Jack Wallen takes a look at the Kanban Zone service and comes away impressed but with a couple of suggestions on how to make it better.
In my opinion, project management doesn’t get any better than a well-designed Kanban board. With Kanban, you get an at-a-glance as to where a project is in the process and can immediately conclude what’s on track and what’s gone off the rails. Given how many Kanban services are available, every project manager is sure to find one that perfectly suits their needs. So when I see a new Kanban service, you can bet that I immediately dive in to see if the product is worthy of any project manager’s time.
In Kanban Zone, I found one that is not only worthy but is capable of rising to just about any project management occasion.
What is Kanban Zone?
Kanban Zone offers the usual Kanban features, but also adds things like metrics, portfolio Kanban board for full traceability, dependency tracking, cycle time tracking, dynamic project plans, flexible board designer, mirror cards, recurring cards, column watching, add-ons and more.
Kanban Zone offers a 30-day free trial, but once the trial expires, you’ll have to pay up for a plan. The company offers three tiers:
- Personal: $5/month per license for limited boards.
- Professional: $8/month per license for unlimited boards.
- Enterprise: Contact for information for Kanban at scale.
What are Kanban Zone’s features?
One of the best things about Kanban Zone is that when you create a new board, you can choose your methodology, selecting from:
- Classes of Service
- Fast/Normal Tracks
- Moscow Priority
- Drum Buffer Rope
- Six Sigma
- Backlog Flow
- Release Plan
- Task Board
- Waterfall Project Management
- Waterfall Software Development
You can also select from Portfolio Kanban, Personal Kanban, Solutions and Visual Boards. In other words, with the help of a simple-to-use setup wizard, you can create the exact Kanban board to fit the needs of your project.
During the wizard, and depending on the type of board you create, you can customize card labels but not much more. Once the board is created, you can go into the board Settings window and get fairly granular with your columns (Figure A), which is a big plus if you’re using Kanban for non-traditional workflows.
Even the creation of a card in Kanban Zone offers something special. When you go to create a new card you’ll see you can create it from a template. Should you go this route, you’ll then be taken to the template creation window where you can build a template from scratch (Figure B).
Another outstanding feature found in Kanban Zone is custom fields. If you find the default card options aren’t enough for your project, you can go to the board settings window, click Custom Fields and create a new custom field. You can select from the following:
The creation of a custom field is quite simple (Figure C).
With just enough creativity, you can create a custom field for nearly any need.
Within the Settings window, you can also manage members, board restrictions, importing and exporting cards, sharing, blocking, WIP limits, aging, labels, templates and recurrence, voting and integrations.
Who is Kanban Zone for?
Project managers who’ve tried other options and found them, in one way or another, limiting should use Kanban Zone. Although some of the Kanban Zone features do require a bit of a learning curve, once you get up to speed with this service, you’ll find that it’s considerably more flexible than a lot of similar options.
With that in mind, the ideal Kanban Zone user would be one who not only wants to employ Kanban but wants a solution that’s highly configurable and doesn’t mind paying a fee to use the service. Kanban Zone offers just enough extra features and customization to lift it above the standard fare. Because of that alone, the monthly charge will probably be worth paying for a lot of businesses.
Give Kanban Zone a try and see if it doesn’t meet or exceed the needs of your project.
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