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Planview LeanKit OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Planview LeanKit is #2 ranked solution in top Enterprise Agile Planning Tools and #3 ranked solution in top Application Lifecycle Management Suites. IT Central Station users give Planview LeanKit an average rating of 10 out of 10. Planview LeanKit is most commonly compared to Jira Align:Planview LeanKit vs Jira Align. Planview LeanKit is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 82% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 25% of all views.
What is Planview LeanKit?

Planview LeanKit enables engineering teams across all levels of the organization with a visual work delivery tool to apply Lean management principles to their work, helping them work smarter and deliver faster.

Planview LeanKit is also known as LeanKit.

Planview LeanKit Buyer's Guide

Download the Planview LeanKit Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Planview LeanKit Customers

REA Group, Thompson Reuters

Planview LeanKit Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Planview LeanKit pricing:
  • "I don't believe there are any costs in addition to the standard licensing fees."
  • "As far as I understand, it is not an expensive application."
  • "In general, Planview's cost structure is reasonable. You get quite a lot of functionality for the license cost that you get."
  • "I don't know what it would be on its own. It was basically included with what we were already paying or using. So, it was a no-brainer. It wasn't like we had to sell the company on making a purchase or anything like that. There weren't any costs that came in after implementing it."

Planview LeanKit Reviews

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Rachel Momsen
Senior Process Improvement Engineer at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Scalable, flexible, and easy to use

Pros and Cons

  • "The customizations on the board, including the various lanes, colors of cards, and visual icons on the cards, are all very helpful to us."
  • "I love the concept of Instant Coffee, however, it is very cumbersome to try to use."

What is our primary use case?

There are two use cases we have for LeanKit. 

I am part of an eight-member team and then we have a manager. We work at multiple different physical locations, and so we use LeanKit to manage our day-to-day project work. Our purpose is to keep track of how much time we're spending or plan to spend on things. We also use Enterprise One. The information is actually getting entered into Enterprise One, however, we use that connection between the two. We are putting in the project work that we're doing in LeanKit, and the primary reason for that is to be able to communicate with our manager who is working remotely.

The second thing that we're using it for is a hospital and a medical office where we have the leaders, so manager level personnel, working on strategic projects for improvements that are aligned to the strategic plan. We have our projects for that in LeanKit. Each project is one card and then we have all of our work on one board and we're using the OKR to help us visually and graphically show our performance improvement.

How has it helped my organization?

Just with the current climate of the work culture, there's been an improvement. Being in healthcare, about half of our employees are on campus every day. They have to be here to keep the business running. I wouldn't say 50/50, however, we have another big chunk of employees that are working remote and many have chosen to stay remote. Traditionally, a lot of our communication would have been on whiteboards. Those boards are still valuable for the frontline staff, however, LeanKit has proven really helpful for just being able to share with people. We're not all allowed to be in the same room at the same time - it's too many people. Therefore, our meetings have gone virtual. 

This product has helped tremendously, not only with being able to do that, but in the past, even before, we used Excel, and only one person could be in the document at once. Even with the training and when we launched, we had probably 20 people working on the board at the same time, adding in cards. They weren't working on the same card, however, they were working on the same board. Everybody was able to go in there and create or edit a card at the same time. In a way, you could say that it's shortened the amount of time we have had to spend on the board significantly. I don't know that I can put a time balance on it. I know that we were able to get our strategic board launched and training done in less than two hours. That probably would have taken two days if I would have been the one doing it instead of having everyone collaborate simultaneously. I don't know the time overall, however, it's noticeable that everything's just gotten done quicker.

What is most valuable?

It's just really simple and easy to use. I was able to get probably about 20 to 25 department managers up and using it. It's very minimal training. In terms of showing them how to use it, it's very intuitive, and just requires interacting with it. 

The customizations of the board, including the various lanes, colors of cards, and visual icons on the cards, are all very helpful to us.

We use LeanKit's board and card hierarchies. We use it in a couple of ways. For my personal work, I would have a project that would have child cards linked to it. For our strategic plan, we put in our strategic tactics, and then the child cards are in the project themselves. That said, they're all on the same board. 

We also like the idea of tasks. We don't do a lot with the reporting on it. There are some benefits to it in terms of knowing how many projects we closed, however, we're not agile, we're not using it and they're using it every day. We don't care so much about how quickly things move off the board. Being able to use the task feature has been helpful. Especially when trying to roll it out and explain it to a bunch of people that are only just going to be in it once or twice a month.

The board layout editor seems pretty flexible. It takes a little bit of time to know what to do. You need to sketch your board out ahead of time. Then you can go pin it when you're creating a new board. We've been able to change our boards quite often. We can change our process around them. It's very flexible. For example, for our strategic work, when we first started at the beginning of the year, we had a tendency just to create a bunch of projects at the beginning of the year and then have them on our plan for the whole year and then close them all out in December. Recently, we decided that since we had the capability within LeanKit, we would create a few extra lanes at the beginning of the board in the not-darted area to help us with project intake. We would put an idea on the board right away. We would give everybody an opportunity to contribute. We have a new lane where anybody could put a card on there so that they can duplicate it.

We don't have all the fields we need. In the description, I put four or five different items in there that they need to put in for the project. Then, we created a new card, and then we created a retainer we're evaluating. What was really nice about that is we were able to put in a lane policy so that anybody can go in there and click on it from month to month, whenever we have a new product, to know we're all consistently moving products in the right lane for the right reason. Some of those lane policies are there to get all the way ready to start and waiting for resources. 

LeanKit affects our ability to get the answers we need about a given card's status in a couple of ways. In terms of statuses, we have obviously encouraged people to use the comment field and the history. I use the history field a lot to see when it was updated last, who was in there, what they said, et cetera. That's helpful. We have added a custom icon. We get it mixed up with custom fields sometimes, however, it’s a custom icon, which is really nice to have. We were able to add that to the face of the card. From there, it's basically a dropdown. We made everything checkmarks, however, they are color-coded - one's yellow for at-risk, blue is for not started, green is for on track, and red for unable to meet a goal. We’re able to look at that very quickly.

What we're working towards is our local campus leader reporting up to central. We're the only campus right now using it. We have a couple of others. There are nine campuses in total. We've got two others that are trailing behind us on what we're doing. That said, the idea is that instead of our CEO spending his valuable time putting a PowerPoint presentation together, we’ll be able to summarize, in terms of what we're working on, who's assigned to, and timeframes, and whether we think we're going to make it or not. All he has to do during that presentation is literally open a website. It's very visual on the face of those cards in terms of what we're doing and the color of that checkmark in terms of project status. It’s very easy to read and saves the need to create a standalone PowerPoint.

We do use reporting occasionally. On our strategic board, we pull together our entire leadership group for our healthcare campus. We do that every six months and call it a retreat. It was very virtual this year. Normally, we get together in person. However, instead of me going out to the board and trying to search and count cards, I would use the card status. For example, how many are currently active, how many are green, how many are yellow, how many are red in terms of project status, how many we completed, which ones we completed, et cetera. That was nice to be able to sort and see that really quick and it operated as a sort-of report for that virtual retreat. That type of loose reporting would be something we would do every six months or so.

I have a Six Sigma Black Belt background. That's how I got into my position here. I had to have that. One of the things that we are careful about doing is making sure we don't take on more work than we can. It's really important to measure how many things we have on our plans and how many things were we able to get done. We start to right-sizing the amount of work that we take on. We don't want people to feel overwhelmed constantly. And we also don't want to finish the plans six months early either. You can visualize the work and that's nice to see.

One of the other features in reporting that we were able to use is the number of cards assigned to which person. We went in this year clearly having too much assigned to certain people. I tried coaching and saying, "Hey, we just need to take some of that stuff off their plate." They didn't want to change. Now, we are at the end of the year where it's like, "Yeah, we didn't get everything done." That said, it was nice to be able to show and see that if we had somebody else to offload that work to, we would have been able to get further. Now we can see and do that at the beginning of the year once we assign those cards to users.

I’m not sure if LeanKit has reduced our cycle times. Honestly, I would say it's probably a little bit too early to tell. With my own personal project work, it has definitely helped me to be more organized. I put a lot of detail into my LeanKit cards in terms of organizing my work. I can build my cards and I can help prioritize and make sure we're getting the right things done. I don't know that it's made us faster. That said, it's definitely helped for me to see my own personal work in my projects and to see what's coming down the pipeline, what am I not getting to, and that sort of thing. It helps to see the details, however, it doesn’t necessarily improve the outcomes.

What needs improvement?

I do like the idea of the OKRs, however, it’s been limited. I was just watching one of the product feeders. There are webinars every once in a while talking about what's coming up. I know that they are working on some of the features. It's neat to get new things or cards. The Planview team kind of works iteratively in terms of if they have something, they let people try it out. This afternoon, we were trying something before it even started just as test cases. I like that. I would say I think additional flexibility with the OKRs in terms of customization similar to the LeanKit board would be helpful.

For example, with OKRs, right now, it's only available to the administrator. We have two people in the organization that are administrators that can change the levels in the OKRs. I don't want to have to contact my boss every time I want to tweak the wording on that. In LeanKit, there's a board administrator, board manager, board user, board reader. It seems like in OKR, there's just either administrator or user. I'm not really sure how all that works, however, it seems like what I can do is pretty limited. I'm not an administrator yet I need more access than a user would have as I'm the one that's designing that board to have people use it.

