There has been a continuing improvement on Task Management concept more than 100 years. While pen and paper is enough for all tasks before Industrial Revolution, a better and compicated system became a solid need after the era. That is mostly because the production processes became more complex.
Today there has been a variety of methods and tools tracking the tasks and issues by computers and softwares. These methods and tools target, personel tasks, team projects, project management, process management (BPM), Manufacturing Execution Systems, etc. While tools and softwares progress, there has been a lot of improvement on theoretical background. Some examples to these methods are Kanban, GTD (Get Things Done), and Agile methodologies.
In this article, we will have a closer look to Kanban methodogy and tools. A thrilling news on this lane is Microsoft's entering on this years June with its new product Planner. This product is seen as a competitor to two well known products in the market: Trello and Asana. Because Asana is targeting the teams, we discard it for this article and add a strong alternative from Open Source world: Kanboard. What I aim is to give the reader a general understanding of the Kanban style task management tools with a broad perspective.
Lastly, task management is an important topic for two reasons. One, it can be used to improve performance of the SMBs which is millions of companies. Second, big IT groups focus on task management for the last 5 years and Microsoft is the last one. This shows the business opportunity.
The Standarts of Kanban style Task Management (not Gangnam style! :)
The tools in this article (and all the other competitors) has standard functionality most of the time. So not to repeat over and over, lets just give them once at the beginning.
- Task Management with drag and drop
- User assignment
- Sub Tasks
- Attaching files
- External Authentication (AD, LDAP)
- Date and time tracking
- E-mail integration and alerts
- Web based and mobile interfaces
Microsoft Planner, is released to market as a member of Office 365 product group in June 2016. The target is to provide a simpler alternative to Ms Project which is too complicated for non technical users. Planner is not sold solely (up to now). You can get it with the appropriate Office 365 subscription plan. Office 365 business packs are around 10 USD / user / month. These packs include classical Ms Office products like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Planner and 1 TB disk space.
Pros: Easy integration with Microsoft products and improving product family.
Cons: Can be used online, no plan for local servers.
It is a fact that Trello is the tool which made Kanban style Task Management world wide popular. In 2011, the company (Fog Creek) owned by the famous guru of IT, Joel Spolsky released Trello. It gained millions of users around the world through these years. You can use Trello for free. A Business Pack with bonuses can be purchased at 10 USD /user/month.
Pros: Elegant interface, detailed functionality evolved in 5 years.
Cons: No option to install locally and modify
Kanboard is the Open Source alternative of our comparison list. It has a clean interface and clean code and open model. It has been developend by Frederic Guillot and contributers. Eventhough Kanboard has complete functionality as competitors above. You can easily give it a try with a hosting service for unlimited users per 30 USD per month.
Pros: Simplicity, locally installable, modifiable
Cons: Limited development resources
We have been dealing with Task Management quite a lot of years in Selensoft. We are using, testing, implementing and giving consulting services all these products listed here and a lot more. We advice both three products. We are happy to be a part of the Task Management improvement on both our clients and our own team.
Happy Task Management with Kanban style!