Best Kanban Software for Project Management

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Image: Elnur/Shutterstock

Kanban boards are simply one of the best ways to manage projects of all sizes. Speaking from experience, Kanban boards have helped me keep a number of my projects on track.

If you’re unfamiliar with what a kanban board is, think of it as a card-based visualization for project management that lets you break down each project into milestones and tasks. You define milestones as columns and then add tasks as rows, all in a very user-friendly user interface. As each task completes a phase, it is moved along the columns.

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But if you’re working on a big project, which kanban board should you choose? There are tons of kanban options out there, so I thought I’d narrow the list down to my top five kanban solutions that can handle big projects. Let’s dive into it.

Asana

Image: Asana

Asana is often considered one of the most powerful and user-friendly kanban options on the market. With reason. As with most of the options listed here, Asana goes well beyond a simple kanban board to offer lists, calendars, file sharing, goals, portfolios, reports, an inbox and (well sure) a customizable kanban board.

One of the best things about Asana is its UX which is absolutely superb. With Asana, you’ll find that creating new columns (aka “Sections”) and tasks is incredibly easy. And, when a task is done, you just need to drag it from one column to another. With each task, you can also add subtasks, due dates (which integrate with the Asana calendar), notes, collaborators, attachments, and you can even make a task public. One of the reasons Asana is listed as a great option for large projects is that it also offers the ability to add custom rules, which can do things like automate the movement of task cards based on dates. due date. Rules are only available in the Business plan (so free users don’t need to apply).

Asana can be used for free, but for companies with large projects to manage, you might want to consider one of three paid plans: Premium ($10.99/seat/month), Business ($24.99/ seat/month) and Enterprise (contact Asana for more information). Asana also offers a free app for Android and iOS.

monday.com

Image: monday.com

Monday.com is another powerful kanban solution that goes way beyond simple kanban boards. One of the first things you’ll notice about monday.com is that it has one of the best integration systems out there. By answering a few quick questions, monday.com will automatically generate your workplace based on your specific needs. Once generated, you can create new tables and take advantage of their very powerful workflow tool.

One thing to keep in mind is that monday.com is not quite a traditional kanban. Don’t let the layout fool you. Although monday.com defaults to a vertical task layout, instead of the traditional horizontal kanban style, you can easily add a new kanban view from the main table. One caveat is that the kanban view does not inherit the names of your groups, so even after carefully designing the main table layout, the kanban version of your board will default to showing labels like Working on it, Done, Stuck and Empty. Monday.com also offers integrations for several third-party services such as Mailchimp, Jira, Trello, GitHub, Slack, and Gmail, as well as the ability to create automated workflows for your projects.

You can use monday.com for free (up to two seats), but if you want to get the most out of the service, you’ll need to purchase one of four paid plans: Basic ($6/seat/month), Standard (10 $/seat/month), Pro ($22/seat/month) and Enterprise (contact us for details).

Stackfield

Image: Stackfield

Stackfield is an all-in-one collaboration tool for projects. Using a traditional kanban board, Stackfield allows you to create rooms, room groups, room templates, tasks, discussions, pages, files, events, conferences, and organizations. If you’re looking for a kanban solution that puts team collaboration first, you could do a lot worse than Stackfield. In each room you set up, you’ll have a kanban board, discussion center, task page, file manager, calendar, and more. It really is a great tool for large projects that have many team members working on related tasks for the whole.

The Stackfield kanban board is flexible enough to be applied to almost any type of use case (editorial systems, development, sales funnel, property management, recruiting/HR and just about anything you can imagine). What sets Stackfield apart is the ease of integration with other tools. Since each board is associated with a Discussion, Tasks, Pages, Files, and Calendar section, Stackfield Collaboration was designed for collaborative efforts.

You can use Stackfield for free for 14 days. Once the trial is over, you will need to purchase one of three plans: Business ($9.93/user/month), Premium ($15.44/user/month) and Enterprise ($19.85 /user/month).

Trello

Image: Trello

Trello is another option that’s almost always on the tip of most business users’ tongues. It’s a simple kanban board without all the extra features found in the other options, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of your larger projects. Trello offers many features that allow it to be extended from a basic kanban (such as multiple workspaces, automation, filters, templates, stars/tags, attachments, collaboration, etc.).

With minimal work, you can create a workspace that includes an easy-to-use kanban workflow to make any user happy. Of course, drag and drop is front and center with Trello, so moving cards from column to column is simple. Trello also lets you customize the background of your boards and even add custom fields (which are part of the paid product), stickers, and even watch notifications. At first glance, you might think Trello isn’t capable of helping you manage larger projects, but it certainly is. And with the addition of power-ups (integrations with other services), you can extend the feature set with integrations like Jira, Dashcards, Amazing Fields, Time Tracking, Bulk Actions and more.

Trello can be used for free, but if you want to add even more features, you’ll need to pay for one of the plans: Standard ($5/user/month), Premium ($10/user/month), or Enterprise ($17.50 $/user/month).

Wekan

Image: Wekan

Wekan is the only open source option on the list, and it’s also one of the only ones you can install on bare metal. Wekan might be lacking in features, but it is long on usability. This kanban solution is nothing but a kanban board. One of the reasons I put Wekan on the list is that it lets you create multiple maps and do it in the privacy of your own local network. So for those who prefer to keep all the details of their projects close to the vest, this might be one of the best options.

Another great thing about Wekan is that it’s incredibly simple to use. Create a board, configure it, then get to work. But don’t think that Wekan is without features that prevent it from being used on your larger projects. This tool allows you to create multiple swimlanes, create private and public boards, work with models, collaborate with organizations, teams and people, view different types of reports (such as files, orphans, broken cards, rules, etc.), duplicate and archive boards and receive notifications.

Wekan is not only open-source, it is free and can be installed on Linux (via Snap or source) via Docker, on macOS and Windows.

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