Top 15 Kanban Tools In An Agile World


Written by  Sudheer Raju | 23 January 2011
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Kanban, also spelled kamban and literally meaning "signboard" or "billboard", is a concept related to lean and just-in-time (JIT) production. According to Taiichi Ohno, the man credited with developing Just-in-time, kanban is one means through which JIT is achieved. Kanban is not an inventory control system. Rather, it is a scheduling system that tells you what to produce, when to produce it, and how much to produce.

In our continuous effort to bring you the most powerful software tools built for all the requirements of global IT Community across various categories we have been listing the best tools in each of the categories across software development life cycle. In this article lets have a look at over 10 of the best "Kanban" tools available in the market. Obviously i may have missed one or two and would appreciate if you could leave your comments with regards to any missed tools or ones listed below.

TargetProcess  TargetProcess has one of the most powerful and matured Kanban Board that i have come across so far and what also appeals is it comes "Free" for a team of 5 or less. Its Kanban Board is enriched with features like Drag and Drop, Easy Navigation, Keyword Search, Filters (name, rank, type, effort), Customizable Workflow (Planned, In Development, Coded, Testing Ready, Closed), Colour Coded Backlog Items based on business value, Set Limits on items each stage of workflow can hold and others. An agile tool with integration of releases, sprints, inbuilt version control, defect management, helpdesk systems and collaborative mechanisms. Truely recommend this agile tool. 

Free License:
Free for Teams of 5 Users or less

Commercial : http://www.targetprocess.com/3/

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LeanKitKanban LeanKit Kanban allows you to Optimize flow of work, Collaborate Anywhere in Real Time, Focus on Customer Value and See real meaningful metrics. You can either create a very simple customzied workflow or Create sub-lanes to represent different teams, paralell work, classes of service, or anything else you can think of including ability to manage the buffer size with Work In Process (WIP) Limits. It comes with all Drag and Drop features, a Crucial Inline Board Editor that makes your life simpler. This impressive tool provides real meaningful metrics whats slowing the work, where to concentrate efforts, whos overloaded, how effective is process, variances and trouble forecasting. 

Free License: Free for 5 Users/1Board
Commercial : http://leankitkanban.com/Home/PricingAndSignup

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 Hansoft  Hansoft is an integrated solution for agile and lean development, collaborative Gantt scheduling, real-time reporting, bug tracking / QA, workload coordination, portfolio and document management, used by the most demanding software developers in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. The tool is fast and easy and builds on principles of team empowerment, increased communication, transparency, and collaboration. The tool comes with a well designed Kanban board second to none and flexibly supports the concept of management than enforcing a particular methodology.

Free License: Free for 2 Users and unlimited projects
Commercial :  http://www.hansoft.se/download/license-fees.html

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Kanbanery Kanbanery aims to be the most elegant project board tool for Scrum and Kanban teams or for personal task management. It offers a simple to use interface, team collaboration and communication tools, file sharing and real-time updates. Future updates will include advanced reporting, tagging and filtering, GitHub integration, developer APIs, an iPhone app, swim lanes, specialized buffers, more customizable settings, Twitter integration, and much more.

Free License: 1 Board, 2 Users, 1GB space
Commercial : http://kanbanery.com/pricing

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 AgileZen AgileZen is designed completely on Kanban principles and appears to be the simplest Kanban ever designed. Its a simple, flexible, and cost-effective way to manage your work. If you are looking at no hassel and easy-to-use web interface, this certainly is the deal. Given the fact that you can customize your workflow for Kanban stands out well in parallel to its simplicity. By drawing on ideas from lean manufacturing, it helps you stay organized, focused, and on target.

Free License: Free for 1 Project
Commercial : http://agilezen.com/pricing

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KanbanTool KanbanTool is an intutive, elegant and easy to use tool that helps organizing your work with coloured sticky notes. The tool meets the expectations in terms of visualizing, controlling and optimizing the workflow with easy to use, drag & drop interface and rich collaboration features. It comes with all rich agile features along with flexibility to create multiple boards as required.
 
Free License: Free for 1 Board and 2 Users
Commercial : http://kanbantool.com/pricing

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Flow flow is a lean project management application based on kanban with an outright benefits of being able to Visualize your workflow, Finish more in less and just in time with work in progress limits, Achieve accurate estimates by using automatic time tracking and lessons from previous activities.

Free License: Free for 1 User and 1 Project
Commercial : http://flow.io/plans.html

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SmartQ smartQ is a Web-based visual project board for tracking tickets through a multi-step process. Distribute the work, track the progress, identify the bottlenecks and store team communication in one central place. It comes with an ability to fit to any workflow with complete drag and drop features, rich keyword search and filters and if that's not enough, it also comes with a workflow designer to customize the flow for each project.  You can also suit yourself to view the tickets in either Board View or Ticket View or List View. Its also designed giving you real power to customize fields for tickets in each project. 

