps, including Slack and Google Drive.

With these features in play, Wrike becomes an incredibly collaborative workflow management system. You gain clarity, encourage suggestions from your team, and make it easier to keep on top of the risks and roadblocks your project comes up against. 

With Wrike, teams eliminate unnecessary internal communications and still deliver results faster. For example, the Marketing Architects team is working 40% more efficiently and completing projects 25% faster. Brief Media has reduced internal emails by 15–20% and increased on-time delivery by 50%. And Fitbit has slashed 400 hours of meeting time per year by using Wrike for feedback and reviews. 

Make huge projects manageable

The comprehensive project roadmap you create in Wrike means you can take on more complex projects with confidence. 

Remember, our Kanban boards are connected to all the data about the work you track in Wrike. Your cards are not just task titles, they’re an invaluable source of data on the assignees, subtasks, task dependencies, and the resources you’re using. 

Alongside your Kanban board, this gives you a deeper understanding of the way your team is working. For example, you can switch easily from Wrike’s Board (Kanban) view to:

gif of wrike board view (kanban board and gantt chart)

Switching from views can help you uncover insights as you understand the dats from multiple angles. 

However you choose to view the data, Wrike can help you find the right combination of oversight and granular detail. You can maintain a bird’s-eye view and then quickly drill down into the history of a task when you have to explain an increase in your cycle time, a missed milestone, or a rejected approval. 

For the Texas Rangers marketing team, Wrike’s dashboards have eliminated some of the stress of the massive projects they undertake — including branding the 1.2 million square feet of space they had to fill at Globe Life Field. 

Author avatar

Wrike helps us work confidently, having that comfort of knowing I’m not forgetting a project in an email or spreadsheet. It assures me that a project isn’t slipping through the cracks.

Kyle Bartlett, Director of Marketing and Advertising

Ready-made templates

To help you set up your first board in a few simple steps, Wrike includes a Kanban project template. This template is scalable and flexible, and we’ve designed it to help you focus on your flow, spot roadblocks, and identify areas for improvement.product screenshot of wrike board view on aqua backgroundTo get up and running, simply: 

  • Define your workflow to decide on the columns in Wrike’s Board view. This template comes with five sample stages to get started: 
    • To-Do
    • Doing 
    • Done
    • Canceled
    • Backlogged
  • Add cards that represent actionable tasks to each stage. This template includes some sample tasks you can rename, delete, or take as inspiration for your own custom work items. 
  • Invite your team to Wrike and add them as assignees to the tasks. 

Read more about designing a workflow here: How to build a project management workflow.

Ready to try this template in Wrike? Find out how to install the Kanban project template or sign up for your free trial.

Free Kanban tool for Microsoft users 

2. Microsoft Planner

Teams that use an enterprise version of Microsoft 365 can access the Microsoft Planner app at no extra cost. Alongside features to help you list your tasks, create project plans, and track the tasks taking place across different Microsoft apps, Planner includes visualizations like Gantt charts, personalized day and task views, and a detailed Kanban board.

Planner can also use the information tracked in the Kanban board to generate diagrams like pie charts and bar graphs based on the task statuses, so users have an easy way to view the areas where they’re on track (and where they might be falling behind). 

However, if your team isn’t already subscribing to Microsoft 365, it’s unlikely that Planner will be the first tool you consider, as you’d miss out on a lot of the work management benefits you’d gain from syncing with the other apps. 


  • Included in Microsoft 365 
  • Planner Plan 1: $10 per user per month 
  • Project Plan 3: $30 per user per month 
  • Project Plan 5: $55 per user per month 
  • One-time purchase also available


Capterra gives Microsoft Planner a 4.3 rating, and it scores 4.2 on G2. 

Freemium software: Kanban only

3. Kanban Tool 

Kanban Tool is a stripped-back, task-tracking platform. For users who are only interested in their Kanban cards, this tool includes boards and time tracking without additional complications. The uncluttered visualization is designed to make it easy to collaborate with your team and share boards with clients so they can maintain an overview of the progress on their brief. 

