lean management software

10 Best Lean Management Software in 2024

When I first became a manager, the critical problem was to focus on minimizing waste and maximizing value in processes. This meant incorporating lean principles into my management style.

From then to now, I’ve had the opportunity to explore and utilize various software solutions designed to streamline business processes and boost efficiency.

In 2024, lean management software has become more dynamic and innovative than ever. Drawing from my hands-on experience, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 lean project management software that stand out for their effectiveness, user-friendly interfaces, and ability to drive significant improvements in workflow and productivity.

Whether you’re a veteran lean practitioner or a newbie starting on this journey, these tools are sure to provide valuable support in achieving your operational excellence goals.

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What Should You Look for in Lean Management Software?

I had to discover the best lean project management software for my team the hard way. And what good would I be doing to keep the learnings to myself?  Here are some of the critical features you should look for in lean management software:

  1. User-friendly interface: Choose an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface, ensuring that all team members, regardless of their technical expertise, can use it efficiently
  2. Customization and flexibility: Look for software that can be tailored to your processes and workflows, allowing you to implement a lean methodology in a flexible way
  3. Real-time data and analytics: Robust analytics and reporting features are essential for monitoring performance, identifying trends, and making data-driven decisions
  4. Process mapping and visualization: Tools for creating and visualizing process maps, value stream maps, and flowcharts help in understanding and optimizing workflows
  5. Continuous improvement support: Features that facilitate kaizen (continuous improvement) activities, such as tracking improvement suggestions, action plans, and their outcomes, are vital
  6. Collaboration tools: Integrated communication and collaboration features ensure that team members can easily share information, provide feedback, and work together on process improvements
  7. Integration capabilities: The software should have the capability to integrate with other systems and tools used by your organization, such as ERP, CRM, or other project management software, to ensure seamless data flow and coherence
  8. Performance metrics and KPIs: It is crucial for measuring progress to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics related to the lean approach, such as cycle time, lead time, and defect rates
  9. Scalability: Ensure the software can scale with your organization as it grows and that it can handle increasing amounts of data and users
  10. Support and training: Comprehensive customer support and training resources are essential to help your team get the most out of the software and address any issues

Focusing on these aspects can help you select lean project management software that will effectively support your efforts to enhance efficiency, reduce waste, and continuously improve your processes.

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The 10 Best Lean Management Software to Use in 2024

As someone who has tried and tested various lean project management software over the years, I would like to introduce you to the top 10 lean management software to ease your processes. 

1. ClickUp: Best for lean project management and product development lifecycle

ClickUp Software Teams all-in-one work hub that brings cross-functional teamwork, tools, and knowledge into one place
Plan, build, and ship, all in an all-in-one work hub

ClickUp is a robust, all-in-one product management solution for planning, building, and shipping products. It simplifies the entire development lifecycle with a holistic work hub that brings cross-functional teamwork, tools, and knowledge together in one place. Let’s get into it!

The key to lean management lies in building end-to-end visibility for your business or product development process—enabling you to spot any wastage or underutilized resources early on.

Leverage ClickUp Views to create a visual workflow that best represents your processes. Don’t forget to use Custom Statuses and Custom Fields to add details that are unique to your business. For instance, “awaiting FedRamp approval” may be a specific step for your security software business outside the US.

ClickUp 15+ views
Customize your workflow to your needs with 15+ views in ClickUp

Once you have the view down, Use ClickUp Tasks to break down your projects into smaller, manageable tasks, so you know exactly how much effort is required for each task and for how long. With this level of optimization, you can account for efficiency at every single step.

And, of course, automate wherever you can to avoid time-consuming, manual processes. ClickUp Automation features can help you reduce manual work and eliminate waste. 

ClickUp Automation
Automate repetitive tasks to simplify programming with ClickUp’s 100+ built-in automations

To underpin these processes, adopt continuous improvement as a cornerstone of your business. Conduct weekly, fortnightly, or monthly reviews to understand what’s working and what’s not. You can use ClickUp Dashboards to gather and visualize data, making it easier to identify areas for improvement.

ClickUp has all of this and more to help you incorporate lean management into your work, but we know it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. To help you get started faster, we have ClickUp Templates

Make lean management easy with ClickUp Templates

If you are entering a new business venture and want to save time while building your business plan, you can blindly turn to the Lean Business Plan Template. Using this, you can make a concise, organized presentation and efficiently communicate your business plan to potential investors and stakeholders.

