Kanbanize as a Next Step Trello Alternative

Kanbanize is a next step Trello alternative that you can’t pass by if your goal is to apply Lean management using Kanban. Stick until the end to see why

Kanban has become one of the favorite methods for workflow visualization and Lean management in general. Often, while looking for a digital Kanban solution, teams confuse Trello for such.

However, when they realize that there’s more to the method than moving cards across a board with columns, they start looking for an alternative.

Kanbanize is a next step Trello alternative that you can’t just pass by. However, before going deep into the “why”, let’s just see a quick comparison between the two platforms regarding the six core practices of Kanban:

  Kanbanize Trello
Visualize workflow
Limit work in progress  
Manage flow  
Make policies explicit  
Establish feedback loops
Seek continuous improvement  

From this table, you can understand that if you only seek the ability to visualize work items, both tools can serve you right. However, if you are looking for professional Kanban software, you need something better than Trello.

At this point, it is logical to ask yourself what is the difference between a professional Kanban software and one that covers a few of the practices. To answer it, we will use the Kanban maturity model as a reference. It breaks down the six core practices of Kanban into 7 organizational maturity levels and 132 sub-practices depending on how adept you are with it.


  Kanbanize Trello
Visualize an individual’s work by means of a personal Kanban board
Visualize basic work item related information on a ticket
Visualize work for several individuals by means of an aggregated personal Kanban board  
Visualize the work carried out by a team by means of a team Kanban board
Use avatars to visualize an individual’s workload
Visualize initial policies  
Visualize teamwork by means of an emergent workflow Kanban board  
Visualize work items on Kanban board with per-person WIP limits  
Visualize work types by means of card colors or board rows  
Visualize blocked work items  
Visualize development of options by means of a discovery Kanban board
Visualize individual workload on a discovery Kanban board by means of per-person WIP limits, potentially implemented using avatars  
Visualize basic policies  
Ticket design: Visualize concurrent or unordered activities with checkboxes
Ticket design: Visualize concurrent activities performed by specialist teams using partial rows  
Board design: Visualize sequential activities where no dependency or preferred sequence exists using rows or vertical spaces  
Visualize defects and other rework types
Visualize CONWIP  
Visualize workflow by means of enhanced discovery/delivery boards
Visualize project progress on a portfolio Kanban board  
Visualize “ready to commit” status, also known as “ready to pull”
Visualize “ready to pull” criteria, also known as “definition of ready”, “entry criteria”
Visualize workflow and teamwork items on one Kanban board  
Visualize project work items on a two-tiered project Kanban board  
Visualize parent-child and peer-peer dependencies  
Use parking lot to visualize dependent work requests of another service or system currently waiting or blocked  
Visualize upstream options by means of an upstream/discovery Kanban board
Visualize discarded options using a bin on an upstream/ discovery Kanban board
Visualize replenishment signals  
Visualize pull signals
Visualize pull criteria (also known as “pull policies”, “definition of ready”, “exit criteria”)  
Visualize available capacity  
Visualize work item aging  
Visualize target date or SLA
Visualize failure demand versus value demand    
Visualize aborted work
Visualize class of service using ticket colors, board rows or ticket decorators  
Use Earned Value portfolio Kanban board to visualize project progress and schedule or budget risk  
Visualize local cycle time    
Use ticket decorators to indicate risks  
Visualize risk classes with different swimlanes  

Trello is a fantastic tool for getting started with Kanban visualization. However, as your team matures, you will inevitably feel some limitations. For example, you won’t be able to visualize blocked items, create flexible board layout, nor make classes of service transparent.

If you are already at this stage and are looking for a Trello alternative to facilitate more advanced Kanban implementation, Kanbanize won’t disappoint you.

Limiting WIP

  Kanbanize Trello
Establish personal WIP limits  
Establish per person WIP limits  
Establish team WIP limits
Establish activity based WIP limits  
Establish CONWIP limits on emergent workflow  
Use an order point (min limit) for upstream replenishment  
Use a max limit to define capacity  
Bracket WIP limits for different states  

Limiting work in progress allows you to focus team capacity on what is already started before engaging with new tasks. This is Kanban’s primary way of optimizing efficiency, so you will definitely need functionalities related to limiting it.

Limiting work in progress with Kanbanize

A quick look at all the different ways to do so in the table above gives you an instant answer why Kanbanize is better than Trello for practicing Kanban. So, if you are ready to take the next step you should carefully consider your options.

Managing Flow

  Kanbanize Trello
Define work types based on the nature of tasks  
Define work types based on customer requests  
Map upstream and downstream flow
Manage blocking issues  
Manage defects and other rework types  
Organize around the knowledge discovery process    
Use a cumulative flow diagram to monitor queues  
Report rudimentary flow efficiency to understand the value of reducing buffers and the leverage of eliminating sources of delay  
Manage dependencies  
Collect and report detailed flow efficiency analysis  
Determine the reference class data set  
Forecast using reference classes, Monte Carlo simulations and other models  
Allocate capacity across swimlanes    
Allocate capacity by the color of a work item    
Make appropriate use of forecasting  
Assess forecasting models for robustness    

Managing flow can easily be considered as managing process efficiency. To do so you need a variety of features for measuring the stability of your process, forecasting, managing work types.

