Is Kanban Board Really Free? Words Of Caution
Is Kanban Board Really Free?
With most online tools, the Kanban board is free only to some extent. And not only that, but it usually seems free but becomes pretty expensive pretty fast. This isn’t the case with ProdGoal, which we’ll cover later on.
Depending if we are talking about a digital Kanban board or a physical Kanban board, things differ. If you set up a Kanban board at your home, or in your office and hang it up on the wall, then it is free as it will ever be. But if you set it up for your team or company with one of the popular online Kanban software tools, then you might be in for a surprise.
Let’s see if and which online tools offer a really free Kanban Board. I will be listing these in no particular order, because they all have benefits and flaws, depending on the needs of the user.
ProdGoal Is Really Free
Is Kanban board really free in ProdGoal? Yes, it’s absolutely free. There are no buts and ifs. ProdGoal is a flexible product management tool with a Kanban board that is built with simplicity and usefulness in mind.
Team members can easily communicate work in progress and simultaneously track multiple views. Colorful and customizable features are going to help boost productivity and ensure all team members stay on the same page.
These are some of the main features of the ProdGoal Kanban board:
Unlimited Kanban boards
Unlimited Kanban board cards
Unlimited Kanban roadmaps
Unlimited task groups
*If you connect to Google Drive, otherwise there is a 5MB storage per account
Given the unlimited features ProdGoal has to offer, it is ideal for both creating a personal Kanban board or using its powerful features for your business. You will find many more useful features inside the tool for you and your team, and they are also free. Forever.
Asana is one of the popular tools for project and product management. It helps teams better visualize their work and it has plenty of features.
It offers unlimited projects, tasks, and subtasks for a team of 15 people. After that, you would have to sign up for $10,99 per user per month. While those are great starting points for any Kanban board, the free plan is lacking in flexibility.
As for the paid features, there are some crucial ones available only in the paid plan. There is the timeline feature, as well as advanced search and unlimited dashboards that unlock in the first paid tier.
There are also rules, forms, and start dates that you get on this level. They are simply a must-have for anyone serious about the work process. And they are not free.
All in all, this is a great tool if you’re not running on a budget. The Kanban board that you get in the free tier isn’t as useful as it is in the paid tier. So we can say that for small startup teams there could be a better tool to use than this.
Monday has been on the top of online Kanban board tools for a while now. It is a customizable, all-around tool that doesn’t focus solely on Kanban, but also on other project management methodologies.
Regarding free features, unlimited boards, unlimited docs, and 200+ templates are there to get you started. And it is free for 2 members. For every other team member afterward, you are charged $8 per month.
And what does Monday offer for $8 per month? Unlimited free viewers and unlimited items. The good thing is that there is also 5 GB of file storage. The not-so-good thing is that the dashboard you create is based on only one board.
To summarize, the free plan is primarily for personal use or to test out the tool before you decide if you are going to level up or not. Though versatile and customizable, Monday can be limiting if you are already working with a team on a project.
Next we have ClickUp - A tool that helps you arrange and analyze tasks at hand through various sorting options.
It offers free unlimited tasks and members for 1 person, so it is a great tool for personal use. Among the features in the free plan, members get 100MB of storage, collaborative docs, whiteboards, and of course, Kanban boards. ClickUp is also centered on communication, so you get real-time chat and email to always stay up to date with your team members.
In the paid plan, which starts at $5 per user per month, unlimited storage, integrations, dashboards, and guests with permissions become possible. For more customization, work tracking, and collaboration, you get unlimited Gantt charts, custom fields, goals, and teams.
With these limitations in mind what the free tier brings, ClickUp seems ideal for personal use. And you can invite as many members as you want or need. The downside to that is that you can’t make teams unless you decide to get the paid plan.
Free features include unlimited boards, tasks (recurring and subtasks also), and WIP limits. This is enough to get you started. But we will see what other core Kanban board features are, unfortunately not free.
Swimlanes come with a paid plan. Attachments, task relations, analytics, and reporting are also in there.
So, the features in the free plan are going to be good enough for simple Kanban board work tracking and task management. There is also a “hack” that they themselves mention, and that is if you sign up for an account, you can invite an unlimited number of members for free.
If that’s what your team is content with, KanbanFlow might be the right choice for you. Yet, this isn’t a really free Kanban board.
The best known task-moving tool there is. Trello offers many Kanban board features for free. You can create 10 boards per account. I listed this tool because it is not a Kanban tool per se, but it has the most simple features of a Kanban board.
Anyways, let’s see is Kanban board free in Trello?
Of free features, Trello has unlimited cards and assignees. That should be enough for your team to implement a Kanban board for up to 10 projects. But it’s missing a lot of crucial features of a Kanban board which we’ve mentioned earlier.
As for the paid plans, the first one gives you unlimited boards and assignees, which is enough for a small team to start visualizing work and communicating it. The second tier gives more advanced options such as advanced checklists and custom fields, while the third one offers new features like dashboard view (reporting) and timeline view (Gantt and swimlanes).
You probably already used Trello at some point in your career. If you don’t need a full Kanban board and you don’t have multiple projects to track and manage, Trello is always a good option.
MeisterTask is a colorful task management tool that helps beginners, as well as veterans, organize and boost the productivity of teams. Its Kanban board is fully customizable and lets you arrange items to fit your project’s needs.