On Instant Coffee, I love the concept of Instant Coffee, however, it is very cumbersome to try to use. Even just navigating and moving things in and zooming out is very painful. I know some of my peers are using it due to the fact that we don't have other options. We have a connected health plan, so a health insurance plan that is part of our organization but a separate entity. We were using something called KaiNexus, as well as, Miro which seems to have a ton of more capability in it in terms of what it can do. It's not necessarily connected to a LeanKit or Planview, Enterprise One, or anything like that. There are limitations on that side to integrate it.

We do a lot of facilitating of continuous improvement. Typically, we used to do that in rooms on post-it notes. Now, with all of the remote work, just being able to have really useful tools that are easy not just for me, but for others to be using is what is needed. I've been very hesitant to use Instant Coffee. Initially, it was due to the fact that the boards would disappear and I didn't want to put a bunch of collaborative work in there and have it just be gone. I would like Instant Coffee to be something that you could maybe archive and keep, as we like to go back. We might be working on a project for six months and at the beginning, we did brainstorming. If there was an archive of that, it would be helpful. You could maybe screenshot it, however, I wouldn't want that to disappear.

I know the intent of it is that you're registering ideas, which are then going on to a LeanKit board. That said, being able to go back and reconstruct would be helpful. We’d like to see, for example, what it looked like six months ago. Really, we're limited to screenshots at this point. It's not the end-of-the-world kind, however, it's definitely something when we go tell the story of a project at the end of the project, we'd like to be able to go back and say, "We started with this, and then we did brainstorming and this was what it looked like".

For how long have I used the solution?

We went live in November of last year, so it's been about a year since we started playing around with the product in a sandbox environment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is constantly changing, however, usually, the additions and add-ons are helpful. It's stable. My hope is that it doesn't get much more complicated as one of the nice things is its simplicity. I do like the customizable features or fields and icons that you can put in there. There doesn't seem to be any effect on stability. I haven't experienced outages, loss of data, or had any downtime to speak of. 

I did have trouble getting onto Skype to do the review, however, we've switched over to WebEx and we're fine now. I had a small issue yesterday, however, it could be due to the fact that there's so many people on the platform these last two days during the conference. Generally, I do not have issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is going to be really good. Our health system has 12,000 employees and our expectation is we're not going to have everybody on it, yet we'll have at least all of our supervisors and manager-type leaders and above on it. Right now, it seems really good. The challenge that we have is around user access. Just at the beginning, there were only a handful of us using it and so we weren't really diligent in setting up user access. There wasn't anything on there that anybody could see. Now that we're getting some of that strategic work in there, we need to be able to select users. For example, if I want fewer people actually being able to view it than what I originally had set up, I need to adjust that. Right now, there are just random people throughout the organization getting added. We need to organize a bit. We need to be a little bit more mindful of who’s on there and why.

As far as being able to add people and control who can do what, it's been good. Therefore, scalability seems pretty good. Once we get that user access thing figured out, what boards users have access to or can see should reduce drastically.

Right now we have 407 users. It's the process improvement team, project managers, information systems, IT, and our data analytics team. We're the initial users. My team is process improvement and probably the most frequent users. We're trying to get to where the leaders at each hospital medical office location would have access to at least one strategic board. We're still working on that.

We do plan to increase usage. To do this, one of two things we are doing is encouraging teams instead of having monthly department meetings to do more team huddles. There's a very small chunk of the organization using a solution called KaiNexus. We were maybe evaluating the idea of potentially using LeanKit for that. I don't know if that's going to be successful, however, it's one thing we're looking at and that would increase usage.

Then the other thing really would be around our strategy work. As a health system, we are trying to have a more common, robust process around what our projects look like and funneling the projects through a steering committee. Having some basic repeatable processes from campus to campus is the plan for strategic work. The strategic work starts at the organization level and then comes down to nine or so hospitals. However, we probably have a total of 20 to 25 individual locations. For example, on top of the hospitals, we've got some medical office clinics that are in smaller communities, and that sort of thing. It's really our nine or so main campuses that have a CAO that is responsible for bringing the strategic work down to the campus level and making sure that each person, each campus is supporting the health system. We've only been doing strategic planning formally for two years as the health system. Going into next year will be our third year. We're really just maturing on that. We do have it set up here at my location. The idea would be that we would be doing that at the other locations. This year, the CAOs, the leaders of each of these campuses, are sharing with each other the concept and the idea of it.

Therefore, it’s very likely that next year we would probably have maybe four or five more campuses up. If we do that, we would add anywhere from 20 to 40 users per campus. If we have 407 users today, just with that alone we'd probably get ourselves up to maybe 550 or something like that for users. As soon as we do that, starting to get those leaders engaged with that, I think that that could potentially grow even more as people start finding uses outside of just the basic use of it.

How are customer service and support?

I have not directly dealt with technical support. We do have a pretty good working relationship, however. It's usually my boss that I go to, and then she reaches out. We've had some scheduled meetings with them for OKRs, for example. They were asking what we were going to use it for, what are the shortcomings, as they were developing it. We had opportunities to give feedback. 

In terms of straight technical support, I haven't really had a need to reach out. Other than the development part of what we want to be using it for, I haven't had any technical issues where I've needed to contact.

I'd rate the interactions I have had at a seven. That's not so much a reflection on the service. It's just how we're trying to use it and how it's intended to be used, kind of what it originally was intended for and what the majority of their customers are using it for is slightly different. They did a nice job trying to entertain our ideas and trying to understand why we would want to do things a certain way. I'm learning from the conference that a lot of very agile teams in various industries are using it just slightly differently than healthcare. Healthcare tends to be a lot slower in moving things forward in general. It doesn't mean we couldn't get more agile, it's just that what we're trying to use it for is a little bit different than what the bulk of the other customers are trying to use it for.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously we used other solutions. The reason we went to it was due to the fact that we were all using different platforms and they wanted to have one clear platform.

I have to use Enterprise One as well, which is another Planview solution. About every two months or so, I would get a project that I would be working on for several weeks to several months that I'm putting three or more hours to a week. I'd go in and submit a project request and then I would have to go set up that project and link it with LeanKit. I would do that probably about once every two months. Just create a new project. Then, once a week, I have to go enter my time against those projects. My time with Enterprise One is limited.

Our previous solution really was the predecessor to Planview Enterprise One and it was called Eclipse. Honestly, I don't know much about it. I'd only been using it for maybe a year or a year and a half prior to starting Planview. It was very painful as we didn't use it that often. I've never had a job where I've had to report my time and now you're telling me I have to report my time. It was frustrating on that part. It seemed like non-value-added work. For the strategic plan, we had Excel and for my projects, I had a notebook and post-it notes. It was very not web-based.

How was the initial setup?

We did the initial setup along with Planview Enterprise One, and so it felt really complex. With LeanKit itself, it's been a learning curve for several months of just playing around with it. The amount of customization actually made it more complicated as we could do a thousand things with it and everybody wanted to do various things. We had to ask: "Well, what problem are you trying to solve? What are we actually trying to use this for?" It seemed like an integrative process. I do not have a project management background. My work team works for the same manager as the project managers do. That's probably why we're pulled in and using Enterprise One, though as a solution, it intimidates me. We have a 10 or 12-page work instruction on how to enter new projects. I can go in and put my time, however, I always feel like I'm probably messing up things when I'm in there.

In terms of LeanKit, I would say on its own, it’s relatively straightforward. It just was complicated because we were trying to do Enterprise One at the same time and Enterprise One is not something that we work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

The deployment process seemed like it lasted over about three months. That said, we were doing Enterprise One at the same time. From the time we got into the sandbox until we went live was two to three months for both simultaneously.

In terms of maintenance, there's a shared email box. It's usually one or two people that answer it. I can't say that it's their full-time job. We do a lot of shared email boxes here. Those two, however, would be the ones that take care of adding new users or somebody having log-in troubles or something like that. They're the ones that we reach out to. Our manager and then one of my peers on the process improvement team are our administrators for Planview. They're the ones that, if we needed to duplicate a board or create a template, we would go to. Therefore, for maintenance, there are four people, none of which maintain it full-time.

What about the implementation team?

It’s my understanding that we did not use an integrator, reseller, or consultant. It was just our project management team and our IT management too. Our IS, IP, as well as our analytics team also adapted this.

What was our ROI?

We haven't really looked into an ROI.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I know very little about the licensing. It may be paid yearly. In the beginning, they talked about how many people we could have on it. I want to say it was1,000 seats or something like that, however, I don't really know for sure as it seems like we set up Planview Enterprise One and Projectplace as well. We also have Projectplace, however, it's not being used too widely. It's more of a project repository at this point. We can have more LeanKit users than Enterprise One users, however, I'm not really 100% sure. At the time, it seemed like 1,000 was plenty. If we ever got to the point where we hit 1,000, there was a solution to get to where we could buy more seats. That said, I'm not part of those licensing decisions.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

KaiNexus was looked at due to the fact that we had part of the organization already using that. From my understanding, KaiNexus was a really, really small organization. The feeling was that it might not be able to support us. For us, at least at that time, based on the size of the company, it wasn't suitable. I couldn't name off specifically if there were other things looked at it. It's very possible. I just wasn't involved.

What other advice do I have?

I'm just a customer and an end-user.

We use the online web-app version of the solution. Our company has it set up where it's like a single sign-on, so there's an icon on my desktop and I click on that and it opens the Chrome browser.

Right now, we do not use LeanKit's card health feature. We haven’t gotten that far in it.

Some staff get into it and they just absolutely love it. That’s the greatest thing. Other people, however, have a feeling of "I don't have time for that”. Or “my team isn't virtual, so I don't need to be on the computer." They're out actually doing the work in person. It just varies on the type of person and the team needs that they have, what they're going to get out of the solution.

