Productboard offers an exceptional Kanban option. Jack Wallen explains what the service is and shows you how to customize it to suit your projects.
Over the past year, I’ve tested many project management tools and come away impressed with almost every platform. But not all project management tools are created equal. Some are very basic, while others are extremely complex. There is, however, a small collection of these platforms that fall right in the middle where the amount of features don’t make the workflows too complicated.
One such platform is Productboard. This paid service offers roadmaps, feature prioritization, centralized feedback, idea validation, seamless integration, and simple insights to get the most out of the tools. One of my favorite types of project management tools is the Kanban board, and Productboard offers one of the best I’ve used.
In fact, I tend to judge the quality of a project management tool by its Kanban offering. Why? Because I find Kanban to be one of the easiest and most effective project management tools available. So, if a service offers a strong Kanban option, it ends up at the top of the pile. This is the case of Productboard.
Let’s dive into the Productboard Kanban feature. I’ll walk you through how I set up my Kanban board, so you can get an idea of how it works.
Before you begin, be aware that Productboard is not free. They offer two plan tiers: the first is for teams and includes the Essentials plan for $20/month per manufacturer (billed annually) and the Pro plan for $60/month per manufacturer (billed annually). There are also plans for organizations, but you must contact Productboard for more information. There’s a 15-day free trial, which doesn’t require a credit card, so you can test out the service to see if it’s right for you.
Yes, it’s expensive, but it includes:
- Unlimited products, features and roadmaps
- Free contributors and viewers
- Jira & Azure DevOps integration
- GitHub, Trello and Pivotal Tracker integrations
- Backlog import
- Personalized corridors
- SSO Google Apps
So if you can afford the entry price, Productboard is definitely an option you should seriously consider.
That said, let’s take a look at the configuration of these Kanban boards.
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How to create new statuses
When creating your Kanban board with Productboard, one of the first things to do is to create custom statuses, which will act as the columns you will use in your Kanban boards. The problem with custom statuses is that creating and managing them is not really intuitive.
To create your custom statuses, log into your Productboard account and click Add Status near the top right corner. In the resulting context menu (Figure A), click Customize Status.
In the resulting window, scroll down until you see the Status Customization section (Figure B).
As you can see, I have already added the following statuses:
- First try
To create a new status, click Add status and enter a name for it. Press Enter and the status will be saved. Once you have added all of your new statuses, you need to click the ON/OFF slider for each to make it available for your Kanban boards.
You can also take a moment to disable default statuses if you don’t want to use them. You can enable/disable them for both the roadmap and the feature board.
Once you’ve added and activated all statuses for your board, click the Roadmap icon to view your Kanban board. The next step is to add the columns with your new statuses. The first thing to do is to remove the default statuses. To do this, click the three-dot menu button associated with a status, then click Remove from Roadmap (Figure C).
After deleting the default statuses, click on Add a status then, in the contextual list (Figure D), select the new status to add.
Keep adding your statuses until you are satisfied. With that taken care of, let’s add a second hallway. Swimlanes can be very handy when you want to use statuses for multiple projects. For me, I create corridors for fiction and non-fiction. To create a new swimlane, click Swimlane on the left edge of the table (Figure E) and give the new swimlane a name.
At this point, you can start adding cards to your statuses and lanes (Figure F).
Having the ability to add multiple lanes to a single board is just one of the features that sets Productboard apart from its competitors. Even better, the more you dig into Productboard, the more features you’ll find that make this platform an outstanding project management option.
Is it worth the price of admission? It depends on your needs, the size of your team and your budget. But I would highly recommend that you dabble in the tires of this service for 15 days to see if it’s something that could help your teams be more productive and better managed.
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