“”
Agile ToolsBest ToolsManaging Development ToolsPlanning Tools

10 Best Kanban Software Of 2021

This kanban software review covers 10 tools and all the info you need: pros and cons, pricing, features, integrations, and screenshots to help you choose something that fits your needs.

By 15/01/2021 No Comments

The Best Kanban Software List

Here’s a shortlist of the best Kanban software:

  1. Hubstaff Tasks - Best for custom Kanban workflows
  2. Wrike - Best project template selection
  3. Kanban Zone - Best cross-portfolio Kanban board
  4. Kanbanize - Best Kanban software for software development teams
  5. Teamwork - Best stakeholder/client access controls
  6. ProjectManager - Best for project portfolio management (PPM)
  7. Mavenlink - Best Kanban software for team collaboration
  8. monday.com - Best Agile workflow
  9. Smartsheet - Best Kanban + Gantt chart hybrid tool
  10. ClickUp - Best for customizing your own set of features

Below you’ll find an overview of each of the 10 best Kanban software, with screenshots, feature overviews, and pricing.

Jump to kanban software overviews

Kanban is a popular framework used to implement agile and DevOps software development. It requires real-time communication of everyone’s capacity and full transparency of what’s being worked on. Work items are represented visually on a Kanban board, allowing team members to see the state of every piece of work at any time.

Kanban is a visual system where you get to visualize both the process and the actual tasks in that process. The main purpose of Kanban is to visualize progress and manage work in a cost-effective way at a steady speed. It follows a set of principles to improve the flow of work and streamline tasks.

Kanban Software Comparison Criteria

Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria. These are things I look for when I evaluate tools, and they’re also things to consider when you’re trying to find the right one for your team:

  1. User Interface (UI): Are the Kanban cards easy to read, manipulate, edit, search, and archive? Is the project roadmap obvious at a glance with real-time details, due date, and drill-down capabilities where needed?
  2. Usability: Does the project management tool offer training, support, and wikis specific to lean work management and Kanban task cards specifically? Can you easily employ work-in-progress limits to keep users focused on what matters most?
  3. Integrations: Kanban apps tend to work in conjunction with other workforce software, as they may not support every element of a team’s day-to-day. Is the tool easy to connect with other tools using an API? Does it work with common PM apps like Jira, Slack, Asana, GitHub, Google Drive, and LeanKit?
  4. Value for $: Does the Kanban tool pricing cover the features you would expect like a detailed board view with powerful filters and sorting? Does the tool cover the Kanban method as well as going above and beyond in additional features needed by agile teams? Is the pricing structure flexible, transparent, and scalable?

Kanban Software Key Features

  1. WIP limits – Can managers limit the number of work in progress items users can have to help prioritize tasks and focus their team?
  2. Identification of bottlenecks – Whether it’s a ROG system or customizable alerts, we want apps that don’t let task management lag.
  3. Automation of dependencies – Does the board automatically reflect changes in dependencies when you change dates, add subtasks, or adjust milestones?
  4. Backlog metrics – Is it easy to measure what has been pinned for later to reactivate or delete old work items when appropriate?
  5. Workflow management templates – Are there different types of Kanban style cards that can be set-up quickly per differing needs?
  6. Time tracking functionality – This is a bonus but it’s helpful to know how much time is being spent on each card (and by whom).

Kanban Software DPM Logo Soup 2021

The Digital Project Manager is reader-supported. We may earn a commission when you click through links on our site — learn more about how we aim to stay transparent.

Overviews Of The 10 Best Kanban Software

Here’s a brief description of each of the Kanban project management software on my list, showing what it does best and including screenshots to showcase some of the features.

  • freemium version
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $5/user/month

Hubstaff Tasks - Best for custom Kanban workflows

Hubstaff Tasks' sprints feature and detailed tasks make it simple to know what needs to be done and what it’ll take to finish a task.

Hubstaff Tasks is a project management tool with multiple task tracking and collaboration features. Its interface is based on the Kanban methodology; it lets you organize tasks in different project stages, which are represented by columns. Each task can be categorized using color-coded labels. One of its notable features is custom workflows. These let you automate assigning tasks to team members at different project stages and moving them forward with one click.

You can create checklists within each task and track them from the project view using progress bars. Files can also be attached to task cards, but the free plan only allows up to 100 MB of storage per user. Switching to the sprints view displays all your assigned tasks, organized by sprint. You can move tasks to current or future sprints or to the backlog with a drag-and-drop mechanism similar to Kanban.

Hubstaff Tasks integrates with Active Collab, Asana, Breeze, ClickUp, GitHub, GitLab, Insightly, JIRA, LiquidPlanner, Mavenlink, Paymo, PivotalTracker, Podio, Redbooth, Redmine, Teamwork Projects, Trello, Unfuddle, Wrike, Zoho Projects, Slack, Zendesk, Salesforce, QuickBooks, and other apps. You can boost your integration options with a paid plan through Zapier, unlocking hundreds of other possible connections.

Hubstaff Tasks is free for up to 5 users and 10 projects. The premium plan starts at $5/user/month.