We've learned a lot. There was a period of time that we were able to play around with it before we made any buying decision. I don't remember how much we were in it versus just watching product videos. There's Enterprise One and Projectplace and LeanKit. Just understanding what your team needs it to do and just investigating, learning, and asking those questions is important in the beginning. When I first looked at it at the time, I had actually made a recommendation that we don't need to spend the extra money on LeanKit, that Projectplace would do what we wanted it to do. In hindsight, we ended up going with LeanKit and I'm glad we did as I actually like it 10 times better, 100 times better than Projectplace. Just the ability to collaborate with it is great. It's just more intuitive. It's easier to use. When you invite somebody to it, it's not so intimidating to navigate in there. 

For me, it's changed some of my work habits around prioritizing my work. It's helped me learn a little bit about myself. For example, I am very motivated by getting things done, yet I also have an evaluating comment or column that I tend to ignore. I've gone around back and forth and what's the best way. How far should I break things down? And what's the best use of my time, what's a good amount of work to have on my plate at any given time? When I first started, it changed my habits in terms of doing a little bit on every project every week, just feeling like I had to show some successes.

I have since recently simplified my board a little bit and just focused on one or two projects at a time. I spend a lot of time on those. I'll move the board and then the next week I'll come in and work on something else and try to just move it forward and get it done. Having less things on my board and spending more time instead of jumping around has helped me feel more productive. I feel like I'm not straining my brain and jumping from one thing to the next to the next.

I'd rate the solution at a ten out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Mason Zantow
Process Improvement Facilitator-Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Intuitive, brings transparency, and does a great job of making the Kanban process accessible

Pros and Cons

  • "The transparency that it brings is valuable. I like to look at things from all angles, and sometimes, flip chart paper on a wall and sticky notes are better than something on a screen, but the way they've made it accessible from all points for anyone within an organization is great. As a project management guy, sometimes, you have to force people into new environments where they have to see what you're talking about. Any screen is a barrier, and people got to get into the screen. How do you know they do? You don't necessarily know, but you are getting around that barrier with a countermeasure of making it accessible to as many as possible. So, everyone can jump in there and see everything. It is fully transparent, and I like that. This is one thing that helps."
  • "They have a feature called Instant Coffee. It was in the beta phase. They released it from beta, and now, it is a legit thing. We were in the pilot here. I liked the idea of Instant Coffee, and I like how it is integrated, to some degree, with LeanKit, but I have two big rocks to throw at them on this. The first one is that Instant Coffee does not save your work very well in terms of saving it in formats that you can then go back and edit as Visio would. It leads to the next point, which is, we're not really clear on what they're trying to do with Instant Coffee. I feel that they're trying not to reinvent Visio, Miro, and other software programs out there that do mapping, visual diagrams, etc. Miro is fantastic in that regard. I gather they're not trying to reinvent Miro, but it sure would be nice if it had more aspects of Miro in it, such as being able to draw arrows and write on them on the top."

What is our primary use case?

I have two boards where it is a bit of a pilot, one of which was my suggestion to our organization. 

How has it helped my organization?

About a year and a half ago, before COVID, Planview LeanKit was given to Process Improvement Facilitators to use as a tool to work on the projects and essentially, as a Kanban board. I have a strong interest in agile project management. I took a class in it and I immediately recognized that this is simply a Kanban board type of process. So, I began using it for my projects. I started to experiment with using it in terms of how I managed the process improvement projects I was working on.

When COVID hit, I began using it for ad hoc projects that were coming out of our incident command structure. I work for a small rural hospital in south-central Wisconsin, which is part of a health system. As a part of the COVID-19 pandemic response, our incident command structure basically had all hands on deck. I was thankful that our PI group was asked to help facilitate some of those projects on an ad hoc basis. I began to realize how Kanban is a really great way of organizing your work, understanding the work breakdown structure, and helping the flow of tasks through till they're done.

After that, I was asked to be redeployed per incident command because of my previous managerial background in an interim role as an assistant manager. Essentially because of the things that happened during COVID, in the place of six people, the leadership structure was me and one other individual to whom I reported. I have worked with this individual before, and I had a working relationship with her. In this kind of desperate situation, I recommended to her that we use this Kanban board process to help manage our work in progress. We can, first of all, identify what all is there, and then we can begin to prioritize. We would be able to work through it very quickly because there are only two people. Even though she had no prior experience in agile project management, she agreed. She is a very open-minded person, so she was willing to experiment.

We started to have huddles. I already had an inventory of the work in progress from some prior requests from that department. I validated this as a work in progress. We prioritized and started to release into the Doing lane for our projects. We would meet twice a week, and we would basically powerhouse through these things as quickly as we could. We then started to hire people, and as we hired people to backfill, we were able to get them on the plan and on the process. They adopted it, including our new operations manager, who's smart and who's our superior. She liked what she saw, and we were able to work that way. I think we tripled our outputs roughly with half the resources. That's my high-level viewpoint. It is not purely objective; it is based on what I know. I wasn't in the clinics before, but from what I could tell, we really were productive. I heard this term today called high-performing team, and in a way, I think I had a brief glimpse of what a high-performing team is like. We got a lot of work done, and we got things stabilized. We were able to even innovate a bit because we had to. Based on what I'm aware of, we had never done anything agile in this clinic structure and more or less in our organization. We were really learning as we were doing. We were experimenting and evolving it, and yet, as a project manager, I was very careful to not push too hard, especially under the circumstances. COVID was emotionally just a disaster for everybody. The last thing you want to do is overload people. What I was trying to do was push very gently. We did not optimize the Kanban process. We could have been more efficient and effective with it, but I was facilitating this for us at just the right level to get the work done and yet not push too hard. That's because there were so many demands that we were under at that time. I think it worked very well, and I got feedback from other people. I became a propagandist for LeanKits because I started telling my fellow managers that this is out there, and this is what we're doing with it, and I highly recommend this product because this is going to make them more effective managers.

In terms of LeanKit's effect on our ability to get the answers that we need about a given card status, my company is not hardcore. I'm the PM, and I watch it. It is great because everything is visible, and they're doing a good job to help show the visibility and every functional aspect of the software.

What is most valuable?

The transparency that it brings is valuable. I like to look at things from all angles, and sometimes, flip chart paper on a wall and sticky notes are better than something on a screen, but the way they've made it accessible from all points for anyone within an organization is great. As a project management guy, sometimes, you have to force people into new environments where they have to see what you're talking about. Any screen is a barrier, and people got to get into the screen. How do you know they do? You don't necessarily know, but you are getting around that barrier with a countermeasure of making it accessible to as many as possible. Everyone can jump in there and see everything. It is fully transparent, and I like that. This is one thing that helps. 

Planview does a great job of making the Kanban process accessible. I firmly and absolutely believe that Kanban is a process. If you can get the organization to go up and make it the way you do business, it is going to just blow productivity out of the water. It would really improve productivity and efficiency and reduce waste and over-processing in the way we do projects. Planview is a Kanban board that helps to enable that.

What needs improvement?

In terms of my impression of the flexibility of the Board Layout Editor, overall, my experience is great. I don't know if I'm using it the right way, but there are some things that I would rather customize, and I can't seem to figure out how to customize. I'd like to be able to blow up individual tasks in a card because that's my thing. I like the idea, but there is more work they can do to allow some customization aspects within it.

It may be my lack of knowledge, but I feel that at the level of tasks on a specific card, on a board, there are some barriers to customize the ways those tasks appear. I would advise looking at how they can make that a little more customizable in terms of breaking that little pass card down into sub-things. It is a card within a card, within a card, and so on. Why don't they have the full functionality of every layer? I feel like we run into a barrier where at the micro-level, it no longer behaves exactly like at the macro level. I guess it is like that Pink Floyd album cover with the mirrors. You've got to stop somewhere. It can't be an infinite repeat, and I get it, but I just think it would be useful to allow a little more flexibility there.

They have a feature called Instant Coffee. It was in the beta phase. They released it from beta, and now, it is a legit thing. We were in the pilot here. I liked the idea of Instant Coffee, and I like how it is integrated, to some degree, with LeanKit, but I have two big rocks to throw at them on this. The first one is that Instant Coffee does not save your work very well in terms of saving it in formats that you can then go back and edit as Visio would. It leads to the next point, which is, we're not really clear on what they're trying to do with Instant Coffee. I feel that they're trying not to reinvent Visio, Miro, and other software programs out there that do mapping, visual diagrams, etc. Miro is fantastic in that regard. I gather they're not trying to reinvent Miro, but it sure would be nice if it had more aspects of Miro in it, such as being able to draw arrows and write on them on the top. The way I explain Instant Coffee is that I tell people that it is like the equivalent of Atari Pong. It is a binary Atari Pong type of program, and maybe that's what they're going for. What happens is that you have people like me who tend to be creative. I can work within limitations because I can just change my mindset, but not everyone can do that. I just think that their program might be unappealing to some people who see that it doesn't do what they think it should do. 

They could create some kinds of practice modules, test pilot modules, or check-ins after the initial training and score people. They could do some kind of follow-up if they wanted to.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for about a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, the product is stable, but there have been times when I can't seem to get to the card. I have problems with new users not being able to get in, but I don't know what the causality of that is. I don't know if that's on our side or Planview's side.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think it promotes scale scalability. We haven't really done some of that. There are some interesting problems that we have started to discover about how you scale out and if you do it in a standardized way or not, but I don't know if I'm a good judge. They could maybe offer more templates for that. This is an improvement idea, but I don't know if there are templates that could be offered for how you scale up because what an organization runs into is, "Oh, we loved this thing, and now everyone wants to use it," and all of a sudden, you have a kind of a wild forest, and everyone is using it in different ways. So, what are the boundaries of that country in which the wild forest is, aka the organization? So, that's kind of how you scale up. You keep it organized.

