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July 16

14 Best Kanban Board Tools in 2019

When it comes to optimizing overwhelmed daily workloads, to-do lists may not cope. In this case, it's worth to look for something that will keep track of all tasks your team is working on and tasks that are yet to be started, as well as to show the full picture of all the tasks that are completed.

A powerful Kanban board is the solution. This excellent project collaboration tool is widely used in software development, digital marketing, construction, innovative solutions and among other cases where there is a steady workflow of tasks. The Kanban approach helps teams to visualize workflow, analyze processes and achieve greater task management efficiencies. In this post, we describe 14 Kanban tools with advanced features. Compare them and choose the best one right for your needs!

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Before considering the best Kanban software solutions, it is worth to know just what you’re using them for.

In order to get an in-depth understanding of what Kanban is, you may check out some detailed breakdown on this workflow methodology in any available Kanban tutorial.

In brief, Kanban is a project management method aimed to minimize multitasking, improve work in progress efficiency, and streamline the speed and quality of the work. The method is widely applied by collaborative and self-managing teams.

The well-defined Kanban board software will ensure your focusing on priorities, keeping your team in the loop about what’s current and what’s coming up, and controlling steady workflows, especially in production, maintenance, and support.

An efficient Kanban tool will help you to manage Agile development, thanks to boards and cards, activity streams, swimlanes, charts, and additional features helpful in visualization and managing workflows.

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What composes a forceful Kanban tool?


At first sight, the Kanban system may seem complicated and not always applicable. But the real power of Kanban is that, once people apply it, they may optimize and standardize their workflow with relative ease.

However, there are software solutions that do the job better and more effectively than others. So it's worth to apply some specific criteria when looking for the best Kanban-like tools on the market. These criteria may assist you to select a platform that will control your projects and provide functionality you want to make Kanban work for you.

  • A Kanban board – the system that is aimed to organize your cards with Swimlanes, WIP limits, Sub-columns, standard column categories («To-do”, “In progress” and “Done”), tasks with checklists, multiple members, attachments, and time tracking.
  • A Kanban card – an element of the Kanban system that assigns tasks with checklists and attachments. It offers different views, the ability to link tasks, add task hierarchy and assign to resources.
  • Analytics, reporting system that allows creating reports.
  • Integrations – the ability of the tool to integrate easily with other project management systems.
  • Automation — the ability to customize the workflow to suit your project environment.

Best Kanban-focused project management tools


You may follow one of two ways:

  1. Do not care and focus on proven classics by signing in notorious JIRA or Trello.
  2. Spend some time exploring the new generation of Kanban-focused project management services and finding the best option for your product, your company, and current market trends.

Anyway, the choice is still yours. Here’s the short introduction:
Tool Best for
JIRA For software development by Agile teams. Not suitable for non-techie teams and for non-Agile processes. Best fit is IT companies with hundreds/thousands of developers.
Trello For individuals and various teams and roles (marketing, sales, HR, etc.) that require the basic Kanban functionality. Not suitable for Agile software development. The best fit is a personal Kanban board.
Hygger Mainly for Agile software development teams. It supports Kanban and Scrum, estimations, Burndowns, Swimlanes and WIP limits; provides the most advanced backlog management with Value/Efforts prioritization. The best fit is any Agile software development team.
MeisterTask For the same needs as Trello but with advanced integration with MindMeister (that is a popular mind mapping tool).
Favro For small and medium software teams. It supports Kanban and Scrum processes.
Asana For personal use and small teams, that primarily need to-do lists and a basic Kanban-board
Kanbanchi For personal Kanban boards with tight G Suite integration
Paymo For agencies and teams that need to automatically track their time, prioritize tasks, and invoice worked hours.
Breeze For the teams that need the advanced version of Basecamp with the basic Kanban board functionality.
Blossom Best for the distributed teams. It is a minimalistiс project management tool that is built around Kanban boards. The tool supports cycle time.
ProofHub For the teams that need a complete solution which has Kanban Boards, Gannt charts, Calendars, Notes (aka Wikis), Chat, Discussions, Task lists. It’s like Basecamp “on steroids”.
ZenHub It is a plugin for GitHub which adds support of Multi-repo Boards, Epics, individual workspaces and advanced reporting.
Taiga The open source program for programmers to track development tasks and those who needs basic project management features.
Leankit For creating customized boards with detailed workflows.

