Agile Kanban Tools

Version 3.1 - Updated October 19, 2013

Below you can see our recommendations for a variety of Agile Kanban tools, including Open Kanban and Kanban Ace.

Open Kanban

  • If you are looking for an Agile and Lean solution, with an Open Source DNA look no further than Open Kanban.
  • Open Kanban brings agility to your Software Development, IT Area, Business, Lean Startup or Non profit.
  • Open Kanban can work with any process you have in your company including PMI's PMBOK or Scrum.

Commercial Kanban Board Software Tools

TOP FIVE: Our Kanban Board Recommendations (in Alphabetical order)

  • Agile Zen
    • One of the best User Interfaces in the industry, very easy to use
    • Powerful enough for most users, and for most Kanban boards
    • Very Reasonable prices
  • Kanbanery
    • Solid features, including exporting of data and metrics
    • Free for up to two users, including all features
    • Very Reasonable prices
  • Kanbanize
    • Solid feature set that includes metrics and exporting of data
    • One of their plans is completely free, it is called the Community edition for non-commercial projects
    • Average prices
  • KanbanTool 
    • Good feature set, including project planning features
    • Kanban focused and advanced features
    • Average prices, but a 2 user free version is available
  • Swift-Kanban
    • A powerful Kanban board, with enterprise features
    • Ease of use is good, but it feels complicated at times because of the large feature set
    • Prices are average

OTHERS: Second Tier Kanban Board Options  (in Alphabetical Order)

  • Jira Agile (it's previous name was GreenHopper)
    • Good Kanban support, but not focused since it also includes Scrum
    • Jira integration is now mandatory, and this pushes the prices, and the complexity of their offering significantly.
    • In our experience it is not a good idea to couple or join the Jira board which is usually used by Marketing, with the development board. This opens a large potential for conflict and missed communication. Given that this coupling is now mandatory for Jira Agile we can not recommend it. Kanban Ace method suggests instead that you decouple process flows to optimize each sub-system, and avoid miscommunication.
    • Average prices
  • MS Team Foundation Server 2012
    • The latest version in 2013 has recently added support for Kanban, this is welcome news
  • LeanKit Kanban
    • Powerful feature set, but also complicated to learn and use
    • Pricing is relatively high, from $15 per user per month
    • Their free plan is quite limited, it only gives you access to some features of their software
    • For all these reasons at the moment, we can not put LeanKit in our top recommendations.
  • Rally Software
    • The company is an important player in the Agile Tool market.
    • Rally bought AgileZen, and it also includes now Kanban support in their enterprise tool
    • Pricing is relatively high, but the features are extensive. The problem is that is not Kanban focused.
  • Tools for Agile
    • One of the few that allows an in-house installation of your Kanban board
    • Not focused on Kanban, many features are Scrum only
    • Average prices
  • VersionOne - Kanban Board
    • Another major Agile Tool firm, but their tool is not Kanban focused
    • Pricing is quite high compared to other alternatives. They do have a free option but without Kanban support, which is dissapointing.

Personal Kanban & Pomodoro Technique

iPad Compatible Tools

  • Kanbana
    • On beta, they have iPad and web versions.
  • Kanbanery
    • Web version, and okay iPad version.

Physical - Electronic Board Bridging Tools

These tools allow you to have a large physical, and an electronic board in sync.

Open Source or Free Agile Kanban Tools

  • Open Kanban is a free, open source Kanban method that is Agile and Lean, brought by your friends at AgileLion Institute
  • Portable Kanban
    • It is for Windows only, but looks promising
    • It is not open source, but it is freely available.
  • Simple Kanban
  • Kanbanik
    • Scala web application with a rich frontend optimized for Google Chrome. Tthere is a runtime for Windows and for Linux.
    • Solid feature set
    • Support for complex flows (vertical/horizontal sub-states) and more projects on one board (with sharing workflow)
    • Support for one project on more boards (enables creating hierarchical boards)

Kanban Simulators

  • KanbanSim
    • A Windows only simulator, but free of charge.
    • Related presentation
  • Kanban Sim Online
    • Based on Heroku, it works online on most browsers.
    • Once WIP is selected it works on it’s own, given little explanation of WHY it behaves the way it does. However it shows how bigger lots, or WIP slow down overall cycle time
    • It creates a Cumulutative Flow Diagram of the simulation
    • Free, created by IT-Agile from Germany, Arne Rock was behind it’s development
    • Twitter handle: @kanbansim
  • GetKanban Online
    • Another Kanban simulator by CorporateKanban.com
    • Video of their tool here

Kanban Ebooks and Guides

  • The Kanban Kick-start Field Guide URL
    • It has a creative commons license.
  • Open Kanban's Official Presentation
    • With a creative commons license, and downloadable in PDF format.

Updates, or additions to our list are welcome, submit your tools via our contact page; comments are closed until the new edition of this list is published. We also welcome sponsorship opportunities, if you would like to advertise on our website contact us.

Comments

Hi,

could you please consider to add also Kanbanik as one of the open source tools?

Thank you

Yes, Tomas. Joseph recently saw it in the network and I was going to add it. 
Now Kanbanik is added. Take a look.

FYI: LeanKit also has an iPhone and iPad app for its online boards ...

Thanks for the comment John, we will update the information on the article on the section about iPad / Mobile options.
In addition to LeanKit, we plan to add news about other recent iPad apps from major offerings in our Top 5 list. The only one we are aware of at the moment is from AgileZen, whose iPad app seems solid.

How about TargetProcess (http://targetprocess.com/3)?

We will add the in the near future, but our initial impressions are that TP is far more focused in being a Scrum tool.

Alex, previous versions of TargetProcess were truly much more suited for Scrum than Kanban. However I must admit that version 3 seems to finally address this issue. TargetProcess seems now like a capable Kanban board. We will evaluate TP again, and post a review in the next version of our Agile Kanban list.

Thanks for a great information source!

I think one of the links is wrong, kanbanery link directs to agilezen.

Jussi

Thanks Jussi for letting us know. I recently implemented necessary changes.

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for this nice collection. I wanted ask if you ever tried out https://www.blossom.io/

Nik, Blossom is a fairly new tool. We visited the website, and it is interesting that although Kanban is not mentioned in the homepage, it does seem to support it quite well. The interface is also quite modern, and app like.
We would like to review it in a future version of our Agile Kanban Tools article. However there seems to be no trial at all, and therefore we can not review it, or include it in the article. If you can contact us with a trial account, we will take the time to review it properly.
Finally a second question, do you consider your tool a general purpose Kanban tool, or just geared for Product Management?

Targetprocess supports Kanban better than most tools in this list. Check this quick video

http://youtu.be/YH_hwlAb0cs

Michael, like I just replied to a previous comment about TargetProcess, I do believe that your product is now a good Kanban alternative. We will evaluate TargetProcess again for the next version of our list, and list the pros and cons. I look forward to having another product in our top 5. We shall see how good it goes, but I do think version 3 of your product is a major improvement for Kanban.

Any thoughts on Kanbanpad? I've been giving it a spin and like it so far.

Looks like a nice tool, we'll give it a try! :)