We probably have 20 to 30 users. My understanding is that they are project management professionals and process improvement professionals. Personally, I highly recommend we increase the usage of it, but I don't know what the imminent plans are. 

After our success with our project, I started to share this tool with other people, and some other people have started to use it, but there is a fear of the techie side. There is a fear of the tool. When you're talking about a new way of doing things, sometimes, that goes with this sort of thing. I don't think that it has gained as much traction as I would personally like, but I'm a total believer in it at this point. Now that I've come back to my normal role, I've started to experiment with the agile process with the projects that I'm running. I'm trying to bring it up to the next level, and I'm talking to my coworkers about this. In a 60 seconds or less diagram, I am trying to visually share with someone what agile means. I was explaining to them that Kanban is really the easiest way to do agile, but even within Kanban, there are levels to it. We're only scratching the surface. I told them that there are levels above where your team members really roll up their sleeves and start to pull things off the shelf, instead of you telling them what to pull off the shelf. It really becomes more of a pull system rather than a push system. To evolve to that level, a transformation is required culturally. We are at the very beginning of this trajectory, but it is empowering. I love it. In a way, we did Kanban in lean projects, but to put the whole thing into a very simple Kanban methodology, you have to be all. In healthcare, this is absolutely where we need to go because no one has time for complexity. We have to make it simple. In healthcare, no one knows what agile is, but they can now see it visually. When they see it, they start to engage with it. It is really the way to get people into agile.

How are customer service and support?

I haven't had to deal with them at all.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I think they were using Projectplace and EnterpriseOne. I am not clear about the reason for switching. My understanding, although no one told this to me was that they wanted to somehow plug this into EnterpriseOne, but I don't even see EnterpriseOne because of the situation that we're in. So, that's a hypothesis, and that's how they could manage their resources more effectively as per their strategy.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't really on the front end, and what I received on the receiving end was pretty smooth. I didn't have a line of sight of how long the deployment took, but if I have to guess, it was done within a few months.

I don't know what their strategy was. I understand that their deployment strategy was to give this out to certain groups of people within their EPMO. I personally recommended they blow this up completely and give it to all managers because I was in this role. I said that it works really well for me as a manager, and I think others would like it too. So, I personally was recommending they really blow this up and give this to everybody.

I believe they have one IT resource that is the gateway to set people up. That's about it. I don't think it is his full-time job.

What was our ROI?

I can't scientifically say that we have seen an ROI, but I would say for sure anecdotally. I can't quantify it in the circumstances related to my interim deployment, but it really helped us a lot.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't believe there are any costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

What other advice do I have?

The Kanban approach, in general, is to start wherever you are, but that's very intimidating to a lot of people because that doesn't sound very meaningful. So truly, you have to start wherever you are and just go from there. If you keep that in mind, you're going to understand how this is designed to work and all of the opportunities that this enables. So, just start wherever you are. I learned that quickly. We learned through doing.

To the credit of the designers, it's a very intuitive product. I would advise others to experiment. They should start small and with projects that easily fit into this kind of format. They should experiment and continue to learn and incorporate some kind of daily or weekly standups or some kind of plugging in of stakeholders into it to gain experience to follow this through.

I haven't delved into customization because I think the simpler, the better. Simple is usually the best way. I've seen a lot of people who customize LeanKit, but I would caution them to be careful because the more complicated something becomes, the more difficult it is for people to engage with it because they're scared of the tool. So, you got to make the tools simple and easy to use. It is excellent that it is customizable. That's a great design. They are balancing simplicity with the ability to expand it and blow it up in a lot of different ways. My hat's off to them.

I have not used its board and card hierarchies. I'm really dabbling in the beginning, and organizationally, we have not really gotten into that stuff as far as I'm aware of. I learned about metrics, and I really want to get into the metric levels of it, but I have not been able to really figure that out too much yet.

Similarly, I have just dabbled into reporting. We still need to explore that and exploit it. I have also not used the Card Health feature much. I know it exists, and I've dabbled in it and used it a little bit. It is a good feature because that's how you tell what's your flow time. It is very interesting, but I don't understand the operational definitions that are being used to generate this input or this information. I saw this literally the other day. I looked at it on my card because I thought this project was flowing pretty well, but I only got a yellow score. I was wondering why only yellow. If I understood more of the methodology of how it is giving me that score, I would probably use it more. That's no fault of Planview. It is my own fault. We didn't really have a lot of training on this. We did get Planview training, and it was okay. They showed us everything, but you need to practice it.

I can anecdotally say that it has reduced our cycle times, but I cannot say the same scientifically.

I would rate Planview LeanKit a nine out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Learn what your peers think about Planview LeanKit. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
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RB
BSA at a insurance company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Simple and intuitive, useful for agile management, and helpful for planning based on our capacity and meeting our deadlines

Pros and Cons

  • "Every feature is valuable. LeanKit is a Kanban-based tool where you have a visual interface that you can use to create various cards and to create boards to house those cards. You can create a board for managing project work. You can create a board to do PI planning. It is pretty close to the agile way of doing business."
  • "Within the current features, if they can give some ability to show more icons on the card, it would be helpful. It would help us in showing more data on the cards."

What is our primary use case?

Predominantly, we are using LeanKit for our agile management. Basically, we are a PMO. We belong to the PMO organization within our company, and we deploy products that are used by our project management team. Typically, we use LeanKit for that purpose.

LeanKit is a SaaS application. They update the version, and everybody gets the same version, as far as I understand. I don't think we are going to be in a prior release and then jump into the new release. 

How has it helped my organization?

We have a monthly release cycle. Before using the LeanKit board, we used to use many other tools, and we always would see the crunch on the day we needed to release. Sometimes, our work would extend into overtime. We have also seen some of the features slip through the cracks in the sense that we would miss releasing them. It was, in a way, a bit chaotic. Once we started using LeanKit, we haven't missed a single feature from deployment. We are also able to better manage the capacity so that we're not over-booking ourselves for work where there is no capacity, and that has really helped. For over a year now, we have not missed any deadline.

It helps us not to over-promise. Basically, the motto we all have is "Under-promise, over-deliver." That's what it helps us do. So, we know what we plan to deliver, and we don't crush ourselves by promising beyond our capacity.

We use LeanKit's board and card hierarchies. We have an initiative board, which is basically a high-level board where any new projects that are coming into the pipeline, or basically into the backlog, will move from one lane into the other. This helps the scrum master in looking at how the projects are moving. We also have trial boards, where the stories, the features, and the tasks are managed. For example, if there are a couple of projects that are impacting a particular feature, then we can link those two projects to this feature so that we know which updates are impacting which projects or initiatives. This way, whoever is managing the projects will know the progress of work as well as the impact on those individual projects. So, it removes the risk of doing something that will impact some other project. These boards help us this way, and it is one of the many examples.

It provides a visual ability to look at the deadlines. When we use a card, we always have a scheduled finish date. As the date is approaching, the color of the date icon changes, so it has a visual way to say that we are nearing the finish date, which makes us take a look at it and check whether we can meet the deadline or not. So, as we are near a deadline, the date icon's color changes to yellow, and once we pass that date, it changes to red. When it is in yellow state, we do a deeper review of the card and see whether we are still okay or not, and most of the time, we are okay with those dates. If not, it helps us to replan and see where we go from there. This is absolutely helpful in project delivery. 

The main thing is that we know what's in the current sprint and what we have planned to deliver. We know what those dates are. All the deliverables are in front of our eyes in the form of cards, like a schedule. There are lines, dates, etc. We know who is working on what. We typically have a daily standup meeting in the morning in which we review the cards in the Develop lane. We have multiple processes, and in general, if somebody is working on a feature, we already know what is happening. We do a one-minute review of each card and look at it and say, "Hey. Are we still on target? Is there any issue that is stopping us from working on that feature or functionality?" That's basically what it is. So, we know whether we will make it or not. It basically gives us the flexibility to look at any risk to delivery beforehand, and that way, make adjustments so that we won't miss a delivery.

We use the Card Health feature, and we also use other reporting features on the card. Generally, we do a review on a daily basis where we are with things. We are a small team, and we know what's happening with each card and whether we are going to make it or not. So, we already know what's happening on each card, and typically, only when we are doing our sprint introspection, we go and take a look at the predictability aspects. We sometimes look at the predictability that a particular report is giving during the standup meetings, but usually, we review the Card Health information retrospectively to see whether we can make any improvements in the future so that it is much smoother.

The Card Health feature activity stream affects our project management and delivery, but we have always looked at this after the fact. We usually don't use that on a daily basis. However, we do look at every card every day so we know where it's going. We will get to know if there is any risk in delivering a certain feature. It takes our attention to those cards to say that there is something going on with it, and we need to look at it. It needs a different analysis.

The board analytics helps with the speed and looking at how we are doing. It helps us to see if we can accommodate additional features within the sprint. In case, we have everything on target, we can pull additional cards to work on them, and board analytics helps with this. It also tells us how we are doing and how we are estimating.

LeanKit has reduced our cycle times because as we finish the planned work, we now know if there is more room to do additional work. So, we have the ability to know how we are doing. In this sense, it has easily reduced 50% of cycle time.

What is most valuable?

Every feature is valuable. LeanKit is a Kanban-based tool where you have a visual interface that you can use to create various cards and to create boards to house those cards. You can create a board for managing project work. You can create a board to do PI planning. It is pretty close to the agile way of doing business.

