Choosing a Kanban App: 7 Things You Need to Consider

KanbanAppsChoosing a Kanban App

Kanban apps are increasingly adopted by enterprises looking for ways to optimize workflow processes and accelerate value delivery. While teams may start out using a physical Kanban board, the need to streamline communication between distributed and cross-functional teams quickly prompts most teams to adopt a Kanban app.

Using a Kanban web app can help optimize your workflow by providing information anytime, anywhere, and on any device — from a desktop to a laptop to a tablet to a smartphone. And a Kanban mobile app makes it even easier for teams to have the information you need at your fingertips, whether on- or off-line.

What’s more is the ability to report on Lean metrics to help teams measure the performance of their process or value stream. This information produced from a kanban flow app is valuable in understanding waste or inefficiencies, identifying bottlenecks and measuring improvements.

What’s Right for Your Team?

All Kanban apps are alike, right? Well, not quite. If team collaboration and reporting are not on your list of requirements — and you’re just looking to track your daily to-do list — then a simpler app will suffice.

However, if your team needs to manage work distributed across multiple teams, run Lean reports, or integrate with third-party systems, then a basic solution may prove to be more expensive in the long run. Some of these tools weren’t purpose-built to support Kanban and may lack the flexibility needed by teams. Below are some factors to consider when choosing a Kanban application:

Ease of Use

Ease of use for a Kanban app means that you can design a new board in just a few minutes. It also means that boards should be easy to interpret at a glance and make information actionable with little effort. Choose a Kanban app that anyone in the organization — technical and non-technical users alike — can easily adopt and use, and doesn’t require a steep learning curve.

Administration

The question around which Kanban app is right for your team is a matter of resources. As you scale your implementation across multiple teams, will you need an administrator to manage this platform? Does the Kanban app have the enterprise administration capabilities needed to manage roles, permissions and security for hundreds and thousands of users?

Flexibility

Teams need the freedom to be able to set up and configure their Kanban boards in a way that is unique to their process. When determining the best Kanban app for your team, consider one that has the flexibility you need to continuously evolve and adapt your process.

Visibility

Are you looking for a Kanban app to provide visibility for a single team or across multiple, distributed teams? Do you need to create a hierarchy of boards that provides different levels of information — such as at the Portfolio, Project and Team levels? Consider how you intend to use your Kanban app to radiate information upwards and outwards across your organization.

Reporting and Analytics

Does your team need reports that provide data for analysis, planning and determination of continuous improvement initiatives? Often, providers require users to export data from a system into a spreadsheet to manually create many of the reports they need. If your team needs reports at their fingertips, consider a Kanban board app with built-in metrics to help your team aggregate data and analyze organizational performance trends.

Mobile

Staying connected when you’re away from your desk is increasingly more important as business users are accessing workflows and data through mobile devices. Giving teams the ability to work however and whenever they see fit can increase productivity. However, if mobile functionality is limited, your team will not be able to maximize their efficiency.

Integrations with Other Products

While connecting relevant data from disparate systems can often be a daunting task for IT departments, it’s necessary for making critical business decisions. Integrating a Kanban app into your current environment enables your business leaders to make data-driven decisions faster and reduces human handoffs of work so that tasks and projects are delivered faster.

The wide range of integration capabilities span from point-to-point APIs, which require development time to securely set up and integrate, to pre-built, fully automated connections designed for easy installation and maintenance. Understanding your team’s integration needs, for the short and long term, will help you decide which tool is the right fit.

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