Here's what to look for in a Kanban project management tool
Efficient project management skills are crucial to running a project or a company. A project manager has a lot to manage in their hands: resources, finances, business strategy, execution, and more; so much so that sometimes, it could be hard to keep an eye on things all at once.
To get closer to their goal, project managers opt to use different project management tools that can help keep their ITTO (Inputs, Tools, Techniques, and Outputs) in check and smoothly running. Out of all the tools and techniques available, one of the most popular is the Kanban project management scheme.
What is Kanban?
Kanban, in Japanese, literally means “visual card,” which means it is more of a visual approach.
According to Hubstaff, Kanban is one of the leading project management methodologies today. It focuses on task management and keeping track of documents. It is a methodology that focuses on the status of a project rather than its due date.
This methodology was derived from Toyota’s “just in time” production system. This means doing “only what is needed when it’s needed and in the amount needed.” In other words, it’s about focusing on getting things done one step at a time before heading on to the next level.
One step at a time
The Kanban method breaks the workload into smaller and more actionable tasks to get them done as quickly as possible without losing efficiency along the way.
Technically, this method is for people who focus on one thing at a time. If you’re a multitasker, you might find this concept weird and seemingly counterproductive.
Here are some of the benefits of using the Kanban approach:
- It results in a more focused and efficient work
- Tasks are divided into small and more achievable workload
- It is an adjustable process that aims to improve productivity in a team
Creating your own Kanban board
Since Kanban takes a visual approach, project managers who use this method usually begin with three columns to visualize a given task. These columns are labeled: Done, In Progress, and Not Done.
Creating a board like this gives the team the ability to see the progress of the tasks in real-time physically. This gives them a sense of progress, even with a small movement of the sticky note on the office whiteboard. They could also see the tasks needed to be done, making it hard for them to forget.
There are many project management tools online that use the Kanban approach, among which is Trello, a software that uses cards on project boards.
If you’re looking for more options, here are some factors to consider when choosing the best Kanban-based project management tool for project managers, like you:
Consider using a Kanban app for mobile that’s easily understood and used by the team. Keep in mind that this app or software is used to increase productivity and not counter it because they don’t know how to use it.
Can your software run offline? Does it have an Android or iOS app; so the team can check it even without laptop access? These are some things you need to consider when choosing a Kanban tool for your team.
Considering that most of your data are confidential, will it remain safe with the Kanban software you’re considering?
Choose a Kanban project management software that fits your needs and project objectives. Will you use it to manage your project, workflow, or website? Think these things through properly.
A common effect of the Kanban method is that it decreases the work-in-progress tasks of a team. So your software must do the same thing for you. If your software reduces your productivity, then you’re probably using the wrong one.
Go over the functions that a Kanban software offers. Can the Kanban boards be arranged according to your progress? Can you create sub-columns and attach a checklist or files to it?
Can multiple users use the software? Does it offer reports and analytics of your work progress? Is it customizable according to your desired workflow? You need to know if its functions can help you and your team manage and complete tasks.
Consider the frontend of the software. Its design must be able to help you easily understand its functions and integrated tools.
If you’re a startup business, project management tools are available at different price points. Check if there are no hidden costs. A Kanban project management tool is a good investment, but these tools or apps shouldn’t hurt your revenue and budget.
Here are some of the best project management (PM) tools that use the Kanban method:
A PM and bug-tracking platform that combines Kanban and Agile methodology. It can work with a unique workflow based on the user’s needs.
This platform focuses on workflow optimization and real-time team collaboration. It offers a straightforward interface that supports high productivity.
This software has a workflow automation feature perfect for repeat projects. It also has a dashboard that updates everyone on how their contribution helps the progress of the project.
An agile project management tool made for companies with multiple teams that cater to various projects. This software can also have different workflows in one Kanban board.
As one of the top Kanban project management tools online, Trello offers various services for both individuals and teams, to keep their projects organized. It offers an unlimited number of boards, lists, and cards to its users; and, it can be accessed on any mobile device.
More commonly used by freelance project managers, Breeze offers various services such as Kanban tools, budget management, client portal, idea management, and milestone tracking.
Paymo is a cloud-based project management tool that offers features such as team collaboration, resource scheduling, time tracking, and project accounting in various task views, like list, table, board, and Gantt Chart.
Monday.com is another Cloud-based project management software that uses color-coded boards to check the progress of various tasks within the project quickly. Under this tool, project managers can also see the balance of workload within the team.
Gitscrum is a new player in the project management industry. It is designed with a gamification approach that can help a project manager understand the contribution and performance of each team member.
These are just some of the features and types of software you can look into when choosing a Kanban-based project management tool. Remember, however, that the success of a project will not only rely on the tool you use but also on your team’s teamwork, communication, and hard work.