Pros

  • Generous freemium plan
  • Fast to launch & start using
  • Excellent project management templates
  • Easy to onboard new clients

Cons

  • No WIP limits
  • Limited 3rd-party integrations
  • No mobile app
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $9.80/user/month

Wrike - Best project template selection

Easy drag-and-drop cards move tasks between different completion stages.

Wrike’s versatile and easy-to-use web-based platform adapts to however your team organizes their work—it doesn’t just have Kanban stuff, but you’ll find standard Kanban boards along with other project management features. The built-in proofing and approvals help to accelerate your activity stream and multiple reporting views keep you abreast of developments as they happen. Wrike offers many different types of project templates, including Kanban project templates to get you started quickly.

Wrike costs from $9.80/user/month and offers a free 14-day trial.

Pros

  • Users have access to a variety of fully customizable dashboards
  • User-friendly and intuitive for all skill levels
  • View projects and tasks in different views (list, table, Kanban, Gantt)

Cons

  • Shareable dashboards are limited to paid plans
  • Only 2GB of storage space with the freemium plan
  • Time tracking is included in Business and Enterprise plans only
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $7/user/month

Kanban Zone - Best cross-portfolio Kanban board

Kanban Zone allows users to fully customize their Kanban boards as well as subdivide columns.

Kanban Zone is designed to allow teams to visualize their entire agency and organization by connecting teams and processes. The tool offers a highly flexible Kanban board editor that does not constrain users to perfect grids and instead allows them to truly map their ideal flow of work.

The tool also includes a timeline view for increased planning capabilities, as well as templates and a Portfolio Kanban for traceability across projects. Also available are project and Kanban metrics, collaboration features such as comments and notifications, and workflow management capabilities.

Kanban Zone has a simple interface that helps teams focus on the work at hand, and a team of support experts to help with onboarding and ongoing questions.

Kanban Zone pricing starts at $5 per month for a personal plan and $7 per month for enterprise plans. A free 30 day trial is also available.

  • 7 days free trial
  • From $149/month for up to 15 users

Kanbanize - Best Kanban software for software development teams

Divide your workflow into multiple Kanban boards to visualize all tasks at once.

Kanbanize offers flexible, web-based Kanban boards and built-in business rules so that you can automate all your team’s existing processes, dependencies, and interactions. PMs will especially enjoy the ability to forecast the end dates of any initiatives based on the flow of child cards anywhere in the Kanban card hierarchy. Software development teams will appreciate their focus on user stories and epics with transparent cross-team dependencies.

Kanbanize costs from $149/month for up to 15 users and offers a free 7-day trial.

Pros

  • Nicely visualizes complex projects and processes
  • Easy to follow communication trails
  • Clear cross-team dependencies

Cons

  • Can’t fully hide unneeded swimlanes
  • Not tailored to large enterprise needs
  • Limited ability to change a card’s historical data
  • Free to use for up to 5 users and 2 projects
  • From $10/user/month for up to 300 projects

Teamwork - Best stakeholder/client access controls

Organize tasks according to common project stages like preparation and quote submission.

Used by Spotify, PayPal, Disney, and Netflix, Teamwork is a Kanban project management solution that empowers you to manage multiple projects with ease. Users can break down complex projects into multiple levels of tasks and subtasks. It’s great for giving clients or stakeholders a view of your progress—you can customize each stakeholder’s access permissions for everything from adding comments on tasks all the way through to adding tasks, milestones, and even logging time.

Teamwork is free to use for up to 5 users and 2 projects. Paid plans cost from $10/user/month for up to 300 projects.

Pros

  • Features can be turned on/off (tasks, messages, time, risks, billing)
  • Easy zoom in/zoom out on project plans
  • Easy to communicate task status with clients or team

Cons

  • No CSS template option for advanced customizability
  • No industry-specialized project templates or formats
  • No way to measure your team’s capacity
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $15/user/month

ProjectManager - Best for project portfolio management (PPM)

Customize workflows in ProjectManager using detail-rich Kanban boards.

ProjectManager is an award-winning Kanban software and project management system that boasts an impressive suite of project portfolio management (PPM) tools. Real-time dashboards, all-in-one roadmaps, and multiple project views are just a few of the features available to users to organize their portfolio, so this goes way beyond Kanban boards. The PPM reporting system is useful, too, giving you a birds-eye-view of data.

ProjectManager costs from $15/user/month and offers a free 30-day trial.

Pros

  • Excellent high level view of project
  • Customizable schedule templates
  • Time and expense tracking
  • Multilingual and very flexible

Cons

  • No mobile app
  • No way to update partially complete tasks
  • Doesn’t output schedule files to .mpp
  • 10 days free trial plus free demo
  • From $19/user/month

Mavenlink - Best Kanban software for team collaboration

Each card has several detailed elements for conversation and collaboration.

Mavenlink’s M-Bridge connects your tech stack so that all of your apps work together for the best project management experience, so it’s a good fit for collaborative teams that use a lot of tools. Their Kanban cards have room for tons of communication and collaboration features, like messaging, attachments, scheduling, and preview/feedback links.

Mavenlink costs from $19/user/month and they offer a 10-day free trial plus free demo.