Get your business off the ground easily using ClickUp’s Lean Business Plan Template

On the other hand, entrepreneurs and startups can use the Lean Canvas Template to quickly identify and validate their business model, enabling easier risk and opportunity recognition. You can also see the visual representation of your business plan while swiftly monitoring and tracking progress.

Automatically generate tasks by filling up the form on this Lean Canvas template

ClickUp best features

  • Ship faster: Accelerate your development plans and documentation using ClickUp Brain. Instantly generate product ideas, roadmaps, and more with expert-designed AI tools tailored for software teams, all within ClickUp
  • Customizable views: Use 15 plus customizable views to allow your team to view their tasks in a way that benefits them the most. For example, use Timeline View to see project tasks from a duration perspective.
  • Better collaboration: ClickUp improves collaboration within your team by letting you assign tasks to team members using the ClickUp Assignees and helps stakeholders easily stay in the loop via the Watchers feature
  • Extensive integration capabilities: Integrate ClickUp with your current work apps such as Slack, Google Calendar, Zapier, and more to avoid switching between multiple platforms
ClickUp Brain
Accelerate planning and documentation with ClickUp Brain
Plan, track progress, and manage resources during Sprint Planning by using ClickUp’s Agile Project Management Template

Pro tip: ClickUp Scrum Sprint Planning Template for Scrum teams looking for a simple sprint template to plan and track their sprints. Design the ideal process for any backlog, automate it, and devote more time to what truly matters

Easily define the scope and monitor the progress of your sprint using the Clickup Sprint Planning Template

ClickUp limitations

  • The level of customization can feel overwhelming to you initially

ClickUp pricing

  • Free forever plan: Best for personal use
  • Unlimited: Best for small teams; $7/month per user
  • Business: Best for mid-sized teams; $12/month per user
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing
  • ClickUp Brain: Add to any paid plan for $5/month per Workspace user

ClickUp ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.7/5 (9,000+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (4,000+ reviews)

2. Atlassian: Best for agile workflow

Atlassian streamlines workflows and enhances team collaboration while tracking and managing tasks and visualizing project progress through customizable boards.  

It seamlessly integrates with its sister products and a wide range of third-party tools and applications. For instance, Atlassian’s agile boards in Jira have been immensely helpful for my team in visualizing our workflow and identifying bottlenecks. The integration with Confluence allows me to document processes simultaneously and share knowledge easily.

Atlassian’s comprehensive integration ecosystem makes it suitable for organizations with multiple tools.

Atlassian best features

  • Highly customizable as per your needs
  • Use Kanban Boards to visualize all the work that’s been done
  • Easily re-prioritize your user stories and bugs
  • Use sprint permissions to define what users can see or do in a given project, allowing you to delegate permissions and responsibilities to team members better to be more autonomous and agile

Atlassian limitations

  • Some users would like to have a better UI

Atlassian pricing

  • Free: Up to 10 users
  • Standard: $7.16 per user per month
  • Premium: $12.48 per month per user
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Atlassian ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.3/5 (5,800+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.4/5 (14,000+ reviews)

3. Linear: Best for modern software development

via Linear

Best known for its user-friendly UI, Linear allows you to plan, make better decisions, and execute faster. The tool operates with a specific focus on product development, making it an ideal choice for software development teams. 

With roadmaps, you can set a direction and focus on the big picture. With its auto-closing and auto-archiving features, you can also manage backlogs automatically.

Linear is designed to be exceptionally fast and responsive, providing a streamlined user experience that enhances productivity. It prioritizes quick navigation, rapid issue tracking, and real-time updates, which helps teams stay focused and efficient.

Linear best features

  • To give your issues more context, you can add priority, labels, estimates, issue relations, references, and due dates
  • Plan, execute, and track what needs to be done in a particular month, quarter, and year visually
  • Automatically close issues that have yet to be updated in a set period. This saves you from having to comb through tons of closed issues manually. 

Linear limitations

  • Analytics and insights features might be limiting for some users
  • Time tracking is unavailable

Linear pricing

  • Free: With limited features
  • Basic: $10 per user per month 
  • Business: $15 per user per month 
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Linear ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.6/5 (26 reviews)
  • Capterra: 5/5 (41 reviews)

4. Trello: Best free project management tool

via Trello

Trello is your alternative for all your lean project management needs if you don’t want to burn your wallet and are looking for something practical and free to use. It’s especially suitable for individual contributors or smaller teams.