The Board Layout Editor is excellent in terms of flexibility. They have been improving its usability. Their development is very much agile, so for any feedback that we give them, they let us know if and when they would act on our request for enhancements or change, and then they make those changes. They are responsive.

What needs improvement?

Within the current features, if they can give some ability to show more icons on the card, it would be helpful. It would help us in showing more data on the cards.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for close to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the last three years, I have only seen it once that LeanKit was not available. They had a technical glitch for about 10 to 15 minutes. That was the only time, and it was only for a brief duration. Otherwise, it has been pretty stable. I've not seen any issues with performance either.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very much scalable. We started with one board, and over time, we have transformed our work into multiple boards. We have links within each board. So, it is very flexible.

Currently, mostly the project management team uses it. We have about 20 users who are using LeanKit. We have analysts who do the development work, and we also have project managers and program managers who use it. We do plan to increase its usage in the coming years.

How are customer service and support?

I have not used their technical support for an issue. I have only used them when we needed to renew our secure certificate.

We've been using LeanKit for almost three years. In the beginning, we weren't much aware of it, but now, we are very much aware of it. The reason for not using their help is because we know how the application works. New people in our organization have to go through the videos that Planview has provided for LeanKit. We also give peer-to-peer training. So, in general, we all know this application because we've been using it for a while now.

LeanKit conducts a webinar every month. We attend those webinars so we know what the new features are. That webinar also shows how we all can use it. In a way, we are getting trained by attending those webinars.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before LeanKit, we were using Planview's Enterprise One application, but that application was more for the traditional way of project management, but of late, I feel it is gearing more towards agile. So, we've used that, but mostly, it used to be spreadsheets. We replaced spreadsheets with LeanKit, and the plan is that we're going to integrate Planview LeanKit and Jira. That's the future vision.

How was the initial setup?

It was very straightforward. LeanKit is a SaaS application, so implementation is mostly configuration. There is no on-prem option for LeanKit.

You buy the licenses, and Planview implements the space for you. They provide template boards that you can use to have a quick start, and then, you can modify them to fit your process, which makes it very simple. They have templates for various methodologies. They have a template for sales; they have a template for DevOps. There are quite a lot of templates. We picked their templates for PI planning, and it was very quick.

One of the main processes for its implementation is that you need to get all the security clearances and establish a single sign-on. Once the paperwork was complete, it took a week. We did have a strategy, and we went through that. So, basically, most of it was securing IT security clearances. Because this is a SaaS application, we needed to ensure that we comply with all the security requirements before we use the application. We had to ensure that we have non-disclosure agreements and business associate agreements with any company we do business with, so we had to get an agreement in place. After that, we bought the licenses that we wanted.

Once that was done, we had meetings with the Planview LeanKit team to set up a single sign-on. We didn't want to use a specific user ID password, so we discussed implementing that and the requirements associated with it. They worked with our IT infrastructure team to get the setup for single sign-on, and they had to do certain integrations with our other internal systems so that we had the ability to add users and manage users. We worked with Planview to get the single sign-on in place and set up all the certificates for a secure connection, and we got access.

We had already done prep work on how we planned to implement the boards and how we planned to do our work, so we started with it. Then over time, we have reformed our boards and the methodologies on implementing as we learn more and more to make our work efficient.

It doesn't require any maintenance. They update the version regularly. Sometimes, we can request to be added to some of the features that they have implemented so that we can do testing or something like that. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As far as I understand, it is not an expensive application.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We already had Jira in our organization, so we looked at Jira. We decided to go with LeanKit because we were looking for a simple Kanban-based application. Because we had already used Planview's Enterprise One application, we thought we could try LeanKit and see how it works, and we have been with it for three years.

What other advice do I have?

I would highly recommend this solution to others. I would definitely ask others to take a look at the application and evaluate it. We have really benefited from it from the delivery perspective as well as from the perspective of planning the work. It is very simple and intuitive. It doesn't need too much training. Any new person who comes in can pick up the features and start using it very easily.

The LeanKit team has been adding new features, which is another good aspect. They have very recently introduced KPIs, which is where the industry is going. We hear a lot about it. Even our organization is talking about KPIs. LeanKit is very responsive to any feature requests that we provide.

We have Jira in our organization but not in our team. We have only been using LeanKit. We don't use its integration with Jira at all, but we do have plans for that.

I would want to rate it a 10 out of 10, but I won't because there is always room for improvement. So, overall, when compared to all Kanban-based tools, I would rate LeanKit a nine out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Derrick Johnson
Application Analyst at a non-profit with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Much more easy and flexible to get customizations done to make your board look how you want

Pros and Cons

  • "My team specifically uses our board for all of our Remedy tickets that come in. We had a card for every ticket that we get, and we're able to add the link to that specific ticket there.If I'm out of office, for example, and someone else needs to work a ticket or someone is being contacted to work on a ticket, I don't have to sign on it. Someone else can easily access that ticket because I put the link in there. It's nice. It has a lot of great functionality in there."
  • "The ability to report on customizable fields and third-party extensions needs improvement. I'd like to see more of those being able to be used. I don't know how that works for Planview, but just getting a little bit more added there would be nice."

What is our primary use case?

We are currently using LeanKit as a task tracking tool for all of our teams. Since COVID hit, we just wanted to use it to see where our teams are on their work, see where they need help, and also to keep track of how long specific projects are taking. We also use it to make sure our employees are not being overloaded with any work.

We're still early in our organization of actually adopting it. We transitioned to LeanKit from JIRA. We wanted to find a way to cut costs. We realized that we can use both, but since they're both task tracking tools, we wanted to just utilize the one.

Third-party integrations are one of the things that I've heard a lot of users not necessarily happy with. One of the teams is our security team. They use some tools that provide automatic updates and information provided to their tasks and stories in JIRA. But those third-party applications don't work automatically with LeanKit right now. We haven't utilized the APIs at all. I don't know if these other tools have access to the APIs to develop any integration with them. That's something we haven't really done any research into as we're still getting users into it.

The third-party aspect is still the one thing that we liked about JIRA. They have so many third-party extensions and applications along with it and it seems that LeanKit is still gaining ground in that area.

How has it helped my organization?

The at-a-glance info, without even having to open the card, provides a lot of information on where a card is at and the basic information of a card. I also like the ability that when you click into the card, you can have so many different options to get all the information you want. You have the comments section, your attachment section, you can add whatever you need to your card to get all the information that you need or you want to send to your users.

My team specifically uses our board for all of our Remedy tickets that come in. We had a card for every ticket that we get, and we're able to add the link to that specific ticket there. If I'm out of office, for example, and someone else needs to work a ticket or someone is being contacted to work on a ticket, I don't have to sign on it. Someone else can easily access that ticket because I put the link in there. It's nice. It has a lot of great functionality in there.

We use a tool called BMC Remedy that our organization can submit tickets via.

My team is not currently using the card health feature. We haven't done an assessment to see where teams are at and what they've used and how they've used it. I think we'll be setting something up here soon to get that information.

I think its insights into card status have helped to increase project delivery time. Being able to see how long projects are taking and their due dates helps us keep on our toes a little bit. Utilizing the board and our daily standups are really helpful. We didn't use to have that functionality. We did with JIRA, but the readability on it was not the best. So having LeanKit helped us have a clearer picture of where we're at for everybody.

What is most valuable?

The reporting and the readability of the boards are the most valuable features. With LeanKit, I can just see a card and have so much information at a glance, as opposed to JIRA, where I actually have to click into all of my tasks and stories to see specific information about it. The usability of it and the readability of it is so much better than what JIRA is. JIRA's reporting is flawed and it doesn't really provide anything that users want unless they export all of the data. Whereas LeanKit has all the data in it that a lot of people need and if it doesn't have it, it has the ability to export said data and add it to a Power BI report. We didn't integrate JIRA and LeanKit at all. We went directly to LeanKit.

We use the board layout editor quite a bit. We have a board administrator for every board and advise them to customize it as they see fit. So far, no one's really done a horizontal lane. It's more like a vertical split on anything to do any customization but as people get more into using their boards, some sort of hierarchy might take place eventually. Now, it's at a point where it's a very basic high-level use. And as users use the boards more, it will be a growing experience because they'll be able to do more with it than what they could with JIRA.

I enjoy the flexibility of the board layout editor. It's nice to be able to make a board look how we want and that's why we have that board and those board administrators. With JIRA, we had an admin for the entire site, as opposed to a board administrator. All the requests went to one person and they had to do it. It was very tight-knit and complicated to customize it. But with LeanKit's board layout editor, it's so much more easy and flexible to get customizations done to make our board look how you want.

We really enjoy the reports that are in LeanKit. The only thing that would improve it, would be the ability to create customized reports. Specifically, we're looking at the customized field that you can add to a card. That information is not able to be reported on. It would be nice if it were in the application itself rather than having to export the data, like the readability of the reports within Planview or within LeanKit. I don't have any numbers. We haven't done an assessment yet on how our teams are utilizing the reporting within LeanKit, and my team doesn't really use the reporting functionality as much as we should. 

LeanKit has reduced our cycle time by a considerable amount.

What needs improvement?

The ability to report on customizable fields and third-party extensions needs improvement. I'd like to see more of those being able to be used. I don't know how that works for Planview, but just getting a little bit more added there would be nice.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using LeanKit for four months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any stability problems. We actually just ran into our first hiccup today but that was just because our SSO refreshed yesterday and we didn't have the key yet, so we needed to forward that along. It was resolved pretty quickly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has performed pretty well. It will be able to handle all of our users, and I think once we train up our other administrators, we shouldn't have any problem with handling that. It should be pretty stable. We'll eventually be integrating it with PRM as we use the Enterprise One suite of applications as well. We already have users in PRM and that's one of our next steps is to integrate PRM and LeanKit.

