Kanban Guide

Ultimate List of Kanban Tools and Software

Ultimate List of Kanban Tools and Software

Once a team has chosen to proceed with Kanban for their next project, the next step is to find the right Kanban tool for it.

Searching for the right Kanban software is not as straightforward as you expect. Just like with Martech, the number of solutions available on the market has increased exponentially over the years. If you search for the keyword ‘Kanban’ on G2, for example, you’ll need to sift through 180 results. It’s great to have more options to choose from but it has become a harder process to complete.

Benefits of Kanban software

While you can implement Kanban using a physical board and cards, Kanban software offers many benefits:

  • It’s easier to update tasks, move phases, and change card owners
  • You don’t have to be physically in the office to see it
  • It can handle larger and more complex workflows
  • You can integrate it with your reports and dashboards
  • Many solutions support automated workflows

Features to look out for in Kanban software

When selecting the best Kanban project management tool for your team, keep in mind that Kanban promotes incremental change. If you can find a solution that supports your current project management framework as well as Kanban, it will make the transition much smoother than a Kanban-only tool. 

Other features to look for in Kanban software include:

  • The ability to customize workflows and statuses
  • Ability to track and report on time cards spent in each phase and the overall cycle
  • Automated workflow capability
  • Real-time reporting features
  • Automatic notifications for card changes and updates
  • Late or overdue alerts for cardholders and management
  • The ability to modify cards, add checklists and links to supporting documents
  • Commenting capability for people to leave notes on cards
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How to choose the best Kanban board software for your project

There are some criteria for software selections that can help you choose the right Kanban tools and software for your project and organization. If you’re working for a large organization, get in touch with the PMO office to see if they have a preferred approach. If not, the following steps for identifying suitable Kanban tools and software should suffice.

1. Make a list of requirements

Top of the list would be compatibility with Kanban. This might include card ‘draggability,’ editable stages, custom fields, due dates, card ownership, and comments.

You also need to consider your business requirements. Start with the type of project you’re running and consider the size and distribution of the team, whether you want to manage the project online or in-person (or both), and the budget. The latter is a key factor and should be considered first. You don’t want to be looking at tools that you can’t afford.

The next step is to prioritize the list of requirements for your Kanban software. A good approach is to use the

MoSCoW method where you assign a priority using the following labels:

  • M - Must have
  • S - Should have
  • C - Could have
  • W - Won't have


2. Research solutions

Armed with a requirements document, it becomes easier to research solutions. You can immediately dismiss options that don’t offer features you have prioritized as ‘must have’. Start with pricing.

Aim to shortlist between three and five candidates. Keep track of what they offer and any drawbacks or constraints.

Another tip: To speed up the process you can send the list to a sales rep or discuss each requirement over chat.

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3. Demo shortlisted options

Most Kanban board software solutions offer a free trial so it should be easy to demo them. Wrike offers a free plan too, but it may be best to demo the plan that fits your specific requirements.

Kanban is a visual methodology with team members interacting with tools on a daily basis. A solution may look good on paper but you may want to dismiss it if it’s clunky, slow, or has a badly designed UX (ie. it takes too many steps to get an outcome).


4. Select the best Kanban tool

When you follow a structured process for selecting your Kanban tool, making a decision at the end becomes easier. Eliminate ones that are not a good fit and demo shortlisted solutions for the best results. In most cases you’ll know which is the best solution after trying them out. If you’re still in doubt, read reviews and testimonials or reach out to others who may have tried the tools you’re considering.

Different types of Kanban project management software

Choosing the right Kanban board software for your project can supercharge collaboration and delivery times and improve workflows. Here are some of the top Kanban software platforms, plug-ins, and add-ons to try. 

Wrike

Wrike is a work management platform with Kanban boards, Gantt charts, team dashboards, and other project management features. Wrike’s Kanban boards also give teams the option to switch from a Kanban board view to a table or calendar. If you’re managing an editorial plan that is very useful.

Benefits of this Kanban software:

  • Work is organized in client projects and folders and accessed from the left-hand navigation
  • Team members can quickly change between views: Board, List, Table, and Gantt Chart
  • Views can be filtered by priority or any other information associated with each task (eg. due date or owner)
  • Clients can be invited to a project as collaborators
  • Team members and collaborators can access the project boards from anywhere in the world


Kanbanier

Kanbanier runs natively on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. There may be good reasons why an organization would prefer to run Kanban software locally. Apps like Kanbanier cater to that market segment.

Benefits of this Kanban software:

  • The interface is simple and easy to use, even on a small screen
  • Project data, which may include personal information, is not shared externally but it can be synced via iCloud
  • No registrations or logins needed
  • The app is free but there are optional paid add-ons
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Kanban Tool (Kanban board add-on)

Kanban Tool by Shore Labs is an add-on for Microsoft Teams, an application that is used primarily by enterprises for communication and collaboration.

Microsoft Teams features tasks that are organized in lists. This application pulls the same data but renders them in a Kanban board view as cards, allowing users to drag them across stages.

The main advantage of an add-on is that users don’t have to switch from another application that they are familiar with. The learning curve for the new Kanban board functions is small. This is important for larger projects as there are more people to train and support.

Benefits of this Kanban software:

  • Familiar UI accessed via an application that users already know
  • No need to research and choose a solution
  • Price add-ons tend to be less costly on a per-user basis


Kanban for WordPress (Kanban board plug-in)

This option could be classified as an add-on because it plugs into an application the same way as Shore Lab’s Kanban Tool does. If you’re a WordPress developer why not track your progress directly in the platform?

Benefits of this Kanban software:

  • Free and open source. A PRO version is available too
  • Fully integrated within WordPress
  • Customizable - you have access to the source code and can tweak it as you wish
  • You own your own data

Selecting the best Kanban tools and software

Choosing the right Kanban tool is a process in itself. If the project that it needs to be used for is complex or the team is large and distributed, then selecting the best tool will be critical in speeding up work. The opposite is true, too. If the tool isn’t quite fit for its purpose it will impact the project negatively.

Here are some other key takeaways from this section:

  • Choose a tool that is flexible so that it can adapt to changes in the process
  • Set up tools and processes so that they can be easily used for other projects
  • Consider using both physical and online tools. It doesn’t have to be either one or the other
  • Make sure you spend enough time testing tools.

Grab a free Wrike trial so you can discover why 2 million+ users trust Wrike to do the best work of their life. 

Further reading
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