JIRA


Describing JIRA, they usually say “powerful”. This is truly a multifunctional project management tool that allows development teams to plan tasks, assign performers, plan sprints, manage backlogs, set priorities, and deadlines.

JIRA provides a large number of filtering settings, convenient visualization, detailed reports, and a cozy time tracker.

Doubts: JIRA is well suited to tech teams, but small companies and startups simply cannot use the full breadth of the service’s functionality. There is no possibility of assigning several performers to a single task, and there is also no possibility to share the timeline. To do this, JIRA offers to purchase the paid “Portfolio for Jira”.

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Trello


Trello is a popular management tool that allows organizing tasks, to-do lists, initiatives, discussions, and ideas on one board. The service is quite simple and intuitive, and many companies just need its basic free version to work. Let's say, Trello is suitable for everyone who needs basic Kanban boards functionality.

Doubts: Trello does not have its own time tracking, so you will have to pay for other software (for example, Everhour or Toggle). In addition, Trello does not have WIP limits (Work in Progress), Swimlanes (horizontal columns) and Burndown charts.

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Hygger


Hygger is a bright representative of the new generation of PM-tools that looks great for product companies, startups, and medium-sized enterprises. The service provides convenient to-do lists with custom fields, Kanban boards with Swimlanes and WIP limits and Timelines.

The obvious advantage of the platform is the ability to prioritize features, ideas or tasks using prioritization frameworks. This factor is often decisive when choosing Hygger vs Trello. By the way, if you are familiar with the functionality of Trello, then you will quickly get used to Hygger, as the platform has a very similar interface.

Hygger offers to prioritize with simple methods (Eisenhower matrix, Value vs Effort, Value vs Risk), as well as advanced techniques (ICE and RICE, Weighted Scoring model).

Doubts: There is no ability to switch from Kanban to a timeline automatically, no multilingual support.

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Favro


Favro is a project management solution best suited for developers, marketers, and executives who plan, track and evolve their ideas. Favro offers built-in Kanban and Scrum support with team boards, scalable backlogs, and aggregated reports.

Favro’s breakdown feature helps to break down your projects into different tasks. It is integrated with Google Drive and Dropbox that allows files to be attached to the planning board.

Doubts: The management of cards and boards isn't as easy as it may seem. Not all features of this software can be used to its full potential. Better to not have many features but succeed in what it can offer.

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MeisterTask


MeisterTask is able to cater to businesses of all sizes in various industries. The key directions that it may cover are file management, time tracking, and reporting.

MeisterTask's boards help users view and manage current activities and active projects, create project plans and collaborate with team members. The platform proposes integration with GitHub, DropBox, Zendesk, and Bitbucket.

Doubts: Lack of a calendar that could show when you had scheduled your tasks. No Gantt charts to set durations for tasks.

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Asana


Asana is an equally popular service with accessible iOS and Android apps that is good at managing tasks, keeping track of deadlines and setting priorities. Asana allows you to track the status of the tasks execution and the status of the entire project.

The service is mostly chosen for personal use and the work of small teams, which are primarily needed to-do lists and a basic Kanban-board.

Doubts: There is no time tracking feature (as in Trello). Therefore, the platform is unlikely to be useful for marketing and creative agencies or service companies.

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Kanbanchi


Kanbanchi is an appropriate choice if you need task management and collaboration software with Kanban boards, Gantt Charts, and time tracking.