Currently there about 50 users but I know we're probably going to be setting up 700 at least. We hope to by next summer.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support was good. They responded pretty quickly and they were able to fix both our production and our sandbox environments quickly.

How was the initial setup?

The setup of LeanKit was really easy. It was transferring all of our boards from JIRA to LeanKit. The process was pretty seamless. We didn't have any issues for both teams who actually wanted to transfer their boards. A lot of teams wanted to start fresh, so we only had a few that we actually had to import, but I think the process was pretty easily explained within LeanKit. It made the process really easy.

We're technically not finished deploying. We've only deployed to the people who have been a part of JIRA and that wasn't in our entire organization. It was only a small portion of us. One of the reasons we are transitioning to LeanKit is because we want to roll this out organization-wide and we are actually getting ready here shortly to begin that process.

When we first adopted LeanKit, we rolled out to about two teams. My team, as the administrator on it, we wanted to make sure the administrator had their team sitting there and were getting through the initial implementation. In doing that, we were able to keep better track of what users might want. We would sit down with each director and build templates out for each director and their teams below. That way, each director could have their own template and say, "Hey, you guys use this template for your implementation." We felt like that made it so with other teams under that director had to go to the other boards. They weren't lost or confused when they were viewing the board. They could say, "Oh, this lane is for this. I know that because my board uses that." 

There were about 20 people for the initial deployment. My team consists of application analysts and then we also had a BI team.

Currently, we only have two administrators but we're going to be rolling out to the entire organization, which could end up needing at least five administrators down the line.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I like the FLEX licensing. It's nice to have one FLEX licensing plan for all their applications and we just need to pay that upkeep. I think it's great.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate other solutions because we were already in PRM and we wanted to use an application that would seamlessly integrate with PRM. We also had FLEX licensing already and we felt like we had a license for it, why let them go to waste?

What other advice do I have?

As an administrator, it's nice that we can have other users manage their boards. Just because the standard has always been JIRA, times change and new applications show up and change is good.

My advice would be to rely on a board administrator. You don't have to do everything yourself and set templates. I think templates will help make the transition a little better. That way other teams can collaborate more efficiently.

I would rate LeanKit an eight out of ten. Once we get the third-party integration and the customizable reporting my grade would raise a little bit.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
HP
Manufacturing Manager, Capital COE at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
A highly collaborative tool where everybody can see things in one place

Pros and Cons

  • "Using the tool seems to save time versus trying to do things in a regular manner. It is highly collaborative; everybody can see things in one place. It is a highly functional, but pretty simple tool. That is hard to find: A tool that has a lot of functions, but is also simple."
  • "The integration with the Enterprise One product is probably an area for improvement. It's not really broken. It's just that it is such a handy tool and a great way to visually manage things. There is a very limited hookup/integration between Enterprise One, which is the master Planview tool, and LeanKit. While they are looking at this on their roadmap, it definitely needs to happen. There is a lot of opportunity there."

What is our primary use case?

We have a unique use case. Normally, people use LeanKit to track agile development in IT. However, we use the product to track our savings on capital projects.

How has it helped my organization?

Because we track our daily work there, things don't get lost or forgotten. It is a high level to-do list that your whole team can see in one place, watch how things are progressing, and give updates on. We are tracking our work, then we will use the tags in there, to say, "For these cards, we need to go talk to our community of practice on. Then, for these cards, we need to go talk to Planview on." So, we track all our work in one case. The filters are very handy, which makes it efficient. It is right there in front of your face.

We are going to use the solution again for another corporate-wide tracking process that we need to do, because it went well and we got good feedback. We need to track something else across the corporation, so we were like, "Hey, you know what? Why don't we just do it the same way? That worked really well."

What is most valuable?

  • The visual management - the ability to track where things are at any point. 
  • We can assign a task out to folks in an easy way. 
  • The connection with Power BI for reporting.

Using the tool seems to save time versus trying to do things in a regular manner. It is highly collaborative; everybody can see things in one place. It is a highly functional, but pretty simple tool. That is hard to find: A tool that has a lot of functions, but is also simple.

We use all the boards. We use them because we are trying to track savings. People identify an idea for how to save money, and that goes in one lane. As that idea progresses into actually being implemented into a project or production, then they move that card along the different lanes to show that it went from an idea to something that got implemented in production. That is how we move things along the card. We then hook up Power BI to be able to add up all of that savings across the company.

The Board Layout Editor is pretty flexible. In general, we are pretty happy with it. We are happy that you can upload from Excel, which to get us started, which was super convenient.

You can get the answers that you need about a given card’s status easily. You just know where everything is. If people are updating it and using it, you can see that at a glance because it is a visual tool.

What needs improvement?

The integration with the Enterprise One product is probably an area for improvement. It's not really broken. It's just that it is such a handy tool and a great way to visually manage things. There is a very limited hookup/integration between Enterprise One, which is the master Planview tool, and LeanKit. While they are looking at this on their roadmap, it definitely needs to happen. There is a lot of opportunity there. 

Planview is buying companies. So, they get these tools, then it just takes some time to figure out the best way to integrate them with each other. That is probably one of the largest opportunities.

I would also like it if they integrated it with being able to do a timeline, like a better schedule by using the tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using LeanKit for about nine months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any problems with stability. We are a global company, and I haven't heard anyone complain from Asia or Europe. It is probably the most you can ask for.

You definitely need a strong administrator. We have two or three people who know how to do it. They probably only spend 10 percent of their time on it, which is 25 percent of an FTE for the entire company. If the solution gets bigger, then it might take a lot more administration, e.g., if you needed to deactivate boards. The solution is pretty new, so we haven't done any of that archiving maintenance that we have to do yet.

It is maintained as part of a center of excellence that we have for projects, where we have a processor systems team. In other people's companies, this is close to a PMO.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am a little nervous that it could get busy easily, e.g., the number of boards. So, you need to have a good administrator to make sure that your boards just don't get totally out of control, with thousands of them. Then, I don't know what performance would be like. So far, performance has been fine. However, I can see if the solution caught on for the whole company, and everybody wanted a LeanKit board to manage their department and their task, then it might get crazy in there.

We probably have 300 people using it. Since we are focused on savings in projects, our users are mostly project engineers and financial people. Globally, it is mostly focused on engineers, project managers, and controllers.

How are customer service and technical support?

We meet with our Planview representative once a week. If we have any questions, we just ask her, then she gets us the help that we need, which is just little stuff. We have a good account rep. I don't know if everybody's experience is just like ours because we have a super good account rep.

The support is very good. We have had no issues with them. If we have an issue, then they fix it. If we have a question, then they answer it. If we want an enhancement, we can generally figure out where that is:

  • Are they going to do it? 
  • Are they not going to do it? 
  • The general timing. 

The one thing I found interesting about Planview, as a company, is they don't commit to something they can't do, which can be very frustrating because that means you may never get a date. They won't tell you that this will be done by this date, unless they are sure it will be done by that date. It can be frustrating, because you are like, "Well, when?" However, they will not commit to a date unless they know it. There are pluses and minuses to that.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had a McKinsey tool. We switched to LeanKit because the McKinsey tool was too expensive and complex.

We have definitely had good feedback that people like this tool more than the last one.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was really easy and cheap. It was so inexpensive.

Our deployment took three months, soup to nuts. We implemented across the whole entire company in three months for our capital savings purpose, which included training. It was pretty easy to train too, because it is a simple tool.

What about the implementation team?

Planview has a good iterative development process. They bring in experts. They have them sit with you, take your requirements, and set up the boards to meet those requirements. One of the things that they do better than any other supplier that I have worked with, and I have worked with a ton, is their whole process of understanding their product and giving you a person who knows their product. They don't have a ton of outside partners. When you get someone, they really know their product and can easily transfer what you are trying to do into a product configuration in a very short period of time. I have been pretty impressed.

What they do is they make you have somebody sit with their person configuring. They teach you how to fish. They don't let you get away with just letting them do it. If you don't have somebody in your organization who will sit with them and learn how to do it at the same time, it doesn't really work.

What was our ROI?

If I had to guess, people are spending 25 percent less time tracking their savings than they were before. It is simpler and easier to use, so we can get done what we need to get done with a little less administration/bureaucracy.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In general, Planview's cost structure is reasonable. You get quite a lot of functionality for the license cost that you get.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated only SharePoint a little bit. We sort of figured out in our heads that this solution was going to work. We also already owned it because we already had Planview Enterprise One. We knew that we had the licensing for LeanKit, so it became an easy decision because of their flex licensing model. Then, all of a sudden, your licensing is going to work for all these other tools.

What other advice do I have?

Listen to what the technical folks at Planview are telling you. They are probably right. Don't try to do anything that the tool isn't meant to do in some way. It is definitely a SaaS and nothing that can be customized. It can be configured, but it is what it is.

We use all three of Planview products. We use LeanKit, Projectplace and Enterprise One. I was actually prepared to talk about Enterprise One, which I think has more opportunities. LeanKit is so simple and easy; it's just a simple tool. Their Enterprise One tool is a much bigger, older tool that has some more opportunities for improvement.

From a reporting perspective, we almost exclusively use its connection to Power BI. We have not exercised the standard reports within the system. However, that could be because we have a little bit of a different use case.

Just make sure you have somebody who is dedicated to learning the tool and training people, because that lessens the frustration. 

