Planview LeanKit Review

Much more easy and flexible to get customizations done to make your board look how you want

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.
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