You will easily visualize workflows of all tasks and activities with the help of convenient project boards with lists and cards. Kanbanchi is designed for G Suite. You have to sign up with Google account, manage the boards as files in Google Drive, push dates to Google Calendar, and so on. The app is great for departmental workloads so each team member knows what they are working on.

Doubts: No mobile version and some relevant integrations, no opportunity to group cards together.

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Paymo


Choosing Paymo, you get a full-featured work management tool for planning, scheduling, task managing, invoicing, and time tracking. It looks great for teams looking to automatically track their time, prioritize tasks, and invoice worked hours.

It allows you to do everything from one app, without switching from one platform to another.

Doubts: You will need some time to get used to Paymo because there is a lot of options on the desktop. When working with dozens of small projects the user interface gets rather busy.

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Breeze


Breeze is one more advanced solution for managing client projects with Kanban boards. It looks appropriate for small businesses and freelancers who need to organize and track everything.

The tool is based on Agile and Lean principles and includes the following core features: to-do lists, time tracking, project budgeting, reporting, calendar, export data, unlimited users, Android, and iOS support, integrations with Google Drive and Dropbox, etc.

Doubts: There are only few tools that Breeze can be integrated with.

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Blossom


Blossom app was designed for a focused path to complete your Kanban project tasks. Like in other Kanban-focused tools, you have to list all project stages in lists. The core Blossom difference is that each list will be supposed to be the next stage in the process. You should add new cards to the 1st column on the left, and the last column on the right shows an archive button.

Blossom allows utilizing analytics with a count of how many cards got shipped and a chart that shows how long every card took to complete.

Doubts: There is no free plan like for personal use. The integration only sends updates to the Slack channel.

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ProofHub


No hesitations that the famous brands that have chosen ProofHub are satisfied with this cloud project management software that helps them easily manage deadlines and deliverables.

ProofHub offers advanced features and pricing packages to suit the requirements of different businesses and iOS and Android apps to enable users to be more productive. Among the key features, let's highlight to-do lists, calendars, discussions, Gantt charts, milestones, timesheets, etc.

Doubts: ProofHub may seem too simple and might not be working for complex projects and large organizations. There is no workflows and requirements management.

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ZenHub


The main advantage of ZenHub is that it integrates natively with GitHub user interface, so developers stay in the habitual environment and project managers may get total visibility about the development process.

The tool may be used to organize, plan, and run Sprints with existing GitHub issues and development flow. There is no need for special training — ZenHub is widely used by both the product and engineering teams. The main features are Kanban-like task boards, to-do lists, Burndown charts, time estimations, Slack integration, etc.

Doubts: Zenhub doesn't provide you with plenty of analytics and reporting features. The UX has some essential quirks that can disturb randomly.

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Taiga


Taiga is a choice of developers, project managers designers, and other Agile methodology practitioners. The cloud-based platform includes project collaboration, task management, bug tracking, reporting, and time tracking system. Choosing the tool you also get customizable Kanban boards and backlogs.

Taiga can be easily integrated with GitHub, GitLab, Webhooks, Bitbucket, and Gogs. Android, iOS, and Windows mobile applications are available.

Doubts: The UI looks a bit old-fashioned. Screens are rather complicated — it ts a little bit confusing working with different kinds of them.

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LeanKit


LeanKit is a Kanban-style software that caters to businesses of all sizes across various industries. It assists project teams in implementing Lean principles and practices painless.

LeanKit proposes companies a convenient way to connect project boards at the team and project level and provides users with complete visibility. You'll also get a reporting and analytics module with useful metrics there (flow, quality, throughput and lead time). The platform supports integration with JIRA, Zendesk, Pivotal Tracker, and other tools.

Doubts: Emails spamming — even a little change made to a task will be emailed to you. Lack of basic integration options.

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Whether you select a standalone Kanban tool or a wider project management suite, you may be assured that applying Kanban system to your project management strategy will empower your team and make its life easier.

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