Go Beyond Trello – A Guide to Choosing the Kanban Board Software
The Kanban method is a visual system for organizing workflows. It helps prevent bottlenecks, encourages incremental improvements, and balances demands against available capacity. Originally created in a Toyota Motors manufacturing plant, the kanban methodology takes its name from a Japanese word meaning ‘sign’ or ‘billboard’.
The Kanban method based on agile project management utilizes a simple board and card system, allowing everyone on a team to have visibility, not just on individual tasks, but on the larger picture of team activity.
Features to look for in Kanban software
One of the main reasons people turn to Kanban is for its simplicity and flexibility. The tool needs to be easy-to-use and should accommodate your existing workflows. They should help you get more visibility and achieve transparency.
Here are some of the functionalities any Kanban software must have to help you achieve greater efficiency:
1. Kanban board views
The Kanban board forms the backbone of a Kanban system and it’s the central hub of all your tasks. The board helps you visualize your work and keep track of what’s pending. There should be an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to move cards across the different stages. The tool should also come with different views like calendars and lists.
2. Form and card customization
When you create task cards in your board, you should be able to customize the different fields in it. Most tools have basic fields like title, description, assigned to, and due dates. But your business may have specific needs like priority and clients and the software needs to give you complete control over it.
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3. File sharing and collaboration
Kanban tools are mostly used by creative and marketing teams to manage their work. Their work involves a lot of files and documents. The software should let you attach files to cards and act as a central hub for all your project-related files so team members can access them whenever they want.
4. Time tracking
Since a lot of projects are billed for the number of hours worked, the tool should come with a timer or a log to enter and store the time worked on each task. You should also be able to track time by individuals, tasks, and stages.
5. Activity streams
The streams provide a real-time feed of the status of different tasks. You’ll also know what changes have been made and which cards have been moved to the next stage.
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You should be able to get insightful reports from all the data. Important reports like lead time, time spent (and revenue gained) based on tasks and clients are an added bonus.
7. Work-in-progress limits
WIP limits are “work in progress” limits and are an important feature of the Kanban method. The WIP limit is determined by assessing the capacity of your team. In the Kanban Method, it’s enforced by limiting the number of cards that are allowed in particular columns.
If your team can feasibly work well on five tasks at a time, the WIP limit will only allow five cards in the “Doing” column of your Kanban board which helps to manage tasks.
Questions to ask before choosing Kanban software
Now you know what features to look for, you need to consider the following factors:
- Do you need your software on the cloud or on-site?
- How many project boards and users does this software support?
- What reports do you need?
- How customizable is the software?
- Do you get a free trial?
- Are other people with similar requirements to mine using it?
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Implementing Kanban boards using Kissflow Project
Kanban Boards are a simple, proven method to stay organized and help your team visualize its work. If you’re looking for Kanban software that offers powerful, intuitive features to help your team collaborate from anywhere in the world, take Kissflow Project for a spin.
In Kissflow Project, each card appears as an item that can be expanded to show a complete form with all the information necessary to complete a task. This keeps the visual uncluttered while still providing a space to include all the relevant details team members need to access.
Within each step, Kissflow Project has built-in stages to aid in reporting and monitoring. The In Progress state is how Kissflow Project incorporates the Agile Kanban principle of WIP. Each step also has stages like On-Hold and Done.
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