The big lesson learnt is utilize the ability to hook up to Power BI. We could just report on it so easily. 

Design the boards and cards with your endgame in mind. You need to know what you want to get out of it, so you know how to configure it.

I am going to rate the solution as a nine (out of 10), because 10 is hard. 10 is perfect.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
KL
User
Real User
Makes it easy to set up different lanes and see the progress, and enables people to view the status on their own

Pros and Cons

  • "People found the ability to set up different lanes and the ability to see where they're within the progress most valuable. They can use different colored cards or sticky notes, and then they can separate out which cards belong to a department or the initiative they're working on. They can filter who's working on it, and I've got good feedback about that."
  • "It is a pretty good product. It is really hard to think of things that I'd want to be improved. Sometimes, we use it for project management lessons learned. So, we have three columns, such as Could be Improved, Keep Doing, and Works Really Well. It would be helpful if there was a template set up for something like that because we code different cards based on the category. For example, if something belongs to the Could be Improved category, we may have those cards as yellow, but then I have to change the color of them and put a header. It is not as smooth, but it still works fine. To be honest, I don't have a lot of complaints about it."

What is our primary use case?

In our organization, a lot of individuals have been using it to plan out their work or keep track. Some people here are using it for things they know are coming but haven't started. They are using it to track the progress of things going on in their department and then be able to see and share it with their staff to give visibility.

We are using its most current version because it is accessed through the web. It is SaaS-based.

How has it helped my organization?

The ability to see the progress is important for us because there is so much going on, and it provides a way to have a quick glance to see how busy people are and how much they have going on. From having a whiteboard or sticky notes in their office that only they could see, people now have been able to go to a place where anybody can see it. Moving those things that were traditionally on a physical wall into a shareable place is a big benefit.

It is much easier for a coworker to see and know what people are working on in her department because she can assign them to those cards. So, she can go back and see at a glance, which makes things a lot easier when decisions have to be made about other things that have come to fruition or are going to start eventually.

In terms of its effect on our ability to get the answers that we need about a given card's status, especially when comparing how it was before using LeanKit, we didn't have anything previously. So, it must have been a lot harder to dig for that information. Now, if somebody is working on a project, that person on their own can go and view it versus having to maybe ask their boss what is the status or find some Excel report that was sent in email.

What is most valuable?

People found the ability to set up different lanes and the ability to see where they're within the progress most valuable. They can use different colored cards or sticky notes, and then they can separate out which cards belong to a department or the initiative they're working on. They can filter who's working on it, and I've got good feedback about that.

Board Layout Editor is very flexible and user-friendly. We can create with minimal training. We had staff that was able to go in and easily get going themselves. They've found it really user-friendly.

What needs improvement?

It is a pretty good product. It is really hard to think of things that I'd want to be improved. Sometimes, we use it for project management lessons learned. So, we have three columns, such as Could be Improved, Keep Doing, and Works Really Well. It would be helpful if there was a template set up for something like that because we code different cards based on the category. For example, if something belongs to the Could be Improved category, we may have those cards as yellow, but then I have to change the color of them and put a header. It is not as smooth, but it still works fine. To be honest, I don't have a lot of complaints about it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it for about four months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is good. I haven't run into any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think it can scale. If you have a bigger team, you just have more users to get in there. There doesn't seem to be any limit in terms of the number of boards you could use. People can create pretty easily and connect with other people. I don't see any issues there.

We have probably 10 people using it, and we definitely plan to use it more often. We want to get to a place where we connect it to PPM Pro. We have PPM Pro as well, and I just need to go through the process. After that, there would be more push to let people know that they can use it and decide if they want to work in PPM Pro or in Projectplace.

How are customer service and support?

I use them all the time for many different things. My experience with them has been really good. I haven't had any issues. I always got the help that I needed and within a good and reasonable amount of time.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't have anything quite like this. We do have Projectplace from Planview as well, which is definitely different. Projectplace can accomplish a lot of the same things, but people tend to feel more comfortable with the whole sticky note presentation type of thing, or they're used to doing that, or they just like the colors. For some people, it definitely went from zero to 100, where they felt that they were doing way more than what they ever expected to do with it.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward. It was a piece of cake. It was pretty much knowing how to log in. I may have watched a video. There are good board templates that you can look at to get an idea of how it works. After that, you just need to set up other people. The funny thing is a lot of people were like, "One more thing. I don't have time for this. I don't want to go to one more place." When they started using it, they were like, "Oh, this is so much better." They didn't have anything like this.

We didn't really need any implementation strategy because, for the most part, we were really at the point where we just said, "Hey, there is this tool. If you want to use it, feel free." We haven't really pushed it and said, "Okay, everybody has to use this, and we're going to use it to manage this project." However, anytime we've set somebody up, it has been really easy to get somebody started, and people, in general, are pretty excited about it.

What about the implementation team?

We didn't need any integrator or any staff from Planview to help us with its deployment. It was that simple. There were sufficient videos to watch if we had any questions or needed any help.

In terms of maintenance, it doesn't really require a lot. I'm the admin, and basically, all I really had to do was do a little bit of training for people. The only other thing was just to set them up as users. It is pretty simple and low maintenance, for sure.

What was our ROI?

The way our licensing is structured makes us more likely to stay or not want to go and look at other options. The overall value proposition with Planview is good. The more remote we've had to work, having these things that anybody can access is important.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't know what it would be on its own. It was basically included with what we were already paying or using. So, it was a no-brainer. It wasn't like we had to sell the company on making a purchase or anything like that. There weren't any costs that came in after implementing it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate other options because the way our license was structured for our other software allowed us to use this as well. So, it was like, "Oh, we now have access to this. Cool."

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson that I've learned from using this solution is that once you are tracking everything, there is a lot more work going on than you think. It's easy to forget that things are going on, or you are going to do this task or that task.

My advice would be that if you're going to use it, you really need to be going in there on a routine basis, and that's probably daily. If you don't go into it tomorrow and you also don't go the next day, then by the time you come back to it, you would be like, "Oh! I was supposed to do that," or, "I forgot about all these other things to do," or, "I've been doing these things, but I haven't been tracking them. Now I have to go add these things up in the last three days." So, you really have to get a routine of using it to get the most out of it.

I don't use its board and card hierarchies, but I know other people have connected cards across different boards. I don't know whether they affect the speed, but it would be less likely for things to fall through the cracks. So, it probably helps in one way because it is always there, and you're always seeing it. So, things don't fall behind.

I haven't used LeanKit's Card Health feature, but I am familiar with it. We are definitely going to explore it in the future. Similarly, we haven't used it for reporting. There might be reporting capabilities, but based on my knowledge, there are not a lot of reporting capabilities. I haven't used it a lot, and I don't think anybody else has. It is relatively new, and we are at a point where we are just getting people to use it.

It has probably not reduced our cycle times. We used other things to manage projects. In some way, it is helpful because things are always there visually, and you can see them in front of you. So, if you're checking it, you're probably much more likely to get things done sooner because they are visually there.

I would rate Planview LeanKit a nine out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Rohan Sankhe
Business Consultant at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Adoption across stakeholders, visibility, and reporting make the solution a success

Pros and Cons

  • "Adoption across stakeholders and visibility have been the biggest success for us with LeanKit."
  • "We are a 750-employee company, so we got lucky that our board approved the kind of funding we needed for the solution. But, LeanKit probably needs to reduce its pricing."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution in a pretty standard way for project management. Most importantly, we start with the request phase, which is one of the most important use cases for us. We were missing this ability earlier. Now, across the organization, any department can provide us with an overview or a business case of why they want us to work on a project by putting a request through.

We created request forms with the help of Planview PPM Pro. These help us gather important metrics. Several gauge stages are included in the process. 

There is also an approval process in which we review the request. We have the option to send the request back if we want to ask more questions. 

Once the request is approved, we start working on the use case and creating a project out of it. We start by assigning a project manager at which point the request becomes a project. We can then start populating the project in LeanKit with information from the project charter, which is an overview of the project. We can also create project tasks in LeanKit. 

Next comes the project planning, execution, monitoring, and closure. The last use case in this entire journey is capturing the lessons learned through the PPM Pro platform by delivering those forms to all the stakeholders. We look at both the things we did right and what we need to learn. 

This solution takes us from request to closure. 

How has it helped my organization?

Before LeanKit, we had no visibility at all. We were in a closed box with everyone trying to look in saying: "What is the strategic execution office doing? What if I wanted to do a project; would they be able to do it? What's going on with my project?" So, all of these questions were always there but the visibility was missing. This issue has been completely resolved now. It's amazing that everybody is aware of what's happening, what's getting bumped to the front of the queue, and what has been bumped down to the end of it. 

The second way LeanKit has improved our organization is the ability to get stakeholders from other departments to update us on their progress regarding specific tasks that we have been looped in on. That was not happening earlier, but now people come and check out the solution and update us. This is a factor that has helped us succeed. 

LeanKit has also helped us make reports more accessible to the executive leadership. They were previously very stubborn about navigating a solution to see reports. Now, they're actually going in and checking out all the dashboards and reports on the platform. They like that they can see everything in one place and don't have to reach out to us. 

Adoption across stakeholders and visibility have been the biggest success for us with LeanKit. 

At the end of the day, garbage in is garbage out. Because LeanKit is so easy to use and people are putting inputs into the system correctly, it is becoming easier for us to understand the status of a project, resource, budget, or anything else. We are able to get the right information across the board and that is why we are able to make better decisions in terms of what needs to be changed when something happens during a project. 