This platform includes some analytics — like report generation and charts — and there’s also an AI assistant to help put Kanban boards together. This feature will suggest tasks and checklists to help break them down. 

Although you might only be looking for a basic tool, it’s important to know that the free version of Kanban Tool is very basic. The free version only includes two boards, for example, and you won’t be able to attach files to cards without upgrading to a Team or Enterprise plan.


  • Free plan: For up to two users with two boards 
  • Team plan: $6 per user per month 
  • Enterprise plan: $11 per user per month 
  • 14-day free trial


Kanban Tool is rated 4.4 on TrustPilot and 4.7 on Capterra.

4. Kanban Flow

Like Kanban Tool, KanbanFlow creates back-to-basics Kanban project overviews, but without some of the additional visualizations and project management tools included in the other platforms on this list. 

As standard, KanbanFlow includes the WIP limits that encourage a team to finish tasks instead of starting new ones, which should help increase productivity. And because the focus is on concentrated work, it also includes a Pomodoro timer

If a team finds their KanbanFlow boards are becoming too cluttered, they can filter the cards to restore a cleaner review. There’s also a swimlane option to divide tasks by subteams, but this is only included in the Premium plan. Integrations, reporting, and file attachments are also reserved for paid users. 


  • Free-forever plan 
  • Premium plan: $5 per user per month
  • 14-day free trial 


Capterra rates KanbanFlow 4.5, while TrustRadius gives it 8.5 out of 10. 

Freemium task management software with Kanban views

5. MeisterTask

MeisterTask is a task management tool with a Gantt-style project timeline feature and Kanban boards. Users can create workflows, track their work, and generate quick reports on how their tasks are progressing across their boards. 

Like Wrike, this platform includes a built-in time tracker, which informs the reports. For a faster setup, you can import tasks from other tools like Asana, Trello, and Wunderlist. 

MeisterTask has a free-forever plan for single users. This plan creates customizable boards for up to three projects and includes a quick reports feature. However, the free plan lacks some useful features, including WIP limits, detailed custom reports, and automation features that can speed up a workflow. 


  • Basic plan: Free for single users
  • Pro plan: $13 per user per month (billed annually) 
  • Business plan: $25 per user per month (billed annually)
  • Custom enterprise pricing 


MeisterTask is rated 4.6 on G2 and 4.7 on Capterra. 

6. Miro 

Miro is another platform where teams can create a “visual workspace” to formalize their task management. Their options for diagrams and process maps include flow charts, mind maps, and Kanban boards. Miro users create cards with information like task status, assignee, and due date. They can then use their cards in their project boards or track them through a Kanban framework.  

Miro is designed for teams to brainstorm ideas and then convert them into actionable tasks. Users can create sticky notes — either on an online whiteboard or by digitizing photos of handwritten notes — and then convert them to cards for the Kanban board. 

Miro’s free-forever plan includes some preset templates, core integrations, and three editable boards. However, you'd have to upgrade to a paid plan for features like the timer, voting, custom templates, and private boards. 


  • Free plan: For unlimited team members and three boards 
  • Starter plan: $8 per user per month (billed annually)
  • Business plan: $16 per user per month (billed annually)
  • Custom enterprise pricing 


TrustRadius rates Miro 9 out of 10. It has a score of 4.8 on G2.

For the best Kanban software, choose Wrike 

Since Kanban methodology became mainstream, we’ve seen Kanban apps pop up for every size and type of business. But in comparison with the other tools on the market, Wrike’s Kanban features give you the most confidence as your projects scale up and your workflows become more complex. 

Our Kanban boards are detailed, customizable, and inextricably connected to the rest of your work management strategies. When you build your Kanban boards from a central source of truth about your project, you create a supportive resource that promotes team collaboration and makes your work more efficient.  

Whether you’re a small team with an intricate project, or a large organization handling shared work across departments, Wrike gives you the most powerful Kanban features — and much more — with unbeatable ease of use.