Free License: Free 30 day trail (unlimited users)
Commercial : http://getsmartq.com/plans.php

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KanbanPad Kanban Pad is a very simple single screen interface that enables you to achieve all the Kanban features right from being able to add backlog/tasks and provide a workflow for each project that the tasks have to move through. I must say the simple interface does not mean a compromise on functionality, it enables you to customize the workflow by being able to add custom fields of your choice, collaborate with you team, Add comments, specify WIP limits and Task limits and comes with an intutive project management features. It comes free with an ability to add the boards to organizations. Thumbs up.

Free License: Free 
Commercial : Free and Hosted (http://www.kanbanpad.com/register)

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swift-kanban Swift Kanban is a Web 2.0 visual Kanban Board with rich features supporting backlog, issues, defects,  drag-n-drop, color coded story cards, work-item classification, including Class of Service, WIP Limits definition, workflow stages, To-do lists as well as metrics dashboard and reports.  It comes with a host of collaboration and control features such as discussion threads, audit logs, attachments, rich text editing, notifications, Inbox, role-based security etc to name a few and is available as a hosted service on the cloud as well as an on-premise license. If you have thought this must be a hefty tool with loads of features then i must say try it for yourself - "Its simplicity at its best".

Free License: Personal Use
Commercial : Free 30 Day Trial (http://www.swift-kanban.com/toolsjournal)

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silvercatalyst Silver Catalyst has support for Kanban teams based on visual management principles, with a strong focus on managing flow of features.Silver Catalyst allows you to 
a. Create and manage large backlogs. Prioritize backlogs using drag and drop
b. Customize the workflow and set work in process limits. Silver Catalyst supports hard limits, as well as the ability to override limits to expedite work
c. The visual management system uses colors and patterns to easily identify work item type, class of service, and blocked items
d. Automatically generate cumulative flow graphs and statistical process control charts
e. Silver Catalyst supports a two level hierarchy, so you can break down features into smaller work items

Free License: Free Trail for 30 Days
Commercial : http://toolsforagile.com/pricing/

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SImpleKanban Simple-Kanban is a Kanban board application and can be used in lean software development. This simple tool has been designed for personal use and now is shared as an "open source". Exposes a basic Kanban board where you can drag stories around and drop them in every column. If you want to edit the stories, add stories or remove stories, click on the "Data" link in the top right corner

Free License: Free 
Commercial : Open Source (http://www.simple-kanban.com/#Download)

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Trichord TRICHORD is an agile project management tool with timebox management technique. It helps you see your project from three different viewpoints, Time, Task and Team. Task Kanban in TRICHORD is a dashboard. First you breakdown tasks and make them into cards then paste them on the Task Kanban. There are three lanes in the Kanban, To do, Doing and Done. By placing task cards in lanes depending on the task status, you can see the status of these tasks clearly at a glance. TRICHORD has two more kanbans, Story Kanban that indicates the project progress by Timeboxes and Feature Kanban that indicates by Release and iteration plans.

Free License: Free 
Commercial : Free Download (http://trichord.change-vision.com/en/download.html)

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JAM-Circle JAM Circle is a Kanban Application Platform on Eclipse RCP.Kanban is similar to sticky note.you can use it for GTD,Planning,Pull System using Kanban.It supports to send Card using XMPP and to define it\'s behavior using Script(JRuby and ECMAScript).

Free License: Free 
Commercial : Free Download (http://sourceforge.net/projects/jamcircle/)

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Lino Lino is a free sticky & canvas service that requires nothing but a Web browser. While it does enforce any workflow it gives you flexibility to use the sticky notes as you like and organize the workflow. Lino flexible to take and stick the notes from where ever you are, visual organization of stickies, share documents through stickies, free layout of pictures/movies, email notifications, bulletin boards, meeting tool and many other ways. 

Free License: Free (10MB/Sticky, 50 MB/Month)
Commercial : http://en.linoit.com/en/premium/

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Conclusion
This is an attempt to list all the Kanban tools free or commercial at one place as an easy reference. I would appreciate if you provide your valuable comments and let me know any missing tools so i can add to the list at some point. Other than that feel free to share the list with your community on be it twitter or facebook or any other.

Author: Sudheer Raju, ITWings Ltd, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

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Sudheer Raju

Sudheer Raju

Founder of ToolsJournal, a technology journal on software tools and services. Sudheer has overall accountability for the webiste product development and is responsible for Sales and Marketing. With a flair to write, Sudheer himself writes for toolsjournal across all journal categories.


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