Planview LeanKit Review

With everything in one location, we can determine if teams can take on more workload or have roadblocks

What is our primary use case?

We're using LeanKit for our IT teams right now, but we're hoping to utilize it enterprise-wide. We're using it for Kanban boards and methods to help with our lean and Agile workflows.

How has it helped my organization?

We have found that some teams get a lot more requests and work and projects than other teams. Those work-in-process, or WIP limits, are really helpful at determining if teams can take on more workload. It also helps us to see if they have roadblocks. If we have a lot of things that get in our way, it's easier to identify because we have everything in one central location on LeanKit.

Regarding a given card's status, LeanKit gives me easier access. I'm able to work more closely with my team to see what's going on with the cards that they're working on. And my manager can check in on the work that I'm doing just by looking at my cards. Everyone has a better picture of what's going on for the entire team. It also helps in project delivery. We can definitely see if our project is on-time or if we burned down too much time and are getting close to the end of the project and don't have everything done that we were supposed to have done.

While I haven't used the Card Health feature as much, when I have done demos of LeanKit to teams that are starting to use it, and I've shown it to them, they have found it really helpful. If a card has been sitting in the same lane for a few weeks, it helps them track things better to see what's going on with that individual card.

The Card Health activity stream helps business analysts and project managers to identify roadblocks, if they haven't been brought to the surface. If they have a card that's unhealthy, they're able to go to that team member and say, "Hey, what's up with this card? This is affecting the project's deadlines." Or they can even see, "Hey, we were able to get that card to the Finished lane a lot quicker than we thought," and they are able to analyze how that affected the project.

LeanKit has also reduced our cycle times. We are able to stay within our two-week sprints for those scrum teams. And for others we still have better continuous delivery; they are pretty healthy too. I would approximate that we have reduced cycle times by 20 percent, and that's just because we haven't been using it that long.

In addition, our project managers, business analysts, and scrum masters are able to use the solution's reports to determine if teams need additional help or if they can take on additional workload.

What is most valuable?

I like that it's very flexible so that we can change some of the fields, the titles and names, and that we can color code it. I really like being able to add different lanes. Every team is different and being able to customize LeanKit helps each team work to the best of its ability.

We use the board and card hierarchies in terms of sprints so that we can see if we have cross-functional teams that are working on the same projects together, especially when projects have dependencies. The parent-child relationship within cards is really nice so that we can see what kind of dependencies there are when we're trying to get projects finished.

I also really like the flexibility of the Board Layout Editor. Being able to customize your board and the layout helps teams feel that they really own what they're doing as far as Kanban goes. For instance, on the Not Started lane, if you add a couple of vertical lanes, things that need approval versus don't need approval, some teams really find value in that, but others don't need that feature. I like that we can manage that on our own.

What needs improvement?

Being able to determine what the Card Size feature is for, and have it be just one, standard thing instead of it being open to interpretation, would help.

I have also noticed that some people want to be able to make recurring cards. If they have tasks that they do over and over again, they would like to be able to automatically duplicate cards or have them recur. 

Also, being able to track actual time on cards or sprints, instead of using just the planned start and stop date, would also be useful. I would like to see something like JIRA has with actual sprint starts and stops.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using LeanKit for about eight months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a very stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have about 200 users of LeanKit in our organization, and that's just our early adopters who have just started using it. We hope to use it enterprise-wide. We have just the Teams level of LeanKit in use at the moment. Each of them would have their own administrator and users within each board.

We do have plans to increase usage. We have about 15,000 employees, but because we are a hospital, we know that not every team, such as some of the nursing teams, will find it useful. But for teams that are more on the business operations side, I think it will be really useful.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have found their technical support to be helpful. I have opened a few cases with them and they've been very responsive and helpful with all the questions that I've had.

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

We used JIRA, and I have had a few teams use Trello and Asana as well. We've replaced all of them with LeanKit. We went with LeanKit because we use multiple Planview products. Being able to easily integrate with each Planview product, and not have several different platforms within the organization, means we just have one project management solution.

I'm excited to see all of Planview's products grow too.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. All of Planview's products have been really easy to use, and Planview has a really great forum or place to get training documents. I found that nice and easy to use.

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

I'm not familiar with the pricing but I think it has been worth what we've paid for so far.

What other advice do I have?

When you're trying to decide on a solution like LeanKit, important things to look out for are reporting, and the customizability or flexibility within the product. Those are really helpful to individual teams.

The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is that you can really be creative with your Agile process and make your to-do list seem easier to tackle.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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