How we chose our Kanban Tool


We’ve been using Pivotal Tracker [PT] as our Collaborative Project Management Tool for over 2 years now.

Recently though, we chose to move toward a Kanban style of workflow. PT is however heavily geared toward an iterative form of development - but we’ve now chosen to eschew iterations altogether. We’ve been doing continuous deployment for a while now, and we found the whole process of estimations and sizing of stories a largely wasteful exercise.

I am not going to talk about “Why Kanban”, because there are many articles and books which talks about the same. But I am instead going to walk you through the process that we used to evaluate and decide upon the online Kanban tool that we finally ended up shifting to.

The different tools we evaluated were:

If you’ve ever used PT, you already know what an awesome piece of software it is. The real-time collaboration features, the sheer fluidity of the user interface, the way it all tightly fits together - is amazing. So, our expectations from the Kanban tool were already fairly high - especially in terms of a clutter free, fluid, “don’t-get-in-my-way” user experience.

So, we came up with a list of criteria for deciding our tool of choice.

Here is the original google spreadsheet .

So which tool did we end up choosing? Well, its a Kanban Tool called KanbanTool :)

Lastly, I would like to mention those articles which helped us to understand Kanban better.

Update: We moved to Trello
We looked at Trello also initially, but didn't consider as it does not provide features such as WIP limit, cycle and lead time reporting etc. There are extensions available for the same such as Trello WIP Limits for adding WIP limit, but felt those may not be sufficient. But recently we moved to Trello mainly because of its Simplicity and Low learning curve and we are right now very happy with the move.

Posted in : Process

  • Crista Longerbam

    Great article! Thank your for sharing.

    • vaidy

      Glad it was useful :)

  • Kane

    Did you end up looking at the Agile feature of JIRA which allows you to have a combined Kanban board + a SCRUM view?

    • vaidy

      Is that a recent feature?

      Somehow we don’t remember seeing that feature in Jira when we did the evaluation a year ago.

  • Kanbanery

    That’s really helpful. Many of our users take advantage of full text search to add their own tags and we do have a free plan and 30-day free trials. I’m sorry if that wasn’t obvious to you when you were doing your comparison. I’m glad you noticed that we decided against per-user pricing. It’s a great way to make money as your clients grow, but we don’t like the fact that it creates a disincentive for giving stakeholders access to project data. Thanks for considering Kanbanery.

    • vaidy

      Thanks for your comment.

      We’ll update the spreadsheet shortly to reflect those points about Kanbanery.

      Update: We’ve now moved to Trello from KanbanTool. More on that soon.

    • Leena

      Thank you for your comments. Spreadsheet is updated with the details mentioned in the comments.

  • Aarif Khan

    Nice article on evaluation process. Visual Management and Kanban are the latest and one of the best ways of collaboration on a wide variety of technology and business functions. I would strongly recommend you also to try SwiftKanban which is built under the guidance of Kanban leader David J. Anderson and implements kanban in the best and easiest manner. SwiftKanban helps organizations and teams visualize their workflow and work on a Visual Kanban Board. I am sure you’d be amazed by the features offered by SwiftKanban.

    • vaidy

      Thank you for your comment. We’ve been using Trello for over a year now – and are *very happy* with its features and ease of use. Plus you can’t beat the price – its totally free :).