Kanban, Six Sigma and the Deming Cycle.
These terms may sound like they came from a crazy new vidya game your kids love.
You’re probably a project manager and you know what these terms mean.
Pop quiz, hot shot!
Answers: 1. B, 2. C, 3. A.
Did you pass the quiz? Congratulations if you did! This guide will focus on the five best lean tools available.
What are “lean tools”?
KaiNexus CEO Greg Jacobson outlines the key features of lean management software. He explains them in 6 Critical Features for a Best-in Class Lean Management System.
You might ask, “What is the difference between agile and lean?”
Abby Fichtner says that agile’s values and principles are based on the science behind Lean. You’ll also see similar themes in agile. In other words, agile was born out of lean methodology.
We searched for project management software that was built on lean principles and targeted small businesses, though it could be scaled up to large organizations. It was also priced reasonably.
Why is lean management software important to small businesses, especially when it comes to software development?
Gartner’s February 2016 report suggested that “Limiting software to short projects that focus on the most important business issues is the best way Gartner has seen to stop the building of software that will never get used.”
The Top Five Lean Tools
These five solutions were chosen because they adhere to lean principles and their pricing starts at $20 per user per month.
They are listed alphabetically.
Kanbanize (no Kanamit) boasts ease-of-use as well as a “300% improvement in end-to-end project efficiency,” according their website.
Kanbanize’s plans start at $9 per user per month after a 30-day trial. It’s easy to use thanks to its colorful, sleek user interface.
Some of Kanbanize’s most distinctive features include email integration, if-then branching rules and time-tracking.
New features include deeper analytics and Spanish internationalization (to go with English and German), inherited cards parameters and walkthrough tutorials.
Have you used Kanbanize? Leave a review
2. KPI Fire
KPI Fire’s primary goal is to align employees with company goals. KPI Fire is based on Lean Six Sigma principles and does not rely on Kanban cards.
KPI Fire combines project management and goal setting with a dashboard interface.
It may lack some of the advanced features of more project-management-oriented tools, like analytics and customizable boards, but if you just need something to stay on track for annual and quarterly strategy goals, KPI Fire fits the bill.
Plans start at $20 per user, per month.
Have you used KPI Fire? Leave a review
Example of a LeanKit Development Team using “Ready Queues” on a Kanban Board
It’s a toolkit for lean project management. This is why the name.
LeanKit Product Tour – LeanKit on Vimeo
LeanKit claims it is the “only lean-based enterprise platform that helps customers deliver customer value faster.” This is a dubious claim. However, there are many things to love about LeanKit.
Plans start at $19 per month, per user for unlimited, customizable kanban boards.
Advanced features include metrics, work-in-progress limits, advanced filters, and more
Premium plans for enterprises-sized businesses include multi-team relationships and an integration hub, custom field, and a private Cloud.
Leankit has many great features, but some users had difficulty learning.
Have you used LeanKit? Leave a review
SmartView, not to be confused with Samsung’s content sharing app is a Canadian-developed application that combines