The Difference Between Trello vs Kanban Zone

When thinking about trying the Kanban methodology, you might stop and think about the differences between Trello vs Kanban. They both have cards on boards, but the comparisons stops there. Learn why and how Kanban Zone can make your to-do lists more effective by leveraging the Kanban methodology.

Let’s start with what Trello is… a to-do list tool. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s not a Kanban tool and nor does it need to be, in order to manage simple to-do items. We too used Trello for a while, but what we needed was a way to visualize cards on board, and also leverage the great benefits from the Kanban methodology.

This is the major difference between Trello vs Kanban Zone. Kanban Zone can help you utilize Kanban technology with some of the features we mention below that Trello doesn’t have.

Trello vs Kanban Zone
A Visual Breakdown

Trello Logo Icon Blue 200x200

Trello

To-Do List Tool

Kanban Zone Logo

Kanban Zone

Kanban Solution

To Do Lists ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
Customize Boards ❌ No ✅ Yes
Link Cards & Connect Boards ❌ No ✅ Yes
WIP Limits ❌ No ✅ Yes
Explicit Agreements ❌ No ✅ Yes
Metrics like Cycle Time and Throughput ❌ No ✅ Yes

Customize Boards

Setting up a simple board with columns is easy in both Trello and Kanban Zone, but when it comes to customizing your board to create the ideal flow of work only Kanban Zone has a board editor capable of creating complex boards. Kanban Zone also provides a list of board templates to help you start with the foundation to build the board that works for you. So when it comes to customizing your boards between Trello vs Kanban Zone, you can gain more flexibility with the latter.

In the video above, you can see how Kanban Zone can create any board you can imagine. As the administrator of a paid plan user, you can also leverage our Kanban coaches to help you set up a single board or multiple connected boards to create your Portfolio Kanban solution.

WIP Limits

WIP Limits in Kanban Zone

For example, Kanban relies on pulling cards into play based on available capacity represented on a Kanban board as Work-in-Progress (WIP) columns. When it comes to strictly implementing WIP limits, between Trello vs Kanban Zone, Kanban Zone is a better platform. Trello does not have WIP limits because new cards in Trello can be added in any column and the board is not necessarily built to flow cards. In Kanban Zone, all new cards start in the backlog and then flow from left to right until the card completes the process represented on the board. Although it’s optional in Kanban Zone to assign WIP limit in the columns, we highly recommend it when creating a Kanban board because WIP limits are a core property of Kanban to ensure a better flow of cards on the board. The result is increased efficiency because the board helps the users respect the WIP limits and therefore prevents too many cards on the board at the same time.

To learn more about WIP limits and more precisely the importance of not multi-tasking, read the article – Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work – And How Kanban Can Help.

Explicit Agreements

Explicit Agreements Kanban

This is another Kanban concept that is very helpful to include on a board if you want to continuously improve the way your team works on that board. For each column that holds cards in Kanban Zone, you can describe what it means to enter/exit a column. These are called explicit agreements. And although optional in Kanban Zone, they are built in our board editor to make sure that it’s part of the board. Some of our board templates include explicit agreements so that you can inherit this great habit when building a board. Trello doesn’t offer this function as a specific concept.

Metrics to help you improve performance and responsiveness

Kanban first started in the manufacturing world to improve many aspects including time to market and quality. How can you improve something if you don’t measure it? In Kanban, there are metrics like Throughput and Cycle Time that provide great insight into your process. As you make changes to your process or members join and leave your team, you should have a way to track the impact of these changes. In Kanban Zone, these metrics are included and various reports are available to see and analyze this data. When it comes to the metrics availability between Trello vs Kanban Zone, Trello can’t produce these metrics because anyone can make changes to the board and there are no rules in these columns to capture this data. In Kanban Zone, we promote the role of a board administrator who we help to master Kanban, so that they build the most effective boards and can track these metrics to keep improving their boards.

Kanban Zone - Throughput

These are only a few of the reasons why we built Kanban Zone and sincerely believe that Kanban Zone is a better solution for improving the way you achieve your goals. Although Kanban Zone can create simple boards also to behave as to-do lists or cool boards to see cards, we also offer the ability to build complex boards and all the mechanism to learn from the cards that flow on these boards.

Don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself by signing up for your Free Trial. Kanban Zone is not only ideal to help you improve your productivity, it also saves you money.

To learn more about the advantages of using a Kanban board instead of just a to-do list board, read Doing, Being and Flowing in Kanban (5P/3M).

We are fanatic about improving the way to work and achieving goals faster with higher quality. Kanban Zone by it’s name will always remain true to Kanban and continue to provide innovative ways to help people collaborate and grow as a team.

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