LeanKit has given us the ability to make decisions on the fly. We do not have to always be coordinating with other project managers and stakeholders.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features for us are resource management and financial. Before LeanKit, we were doing project management in Microsoft Project. We were able to plan and schedule in it, but we were not tracking resource allotment or the availability of the resources. We have started to track them now. 

We are able to do this because the reports that go out to stakeholders and the executive leadership team are richer. This helps us prioritize our entire portfolio and decide which projects we can take and which we need to decrease in priority in order to reassign resources to new, priority projects. 

LeanKit helps us a lot not just in terms of planning internally but also with making outside people understand why a project is getting delayed or postponed or is going on hold.   

Because LeanKit is so flexible, our ability to make predictions comes down to educating stakeholders on how the cards work. The card's health feature lets us know whether we need to make adjustments. It gives us an idea if, for example, someone has taken up too many tasks.

What needs improvement?

Some aspects of the reporting and dashboard could be improved. 

We are a 750-employee company, so we got lucky that our board approved the kind of funding we needed for the solution. But, LeanKit probably needs to reduce its pricing.

They should also focus more on Agile project management features that other solutions like Azure DevOps have. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We started using this solution a year ago. We opened it up for users outside of our group around six months back. 

How are customer service and support?

The technical support is really good and very prompt. It's quite impressive compared to our experience with other vendors. They respond to emails almost immediately. Also, a specific case will stay with one person usually so we don't have to spend a lot of time explaining the issue over and over with the next person who picks up. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used a solution called BrightWork. Comparing LeanKit to BrightWork is not appropriate because of two things. Firstly, Brightwork is one-tenth of the price of LeanKit. Second, Brightwork sits on top of SharePoint. It utilizes SharePoint features and converts them into a project and portfolio management solution. It was a good solution but not very intuitive. It also didn't have an online version. 

How was the initial setup?

Deployment took about four months. It was a little complex compared to what we were using before. When you're getting so many features, you want to make sure that you want to use them. So, we took a lot of time to understand the features and how we could use them best. 

Although it was a bit more complex initially, today we are in a position where we do not need to make any changes to Planview. 

We had some workshops, in the beginning, to discuss with Planview what we wanted to implement and how to do that. Those were the discovery workshops and after that, we had a large number of actual sessions over three months.

It was a pretty exhaustive process, but that is the reason why we are so knowledgeable about the system and we can make changes on our own now.

Currently, we have 55 users. There is a project manager, a business analyst, and a business consultant using it, in addition to SMEs from departments including risks and central operations. It is also being used by the VP of strategy, the VPs of sales, and the VP of world, which is the financial services arm of our company. 

These are just the active users, but every department has access to it. 

What about the implementation team?

We worked with Planview and had a dedicated team of three people who were looking at the implementation and configuration part of it. They did all the heavy lifting. I was a part of it as well. I did an early implementation of the solution.

What was our ROI?

We haven't gotten that far yet. But, we had tremendous pressure on us from the board to move to Agile project management. LeanKit has helped us demonstrate our Agile methodology. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price is steep, but I do feel like we got the bang for our buck. We had a strict process and saw the value of what we are getting. We were able to even convince our board by showing them a detailed analysis. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked into Clarizen and Adaptive. 

What other advice do I have?

Reporting has been the best part for us. It gives us more information than we could provide earlier. Thanks to these reports, we can easily make our case for why we can or cannot take on a certain project or why we will have to remove the focus from something else to get a particular project done.

We can also create high-level reports for the board, which we do every quarter.

The Board Layout Editor is very flexible. We have been able to change with help from LeanKit, so we find it very flexible.

With the card health activity stream, the project manager becomes more sensitive to the way they have been assigning work to people. At the same time, it also allows them to approach stakeholders more easily and help them understand why some things need to wait and why others would not be delivered as per their expectations.

It has only been six to eight months since we started using it, so I don't know if it has reduced our cycle times, but I'm sure that it will.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Perfect Execution Manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Gives us visibility into projects and enables users to leave comments on different projects

Pros and Cons

  • "LeanKit is amazing when it comes to getting answers about a given card's status. That's one of the biggest takeaways that we've had. The status is right there on the board. Everybody can see it. You just click on it and it gives you everything that you need to know, especially the comments feature because it gives us a timeline of updates. We use that a lot where we write a comment on the card and then we can see and track progress as we move it across the board."
  • "The biggest improvement would be the API and data connections and making the data more accessible or quicker to access. One of our team members has brought up actual-time tracking on a card as a potential improvement. They had an interest in knowing how long a specific card had been worked on by a specific user or somebody that was assigned to that card. But there's not really a way for them to start and stop a time that they were actually working on it, except for if we created a different lane and they dragged it into the lane and then stopped using it in the lane."

What is our primary use case?

We have several different teams and they all have different boards for tracking, tasks, projects, and then completing work.

I use a board at the department level to track all of the projects that we are working on as a company. At the group level, we have five different technology teams. Each one of those has its own teams. Some of them have three teams, some have one team. I create cards on the department level for projects that we then send down to the individual groups. Those groups then take those cards, create more tasks, and then send those tasks down to the team. The team then breaks those into their daily tasks. I think LeanKit just helps us delegate and send priorities and work down to the different groups and then move things if we need to.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the biggest ways LeanKit has improved our work is by giving us visibility into projects and enabling users to leave comments on different projects. In addition, everybody can talk about one project or one task at the same time. When we first started, we had about six different Microsoft project files as well as about four to seven Excel files where we were keeping track of all of our statuses, work, and tests. That's been simplified into one department board and then the individual team boards. 

Now, everything is all on one board that we can track work on. That's just a basic number as far as actual workflow input. I think we've reduced our average project time from about I think three days in general on a project down to one and a half days. We've almost cut our time in half just from switching from our traditional project management to the LeanKit-style Kanban method.

What is most valuable?

The API has been valuable for me because I can use it to connect to Power BI to create reports downstream.

When we first started using LeanKit, we were using the built-in reports. But since then, I've moved to try to make a bunch of custom reports in Power BI. That has improved communication with our customers because I can point them to a report instead of holding meetings.

LeanKit is amazing when it comes to getting answers about a given card's status. That's one of the biggest takeaways that we've had. The status is right there on the board. Everybody can see it. You just click on it and it gives you everything that you need to know, especially the comments feature because it gives us a timeline of updates. We use that a lot where we write a comment on the card and then we can see and track progress as we move it across the board.

What needs improvement?

We use the submit feedback button pretty often. I encourage the teams to use that if they see anything that could be improved. But we've been really happy with how fast LeanKit improves.

The biggest improvement would be the API and data connections and making the data more accessible or quicker to access. One of our team members has brought up actual-time tracking on a card as a potential improvement. They had an interest in knowing how long a specific card had been worked on by a specific user or somebody that was assigned to that card. But there's not really a way for them to start and stop a time that they were actually working on it, except for if we created a different lane and they dragged it into the lane and then stopped using it in the lane. They requested that there'd be some sort of timer function on each one of the tasks.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two and a half years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

LeanKit's stability has been good. I think we've only had one time where it wasn't working and we couldn't get connected to it, but it was back up pretty fast. In two and a half years, there was only one time that we couldn't access it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has been good for the five teams that are using it now. This year, we're going to try and start implementing it with more and more teams. I think in total, we have about 25 teams just in the building that I work at and the section of Emerson that I work at. We're adding another three teams in the next six months and then possibly another five teams after that. We will see how it goes as we scale past five teams.

How are customer service and support?

I have not had to contact customer support. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We mostly used Microsoft Project before. We switched from more traditional project management and waterfall methods to the Kanban method. We wanted a virtual option. The pandemic accelerated our switch over to LeanKit.

How was the initial setup?

I thought the initial setup was straightforward. It is a simple board layout. The board layout editor was easy to use. At first, it was a little tricky trying to figure out which order I had to do things in as far as splitting the lanes and then adding the lane and moving them around.

We did a slow transition. We went from our traditional method to making cards as sticky notes and putting them on a whiteboard first and then switched over to LeanKit and the actual tool online app. So that entire process of going from our traditional method to using LeanKit fully was about six months, I think.

We went with a physical whiteboard and sticky notes first and then added in the LeanKit board. From there, we started using retros to talk about how we could use LeanKit better and then added more features in, one by one, as far as categorizing cards and adding connections.

What about the implementation team?

We did not implement through a vendor team. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our yearly LeanKit costs are at about $22,000. My advice to others would be to start by watching some of LeanKit's Planview videos. They were useful in learning about how to set up the boards. We made many changes as we went, but if we'd watched some of those intro videos first about best practices, things to do, and the things not to do, we could have skipped a couple of those headaches that we had when we were transitioning from the physical whiteboard to the LeanKit board.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We explored a couple of different options with DevOps, Microsoft Planner, and monday.com. We definitely looked around at different options. Ultimately, LeanKit offered the most flexibility and customization of the actual boards, which we really liked. I think that allows us to make it exactly what we need in terms of the Kanban board and style.

What other advice do I have?

I think the first time I used it it was a little tricky to figure out how everything worked as far as adding a lane goes, for example, or moving it up and down and splitting it vertically or horizontally. But once I figured it out, it's straightforward.

I use the Card Health feature to go in and see how a card's doing. I don't know if I've used it that much when it comes to planning for deadlines. I use it more to look back on how things are doing and then update our process. So if we see a bottleneck, we will point it out and we will talk about if we need to change anything in the future, I don't know if I've used it much for looking forward though. 

The Card Health activity stream makes it easier to quickly look back and see where we have bottlenecks.

Our cycle times have reduced by 50%. They are now half as long as they used to be.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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