Trello’s visual card and board system makes it a unique choice. Its intuitive Kanban-style interface allows users to create boards for different projects and use cards to represent tasks. 

These cards can be easily moved across lists representing different workflow stages, providing a clear and visual representation of progress. This feature supports lean management by making it simple to visualize work, identify bottlenecks, and streamline processes, ensuring that tasks flow smoothly from start to finish. 

Trello best features

  • Use the checklist feature to have a quick view of what step you are at in your project
  • Assign tasks, tag your colleagues, and leave comments or feedback directly on cards
  • Integrate with Slack, Google Drive, GitHub, and more
  • It’s beginner-friendly with easy drag-and-drop feature

Trello limitations

  • No time-tracking feature
  • Larger projects may be challenging to manage with all the moving parts

Trello pricing

  • Free: With limited features
  • Standard: $6 per user per month 
  • Premium: $12.5 per user per month 
  • Enterprise: $17.5 per user per month, billed annually

Trello ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.4/5 (13,000+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (23,000+ reviews)

5. Airtable: Best spreadsheet-based tool

Airtable is arguably the most versatile project management software available. Its core is a potent spreadsheet-based tool that surpasses the capabilities of Microsoft Excel. Beyond this, Airtable offers almost limitless customization.

You and your team can develop no-code and low-code applications to manage, display, plan, and analyze nearly anything. Personally, I think this open-ended nature can also be a drawback, as it can be overwhelming at times. 

If you have a clear vision, you can easily tailor Airtable to fit your needs. Alternatively, you can use Airtable’s customizable templates to help you navigate its extensive features.

Airtable best features

  • Data modeling provides deeper insights, making your data more actionable
  • Product roadmaps to maintain team focus on the value stream and facilitate workflow
  • A comprehensive template library enables faster execution, eliminating the need to build custom apps from scratch

Airtable limitations

  • If you seek a straightforward, ready-to-use solution, you might find Airtable’s “create it yourself” approach challenging

Airtable pricing

  • Free: For individuals or very small teams
  • Team: $24 per month per user
  • Business: $54 per month per user
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Airtable ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.6/5 (2,000+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,000+ reviews)

6. Teamwork: Best for creative project management

With Teamwork, you can enable swift engagement in value stream mapping and present workflows in various easy-to-understand formats. This is helpful from a lean management POV when pinpointing issues such as inventory backlogs, task switching, and waiting times. 

You can use features like project planning and Gantt charts to spot any dependencies that may slow you down the line. To make this process easier, comments or comment threads are centralized with Teamwork’s tasks, eliminating the need for constant context switching. 

But if you find Teamwork’s customization capabilities limited or not quite enough, leverage its API to build custom integrations and automation to simplify your workflows. The platform also provides advanced access controls to projects, tasks, and files, allowing you to have complete control over your data security.

Teamwork best features

  • Teamwork Spaces and Chat enhance clear communication, promoting continuous improvement and smooth workflow
  • Visualize value streams and project flows, ensuring everyone stays focused on the right tasks at the right time
  • Time and budget tracking tools allow managers to monitor expenses and identify potential areas of waste or inefficiency
  • Integrate with tools like Dropbox and Asana to make your workflows more seamless

Teamwork limitations

  • Lacks advanced features like resource management and advanced reporting
  • Initially, it takes a significant amount of time to implement the feature.

Teamwork pricing

  • Free for up to five users with limited features
  • Deliver: $13.99 per month, per user (minimum three users)
  • Grow: $25.99 per month per user (minimum five users)
  • Scale: Custom pricing

Teamwork ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.4/5 (1,000 + reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (850+ reviews)

7. Zenhub: Best for software project management

via Zenhub

If you are looking for software that integrates seamlessly with GitHub and caters specifically to project managers, developers, and product owners, Zenhub is your go-to tool. 

Zenhub is highly effective for software development teams. Its direct operation within GitHub can allow your developers to work in their preferred environment while project managers can efficiently track progress.

Customizable pipelines and views enable lean manufacturing, and robust product road-mapping tools ensure teams remain focused on delivering value.