What really makes Kanbanize stand out as a next step alternative to Trello is the ability to break down a project and manage dependencies between tasks.

Making Policies Explicit

  Kanbanize Trello
Define personal Kanban policies  
Define Initial Policies  
Define initial services
Elaborate further policies  
Define blocking issue escalation policies  
Define policies for managing defects and other rework types  
Establish initial request acceptance policies  
Define work request abandonment policies  
Establish replenishment commitment point  
Establish pull criteria  
Establish a delivery commitment point  
Define classes of service  
Collect and report detailed flow efficiency analysis  
Establish demand shaping policies    

Process policies are your workflow’s law. The more clear you make them, the easier for your team to follow them and perform in the best possible way. Trello is more suitable for personal use, rather than advanced Kanban implementation.

Making process policies explicit with Kanbanize

Kanbanize is a logical next step alternative to Trello as it has a plethora of features for advanced process management with Kanban, which allows you to implement all but two of the above-listed practices.

Establish Feedback Loops

  Kanbanize Trello
Ability to leave comments
Email Integration
In-app notifications
Push notifications

Kanbanize and Trello have very similar features regarding feedback loops. You can leave comments to your team regarding any assignment on your projects. Both platforms are equipped with in-app notifications and desktop push notifications as well.

On the other hand, the email integration feature of Kanbanize is bidirectional so you can also send emails directly from cards.

Continuous Improvement

Kanban software solutions can have a serious contribution to achieving continuous improvement as they provide analytics to measure your process performance and show you room for improvement.

Kanbanize is a next step Trello alternative equipped with a powerful analytics module that provides detailed insight into the most important Kanban metrics such as:

  • Cycle time
  • Throughput
  • Aging work in progress

To learn more about the specific charts available, please visit our dedicated analytics page.

Primary Strengths of Kanbanize

If you are considering a switch to Kanbanize, we’ve gathered some of the most notable strengths that have led people like you here before.

You can enjoy a higher level of transparency

From a visualization perspective, Kanbanize provides a far greater diversity of features for mapping your workflow and getting everybody on your team in the loop about what is going on.

Flexible Kanban board layout in Kanbanize

For instance, you can create a comprehensive board layout containing as many columns and swimlanes as you need. Nonetheless, you can merge or split them as you please to create a layout that perfectly fits your needs. On top of that, this is done with just a few clicks thanks to the flexible workflow designer inside.

As a next step alternative to Trello, Kanbanize allows you to define various block types for any problem that may appear in your workflow. Afterward, you can visualize them as card tokens and make issues transparent as soon as they appear.

You can limit work in progress

We already expressed the need for WIP limits in this article. In addition to keeping your team focused, you can protect your process from getting cluttered with started but unfinished work.

Whether you prefer limiting work on an individual level, setting up CONWIP for your team or even limiting work per project dispersed across several teams, Kanbanize allows you to do so with just a few clicks.

You can facilitate better team collaboration

Kanbanize allows you to facilitate better team collaboration by providing a system for visualizing various task dependencies such as:

  • Parent – Child
  • Predecessor – Successor
  • Relative

With their help, you can break down large initiatives and connect the different aspects that comprise them.

Links between tasks in Kanbanize

Even better, you can specify the order of processing and improve the execution handling.

You can gather more precise flow metrics

Analytics are another reason why you should consider Kanbanize. With the available set in our platform, you can gather data about the cumulative flow of tasks in your process in order to maintain stability.

In Kanbanize, you can also gather various data regarding the performance of your assignments. For example, you can measure the cycle time of every card and initiative in your workflow, see trends (increasing or decreasing over time), filter cycle time by criteria such as type, assignee, priority and much more.

You can automate your process

Why waste time on activities that can be easily automated? Kanbanize is equipped with a powerful business rules engine that you can put to use for various types of workflow automation.

Basically, you set up hooks that trigger actions when certain events occur.

Transitioning to Kanbanize

When you decide that you want to transition from Trello to Kanbanize, we encourage you to check our product knowledge base. There you can find an extensive archive of information regarding features and functionalities in Kanbanize.

If you wonder how you can transfer your projects from Trello to Kanbanize, don’t worry. We have developed an integration between the platforms that allows you to transfer all your cards to Kanbanize in a simple fashion.

All you need to do is re-create your boards in Kanbanize and everything else will be copied from Trello.

Both platforms use a very similar glossary so the transition will feel seamless. Here are some of the most fundamental terms in Kanbanize as an alternative to Trello:

Kanbanize Trello
Board Board
Card Card
Tag Label
Deadline Due date
Subtask Checklist

To get you up to speed quickly, we have developed an onboarding process in Kanbanize that will walk you get you started with the platform when you create an account.

In addition, our team is always ready to assist so just drop us a message and we will contact you shortly.

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