5 Kanban Board Tools for Project Collaboration

A variety of lightweight, highly detailed, and easy-to-use Kanban boards

Kanban boards are becoming popular online project collaboration tools for digital marketing programs, software development, and social gaming techniques. Having started as a visual scheduling system in the Toyota manufacturing process, Kanban boards work well in any environment involving a steady workflow of tasks.

Here are five free or low-cost Kanban tools to consider for your team.

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Kanbanize Kanban board website
What We Like
  • Emphasis on lean management.

  • Excellent model for task dependencies.

  • Free 30-day trial period.

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive license model.

  • Probably too much for small teams and light projects.

Businessmap's Kanbanize is entirely focused on lean collaboration and tracking. Notifications and board messaging in real-time help teams manage constant workflow and communication. Managed roles also give added flexibility for fine-tuning permissions on projects and tasks.

Flexible pricing plans range from free to $99 per month, with optional add-ons available.

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KanbanFlow Kanban board website
What We Like
  • Light app, no extra bells and whistles.

  • API integrations with other popular apps.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited free version.

  • A per-user/per-month license model gets pricey for large teams with light requirements.

CodeKick AB, developers of the KanbanFlow app, offers a basic visual Kanban workflow tool. Teams interested in a gaming tool to create incentives would use the Pomodoro timer, a technique to focus work in intervals of 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break.

KanbanFlow offers a powerful free version and a $5 per-user per-month premium version with additional features.

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Kanban Tool

Kanban Tool website
What We Like
  • Interesting approach to managing agile projects.

  • Three tiers of accounts, including a free tier.

What We Don't Like
  • Antiquated-looking user interface.

  • Must register for a trial account to understand the service's capabilities.

  • Pricey on a per-user basis.

Shore Labs developed Kanban Tool with extensive board templates and a sales pipeline, along with custom fields that can match workflow requirements. The Dashboard is a workspace for notes and status updates. Shore Labs demonstrates a useful HR workflow along with standard analytic tools (breakdown, burndown, and other charts) that are accessed from the navigation menu.

Kanban Tool offers a limited free plan along with a $5 per-user per-month Team plan and a $9 per-user per-month Enterprise plan, which includes expanded features.

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LeanKit Kanban website
What We Like
  • Optimized for technically complex workflows.

  • Thoughtful site design.

  • API-fed integrations designed for engineers and developers.

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive.

  • Some may find the emphasis on engineering to be distracting.

  • Two-week trial period.

Planview LeanKit combines Lean and Agile methods. It uses base work-in-process (WIP) limits, with lanes lighting up when exceeding the limit. LeanKit demonstrates a 20-person Audit group with finely detailed criteria for managing their publication process.

LeanKit offers a free trial and paid versions: LeanKit for Teams is $19 per month per user, and LeanKit for Scaled Teams is $29 for each user per month. Enterprise custom options are also available.

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Trello Kanban website
What We Like
  • One of the original and best-known online kanboard sites.

  • Generous free accounts.

  • Great for small teams and individuals.

What We Don't Like
  • True collaboration requires a paid account.

  • Not as powerful for technical, dependency-driven work.

Ideal for students and teams, Trello offers great overviews of card information, attachment detail, activity streams, and checklists. Trello uses boards, which contain lists, which are made up of cards. Boards can represent projects, lists can be used for tasks, and cards can contain sub-tasks or options. Windows 8, iPhone, and iPad apps are available.

All of Trello's core features are free; the paid Trello Gold is $5 per month or $45 per year and adds some perks. Trello's Business Class version is $9.99 for each user per month, and its Enterprise version is $20.83 for each person per month.

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