A good Kanban System is flexible and allows collaboration with team members. It makes it easy to communicate status and doesn’t require a complicated setup. These are the top five Kanban Systems that I’ve used and recommend.
Runner Up: Jira
Jira is a professional-grade agile Kanban System. It can handle teams of any size. Its more advanced features allow integrations so that you can sync real-time updates with other systems. It can handle whatever project you need to throw at it but it does require some hefty configuration to get it configured just right.
Pricing for Jira is between $7 and $14 per user per month depending on the level of service you select. For a small team, this won’t be a huge expense. However, as teams grow or for larger teams to start, this pricing can get expensive.
Jira works well but the administrative overhead and pricing make it my least favorite choice on this list.
Number 5: Physical
The original Kanban System was a physical system of a board with cards. It has evolved over the years with the most common current implementations using whiteboards and sticky notes. This is still a viable option for teams that work in a single location.
Watch out for lost sticky notes. In my first physical Kanban system, we had to do a daily round-up of sticky notes that either got knocked off the board or lost their stickiness and dropped to the floor.
This system works extremely well for a single, small team. However, it doesn’t scale easily.
Number 4: Excel Kanban System
So many business users have access to Excel that it is a worthwhile option to explore for use as a Kanban System.
When it comes to Excel, you have two options for maintaining the board.
- You can manually update the data each day, moving cards from column to column on the spreadsheet.
- You can add formulas and functions to pull data from multiple data entry worksheets, letting you make simple updates that automatically update your Kanban board worksheet.
Either option is going to require some overhead to make work or to set up. With the second example, if you want a pre-built solution you can use the version I built for my own teams -> Kaban For Excel (free trial).
Excel Kanban is the option I prefer for individuals or small teams that just need a simple, familiar digital tool for tracking project progress.
Number 3: Trello
It’s easy to set up a Kanban System with Trello. It’s what Trello was designed for.
For a long time, Trello was my absolute favorite tool for agile project management. I built dozens of boards for multiple teams to make it simple to manage projects.
Communication and scalability are two of the strongest features that Trello has to offer. The power-ups that Trello offers also make it easy to connect to other services like Slack and Zapier.
It’s priced reasonably at $5 per user per month.
Number 2: Asana
The same company that owns Trello also owns its big brother, Asana, which has some features that kick Agile project management into overdrive.
Asana is the power tool of Kanban Systems. Its out-of-the-box Kanban template works great for most teams and you can customize it to fit any unique scenarios that you need.
You can easily switch between Kanban, Calendar, and list views for your project with the free version. The paid version adds timelines and forms for your project.
Number 1: Monday.com
Monday.com has usurped Asana as my top pick for Kanban systems. Over the last few years, it has evolved into in my opinion, the most user-friendly and flexible project management platforms on the market. Right out of the box it delivers features that adapt to your project management process be that waterfall, Scrum, or Kanban.
If you follow the initial training that is presented to you when you launch Monday you'll be familiar with all the primary features in just a few hours. Even if you don't go through the training the interface is intuitive so you won't have a lot of trial and error when getting started.
Best of all, Monday.com offers a free trial to get started so you can take it for a test drive before you buy.
Kanban System Summary
There is a multitude of options available for Kanban. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds. These are the five systems that I’ve used and would recommend for teams that are getting started.
Which system do you think makes the most sense for you?
NOTICE OF AFFILIATE RELATIONSHIP
Please note, that some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I will be paid a commission. That being said, I only recommend products that I have used myself and feel will be valuable to you.