Pros

  • Aesthetic, simplistic calendaring
  • Various scheduling data views
  • Drag-and-drop Gantt chart timeline
  • Improved task tracking since older versions of the software

Cons

  • Lack of global search function
  • No schedule sharing without log-in
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $14/user/month

monday.com - Best Agile workflow

Easily set-up agile sprints using their Kanban cards and other task management tools.

monday.com is a scalable, flexible, and secure web-based project management tool that sports some of the most user-friendly and engaging interface graphics around. The bright colors, gamification of task completion, and easy drag-and-drop mechanisms can encourage software adoption by even the least techy team members. PMs can easily establish Agile sprints using Kanban-style cards for every step in the task completion process.

monday.com is free to use for 1 dashboard and unlimited boards. Paid plans cost from $14/user/month and you can try them out for 14-day for free.

Pros

  • Color coded status great for resource overviews
  • Easily create boards dedicated to operational resource tracking
  • New features being rolled out regularly
  • Quick learning curve

Cons

  • Requires manual resource forecasting (no automation)
  • More expensive compared to similar products
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $7/user/month

Smartsheet - Best Kanban + Gantt chart hybrid tool

Easily switch between multiple visualizations of the same data depending on preference.

Every Smartsheet subscription tier has access to hundreds of project templates sorted by industry or type. Here you’ll have access to Gantt charts, construction estimators, legal contract management, customer lifetime value (CLV), team productivity documents, performance evaluation sheets, and anything else you can think of. Anyone who uses Kanban schedules as well as other common calendar views like Gantt will appreciate the ability to flip back and forth between them!

Smartsheet costs $7/user/month, with a minimum of 3 users and a maximum of 25 users. They also offer a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • Easy to pull data from multiple sources
  • Great alternative to Excel spreadsheets
  • Well-communicated prepared-by-client (PBC) requests

Cons

  • Advanced training recommended
  • Paid plans start at a higher pricing tier
  • Free to use for unlimited users with a 100MB storage maximum and offers a free trial
  • From $5/user/month

ClickUp - Best for customizing your own set of features

ClickUp’s Kanban tools let users visualize all their boards in one mega-board.

ClickUp’s flexible project management app offers over 100 proprietary features to choose from, letting power users highlight what they want and hide what they do not use. Choose simple task lists or more advanced workflows (called “Statuses”) to track updates and progress remotely. Their Kanban boards benefit from this vast feature set, allowing users to customize their boards and workflows according to the unique needs of each project, task, and subtask.

ClickUp is free to use for unlimited users with a 100MB storage maximum. Their paid plan starts at $5/user/month and offers a free trial.

Pros

  • Choose from 50+ widgets to customize your dashboard
  • Great interface on both web and mobile app
  • Healthy variety of project views and dashboard reports

Cons

  • Read-only guest permissions are limited to paid account
  • Reporting suite is limited to paid plans only
  • Granular customization options results in a time consuming set-up

Summary Of The Best Kanban Software

Software Overview Free Option Price Site
Hubstaff Tasks Hubstaff Tasks logo Read Hubstaff Tasks features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial

From $5/user/month Check out Hubstaff Tasks
Wrike Wrike logo Read Wrike features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $9.80/user/month Check out Wrike
Kanban Zone Kanban Zone logo Read Kanban Zone features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $7/user/month Check out Kanban Zone
Kanbanize Kanbanize logo Read Kanbanize features & functionality

7 days free trial

From $149/month for up to 15 users Check out Kanbanize
Teamwork Teamwork logo Read Teamwork features & functionality

Free to use for up to 5 users and 2 projects

From $10/user/month for up to 300 projects Check out Teamwork
ProjectManager ProjectManager logo Read ProjectManager features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $15/user/month Check out ProjectManager
Mavenlink Mavenlink logo Read Mavenlink features & functionality

10 days free trial plus free demo

From $19/user/month Check out Mavenlink
monday.com monday.com logo Read monday.com features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $14/user/month Check out monday.com
Smartsheet Smartsheet logo Read Smartsheet features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $7/user/month Check out Smartsheet
ClickUp ClickUp logo Read ClickUp features & functionality

Free to use for unlimited users with a 100MB storage maximum and offers a free trial

From $5/user/month Check out ClickUp

Other Kanban Software Options

Here’s a few more that I didn’t include in the top list, but these are still great tools to check out:

  1. Trello – Best Kanban software for small businesses
  2. Meistertask – Best time tracking support
  3. Paymo – Best for freelancers and contractors
  4. Hive – Best for marketing teams
  5. Sciforma – Best for idea and demand management
  6. Kanboard – Best free open source Kanban board

Which Kanban Software Do You Use?

I hope you found the perfect Kanban system for your team members’ flow of work.

Which Kanban board from this list is your favorite to use? Do you have a Kanban tool in mind that you would add to this overview if you could? Is Kanban your preferred agile project management organizational technique? Do you have any tips to maximize effectiveness of swimlanes? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

For updates on our latest articles and podcasts from project management experts, sign up for the DPM newsletter.

You can also share tool recommendations and best practices with other digital PMs in our online community—get involved with our community in DPM Membership.

Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.