This all sounds great, but let’s see what of these features comes with the free plan.
MeisterTask’s free plan gives unlimited project members for one person. The person can create up to 3 projects where he can customize their boards. Attachments are limited to 20MB per file. There is also email support available in the free plan.
WIP limits are an important part of the Kanban board and they are a part of the paid plan. On this tier, projects get unlocked, so you can create as many as you need. And you can group them in project groups.
There are also recurring tasks and multiple checklists. File attachments can be up to 200 MB per file. Statistics and reports are on this level too as well as multiple team members.
All in all, there are 4 tiers to choose from. The free tier is a great way to introduce yourself to the MeisterTask before you sign up for one of the other tiers because only then will you experience MeisterTask’s full potential.
Zoho Projects is a project management tool made by Zoho. It is flexible and customizable to accommodate the needs of traditional project managers and Agile teams alike.
It comes with a limited free plan where you can use Gantt chart viewer for simple task tracking on 2 projects and get 10MB storage space. It also has mobile (iOS, Android) support.
For $3 per user per month the following features are unlocked: subtasks and reminders, task duration in hours, automation, Project Gantt, time tracking, and more. Projects are now unlimited and you get 20 project templates you can choose from. File storage is also increased to 100GB.
As only 2 projects are allowed per account, and a 10MB storage, it is more suitable for personal use or a team that wants to try out a Kanban board. Zoho Projects has a very steep learning curve, so it may be more suitable for experienced teams.
Toggl is a Kanban board tool with all features that you’ll need for your project management needs. Its timeline view and easy drag-and-drop features are going to help you and your team visualize and communicate work in progress in real-time.
What is free in Toggl? Unlimited time tracking with Pomodoro timer, unlimited projects, unlimited clients, and unlimited tags along with exportable reports make the free plan great for small teams. Up to 5 users can use this plan.
However, one of the important Kanban features can be found in the Starter tier for $8 per user per month - and that is Tasks or Sub-projects. This tier also offers billable rates, time rounding for reports as well as saving the reports. There are estimates and project templates available too.
And in the Premium Tier for $18 per user per month we get to more advanced features such as forecasting and analytics, team time tracking, and single sign-on.
Toggl is yet another tool that’s suited for a small team if you are looking for a budget option. The free plan gives you much of Kanban and you can use it for multiple projects which is the upside.
The downside, as with other tools, is that Kanban board features are limited unless you transfer to Starter or Premium plans. The question remains is that a good tradeoff for you and your team.
Kanban Tool is a straightforward Kanban board tool with all the necessary features that will improve your performance as a single user or a team of people. With real-time updates, and advanced Kanban Board analytics you can stay on top of your game.
Kanban Tool has 3 pricing tiers. The free tier gives you 2 users per account and 2 boards with no file attachment feature. And they offer custom pricing and discounts for educational and non-profit organizations.
The next, Team tier is priced at $5 per user per month where boards and file attachments are unlimited. And the 3rd tier is for the enterprise. For $9 per user per month you get everything from the Team tier with reporting, groups and automation added.
This is a good Kanban board tool with lots of features, but if you are looking for a free Kanban board for you and your team, maybe there are better options.
You should better think twice before deciding to use Jira, since there are some good sides to it, but also a lot of people calling our .problems with Jira.
I have left out some of the popular online Kanban board tools because they only have free trial periods as they are meant for enterprise. They are listed below with a short description of the tools and their features.
Kanbanize is a robust, enterprise-level Kanban tool that scales on all levels. It helps visualize and organize work from teams of all levels of expertise to executive managers up the hierarchy.
Because there is no unlimited free plan, but only a free trial, I will just list some of the more important features for Kanban board Kanbanize has to offer.
Apart from task and project management features, there is dependency control, flow metrics, automation of progress, blockers, and risk forecast that work for you as you progress through the task. There is also strategy optimization and communication which is possible on all levels.
Pipefy is more of a platform than a traditional Kanban board tool, but with it, you can automate and organize your work effortlessly by utilizing its many features.
You can automate any kind of process whether it’s in the financial department or job applications. Any kind of manual task can be viewed in a customized view, connected on the same platform.
Planview leans more toward traditional Kanban boards than the previous two honorable mentions. It is a robust, feature-heavy, enterprise tool that you can get a glimpse of it in an on-demand demo. It charges $20 per user per month and that is the only pricing tier there.
Maybe they are lacking on the design side, but on the work process side, they have a lot to offer. From vertical lanes and sub lanes, through horizontal swimlanes to WIP limits, lane policies, and board health, they really cover a lot of the workflow that is in one place so you don’t need multiple tools to track your work.
Words of caution
Hopefully, this overview of or search for free Kanban board has given you some information on what are the best online tools for you and your team. When searching for the best tool, be cautious and make sure there are no hidden costs.
Kanban boards are very flexible and can contain many features. You can end up paying for the features you need with some tools, while you could get those features for free with another tool.
Of course maybe you found what suits you in two or more tools but you would like to have them in just one. That’s exactly what ProdGoal is striving for, to be the one solution for all Kanban board needs, so give it a try. Unlimited and free forever, cancel any time. Until then, happy hunting!