Zenhub best features

  • You can quickly populate Kanban boards in real time with data from GitHub
  • Workflow automation facilitates the creation of flow and the establishment of a pull system
  • Agile reports and insights enable agencies to improve and map the value stream more effectively

Zenhub limitations

  • Project completion or status notifications might seem annoying to some users
  • It’s hard to customize as per your needs

Zenhub pricing

  • Free: 14-day free trial
  • Teams: $12.50 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Zenhub ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.3/5 (34 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.3/5 (35 reviews)

8. SafetyCulture: Best for beginners

SafetyCulture, previously known as iAuditor, helps you learn and implement Lean Six Sigma principles in your workflow. It’s a user-friendly tool that allows you to begin making improvements quickly, even as you enhance your Lean Six Sigma skills and knowledge.

Initially launched as an inspection and reporting tool, SafetyCulture later added workflow-building and task-assignment capabilities. While it may not be the most comprehensive project management solution available, it is well-suited for organizations adhering to lean principles.

I would recommend this to managers who are committed to a lean approach. If your project management requirements are relatively straightforward, SafetyCulture is worth considering. It is beneficial if you also need robust inspection and reporting functionalities.

SafetyCulture best features

  • Facilitate workflow creation by outlining processes and assigning follow-ups to ensure continuous progress
  • Use intelligent digital checklists to identify value and map the value stream
  • Custom reports support ongoing process and output improvements, effectively reducing waste
  • Use the Heads Up feature to share announcements or updates with the entire team instantly

SafetyCulture limitations

  • The web-solution might act glitchy sometimes
  • Not everyone will find it very intuitive

SafetyCulture pricing

  • Free: Up to 10 users
  • Premium: $29 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

SafetyCulture ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.4/5 (47 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (196 reviews)

9. TRACtion: Best for optimizing processes

Process improvement is fundamental in every project, especially in a lean methodology. TRACtion is dedicated to process improvement, making it an excellent tool for lean project management.

TRACtion features built-in tools for continuous improvement and an eLearning component for just-in-time micro-learning. Additionally, it provides problem-solving roadmaps and customizable pre-built roadmaps to advance process improvement initiatives further.

TRACtion best features

  • Dashboards ensure that all your key performance indicators (KPIs), metrics, and project data are visible and easily accessible
  • Flexible workflows allow you to adjust your problem-solving approach as necessary
  • Dedicated coaching interface to guide and provide feedback to project teams
  • Real-time data visualization with multiple charts and graphs

TRACtion limitations

  • The product can be overwhelming in the beginning
  • Logging features might not seem to be fully fleshed out to some users yet

TRACtion pricing

  • There is a one-time setup fee and an annual usage fee for most teams
  • There are custom pricing for enterprise deployments

TRACtion ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.7/5 (100+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.9/5 (50 reviews)

10. Asana: Best AI work management

via Asana

Most people I met who use Asana call it their second brain, and I second that. It drives clarity and is a great place to connect your strategic goals to the teams that help achieve them. You can also see real-time progress, update stakeholders, and keep the company on track.

I find Asana AI to be its most differentiating feature. Apart from recommending smart fields in boards or smart summaries for your boards and tasks, it can help you edit and polish your messages. It also provide insights into more realistic goal setting and rules for automating repetitive tasks.

Asana best features

  • You can keep your teams accountable by organizing current projects and tasks in one place while giving everyone visibility into the work they need to do and the steps to get there
  • You can get a bird’s-eye view with various project views and custom labels
  • You can easily loop in everyone with automatic updates about new comments, assignments, and more. Your team members can track every task that’s assigned to them in one place

Asana limitations

  • Import and export data is available only in JSON and CSV file formats
  • Only one person can assign tasks, creating a challenge for large teams with multiple project stakeholders. You also can’t assign tasks to various assignees

Asana pricing

  • Free: Forever
  • Starter: $13.49/month per user
  • Advanced: $30.49/month per user
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing
  • Enterprise+: Custom pricing

Asana ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.3/5 (9,500+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (12,000+ reviews)
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Choose the Best Lean Management Tool

Lean methodology can feel overwhelming for beginners. When not done well, it can leave you with an endless checklist of everything that went wrong.

But with the right tools, lean strategies can help you track patterns and trends to forecast future problems and feel more in control of your workflow. ClickUp can be your ideal match in this journey if you are looking to:

  • Fast-track your business plan or product development
  • Breeze through sprints with flexible workflows
  • Align your team with clear roadmaps and much more

Sign up on ClickUp for free and transform your processes today!

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