If you’re a product or project manager, you’re always looking for ways to improve the way you work. While there are many ways to do this, such as improving work culture or developing soft skills, it often comes down to the tools you have at your disposal.
Fortunately, our team at Simplilearn has put together a list of Kanban tools so you can upgrade your work procedures quickly and easily. We’ll go over the different types of Kanban tools, explore Kanban tools for product managers and project managers, and show you how to become an expert.
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What Is Kanban?
In Japanese, Kanban means “billboard” or “sign.” The system was created by Taiichi Ohno, an engineer for Toyota in the late 1940s. The Kanban method spread from manufacturing to information technology to where it is today.
A Kanban setup stays true to the following concepts:
- Work progress is depicted visibly
- The number of tasks is limited at each phase to increase efficiency, quality, and concentration, as overloading a person with work isn’t an effective strategy
- Once a team is prepared for additional tasks, they pull an assignment as opposed to having it pushed on them by a team member who has completed their preceding section
Additional concepts were added later in the 2000s, including:
- Manage workflow
- Make policies explicit
- Implement feedback loops
- Improve collaboratively
- Evolve experimentally
Different Types of Kanban Tools
Now that you know what Kanban is, you’re ready to browse the list of Kanban tools. First, let’s take a moment to look at the different types of Kanban tools that are available today.
While working with online tools is the norm these days, a classic hands-on approach is often all you need. For starters, you can use a whiteboard or bulletin board to keep tabs on the three central sections of work activity, usually listed as:
- In Progress
You could also use a bin system when items are restocked in a supply environment or production line. This system is usually utilized to keep tabs on inventory. At material handling sites, cardholders and racks help with project and communication flow. Sticky notes, magnets, and other objects are used to symbolize work items.
Online Kanban tools enhance the Kanban methodology in amazing ways. You can work anywhere around the world and still connect to your team while guiding work activity. These tools mimic the whiteboard or bulletin board look and can be incredibly efficient, effective, and tailored to your workflow requirements.
Overview of Each Kanban Tool
Jira is a bug tracking and project management tool tailored to software development and influenced by Kanban and Agile project management techniques. You can either develop a custom workflow that works for your team or use an out-of-the-box workflow. Jira is free for up to 10 people, while its standard level supports up to 100 people and costs $7 a month per person.
Trello is a beautiful and simple tool that comes with endless boards, cards, lists, checklists, and members. Additional perks include Slack, Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox integration, as well as the ability to add files. While this tool can be personalized and is very popular, it lacks estimates and breakdown charts and doesn’t limit cards on individual WIPs. Trello is free for everyone, but if you’re looking for additional security and app integrations, you can upgrade to Business Class for $9.99 a month per person.
3. Kanban Tool
Kanban Tool is a straightforward project management tool with a minimalist look that concentrates on team cooperation in real-time and improves workflow. While Kanban Tool is available in the cloud, like many tools, it can also be hosted on your company’s servers for an extra layer of security. Limited access is free for up to two people, and the more robust version begins at $5 a month per person.
GitHub is a great open-source tool for software developers, which becomes even more powerful when ZenHub comes into the mix. ZenHub is an agile project management tool that exists inside of GitHub. It also integrates with Gitter and Slack, includes estimates and burndown charts, and limits cards for individual WIPs. ZenHub is free for personal, public, and academic repositories, and costs $5 a month per person for small teams.
If you’re looking for less conventional work experience, Monday.com might be the app for you. Not only does it come with a Kanban perspective of projects, milestones, and tasks, it also provides a variety of viewing options: chart, map, calendar, file, and timeline. Pricing begins at $5 per month.
Advantages of Kanban Tools
We touched on the advantages of online Kanban tools for product managers and project managers earlier in this article. Still, it’s worth repeating for those who are hesitant about trying a new system.
The project board is available to the team anywhere in the world if they have an internet connection, which is the biggest draw. Connecting with your team can be done in real-time, and Kanban tools can enable them to take ownership of their tasks. As much as a physical whiteboard and post-it notes can work in the short-term, an online Kanban tool is more efficient for updates, transferring information, and marking items as “done.” Online Kanban boards give you the advantage of noticing obstacles and issues so you can determine an appropriate response.
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Become a Kanban Expert
We hope this list of Kanban tools helps you in your search. If you’re ready to enhance your work processes even further, Simplilearn offers a Kanban Management Professional-1 (KMP-1) certification course where you’ll learn the latest Kanban techniques and gain valuable, in-depth knowledge. Our course prepares you to use Kanban tools for product management and project management alike. And if you’re ready for advanced management, consider the Introduction to Kanban Management Professional-2 (KMP-2) certification course.