Kanban boards make it easy for project managers and project leads to visualize project tasks, maximize efficiency and limit work in progress. Although kanban board software is most popular with teams that practice Agile and Lean, the versatility of kanban boards makes them useful for all types of users.
With open-source software, users can tailor the software to their needs. As a result, almost any organization can benefit from using open-source kanban boards.
On this page, we have shared our picks for the six best open-source kanban boards for managing projects in 2023. In addition, we have highlighted how the software compare and shared the pros, cons, pricing and standout features of each.
SEE: Use our project manager hiring kit to find the right person to lead your project teams.
Top open-source kanban boards for managing projects comparison
Here is how the top open-source kanban board software compare in key features.
|Software||Drag and drop||Filter tasks||WIP limits||Import and export boards||Self-hosted||Pricing (billed monthly)|
|Taiga||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free plan available
Paid tiers start at $70
|WeKan||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free plan available
Paid tiers start at $131 per hour
|Kanboard||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Free plan available
No paid tiers
|Restyaboard||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free plan available
Paid tiers start at $7 per user
|Nextcloud Deck||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Free plan available
No paid tiers
|OpenProject 9||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Free plan available
Paid tiers start at $8.50 per user
- Benefits of using kanban for project management
- Key features of open-source kanban software for managing projects
- How do I choose the best open-source kanban software for my business?
- Review methodology
Taiga: Best for experienced project management teams
Taiga is one the leading open-source project management software that offers kanban boards, Agile templates, permissions control, plug-in support and a built-in backup solution. With Taiga, you also get powerful customization tools as well as the ability to use kanban boards even when using a Scrum template.
SEE: Check out how Taiga compares to our picks for the best Agile project management tools.
- Taiga Cloud Basic: No cost for unlimited users and projects.
- Self-hosted: No cost for a 100% open-source deployment.
- Taiga Cloud with Premium Support: $70 per month when billed monthly or $600 when billed annually.
- Sprint planning: You can use Taiga to define what will be delivered in a sprint and how that will be achieved.
- Issue tracking: Taiga makes it possible for teams to track and prioritize issues. This tool is especially useful for development teams to identify and address issues.
- Multiple workflows: You can set up multiple workflows in Taiga, including swim lanes for different tasks.
- Role-based permission for added control.
- Self-hosted and managed cloud solutions.
- Variety of custom fields.
- Remote support.
- Generating reports can be challenging.
- No mobile app.
WeKan: Best for ease of use
WeKan offers all the features you expect from a top open-source task management software, including WIP limits, customization, drag-and-drop capabilities and swimlanes. With any open-source application, teams are free to modify the software to adjust it according to their needs. However, WeKan makes it even easier by offering an organized and logical layout.
WeKan is free to use with unlimited users. You can purchase commercial support from WeKan for tech support and software-as-a-service hosting. Prices vary depending on the plan.
User Friendly/Technical/Enterprise Support pricing is broken down as such:
- Hourly: €120 ($131 USD) per hour of support.
- 3 Years: €5,000 ($5,459 USD) for 120 hours of support.
- 2 Years: €4,000 ($4,367 USD) for 80 hours of support.
- 1 Year: €2,000 ($2,184 USD) for 40 hours of support, €1,000 ($1,092 USD) for 20 hours of support or €500 ($546 USD) for 10 hours of support.
SaaS Hosting is €50 ($55 USD) per year.
- Card tracking: With the WeKan card tracking feature, you can “watch” cards you categorize as important. This means you can set up notifications when any changes are made to these cards or if there is any status update.
- Offline mode: WeKan has an excellent offline mode, offering all of its kanban tools even without an internet connection.
- GDPR compliance: With WeKan, you get complete GDPR compliance, ensuring digital sovereignty for your data.
- Outstanding sprint management tools.
- Easy integration with applications built on Node.js.
- Excellent customer support.
- User interface looks outdated.
- No desktop notifications.
Kanboard: Best for basic kanban functionality
Kanboard is a minimalist project management software ideal for users needing basic kanban functionality. While it may not have lots of advanced tools, the user interface is as simple to use as you’ll find in this software category. There is also no lack of core project management features, including kanban board searching and filtering, commenting, attachments, subtasks and other basic tools.
SEE: For more information, check out our full Kanboard review.
Kanboard is free to use with no user limits.
- Automation tools: With Kanboard, you get several automation tools, including automatic notifications to keep everyone up to date on task status. You can define automated action parameters based on events.
- Search and filter tasks: If you are working on multiple projects, you can easily search and filter tasks or subtasks by description, due date, category or custom fields.
- Authentication back ends: For an added layer of authentication, Kanboard connects to Active Directory servers, LDAP or other OAuth2 providers such as GitHub, Google or Gitlab.
- Supports over 30 languages.
- Exports to a variety of formats.
- Supports a wide range of plugins and extensions.
- Initial setup is challenging.
- Lacks visibility of several projects in one view.
Restyaboard offers a good balance between usability and features. You get several innovative features such as quick card creation, dashboard charts and group apps. The user interface is clean and simple, and creating and managing kanban boards is straightforward. A useful feature in Restyaboard that you don’t find in some competitors is that you can directly import your tasks from other project management software without reformatting. For example, if you have an unfinished project in Trello, you can upload that data in its default format to Restyaboard.
Restyaboard: Best for beginners
Restyaboard offers a good balance between usability and features. You get several innovative features such as quick card creation, dashboard charts and group apps. The user interface is clean and simple, and creating and managing kanban boards is straightforward.
A useful feature in Restyaboard that you don’t find in some competitors is that you can directly import your tasks from other project management software without reformatting. For example, if you have an unfinished project in Trello, you can upload that data in its default format to Restyaboard.
Nextcloud Deck: Best for users with Nextcloud apps
The Nextcloud Deck is one of many applications available on the Nextcloud app store. The Deck app is an open-source kanban software that offers multiple boards, card assignments, the ability to connect cards to projects, drag-and-drop functionality and several other useful features.
SEE: Learn how to create kanban boards in Nextcloud.
Nextcloud Deck is free to use with unlimited users.
- Easy file sharing: You can share files easily and quickly by directly attaching them to a task or drag-and-drop them to a board.
- Move cards across stacks or boards: The simple and organized layout of Nextcloud Deck makes it easy to move cards across stacks or boards.
- Collaboration tools: With Nextcloud Deck, you get a full range of team collaboration tools, including comments, assigning labels, writing notes, using the in-built chatting tools and several other features.
- Simple interface with an organized layout.
- Clear categorization of boards: private, team, project-specific and more.
- Most suitable for teams that already use Nextcloud apps.
OpenProject 9: Best for enterprise users
OpenProject applications are well-known for their ease of use. With multiple board views, customizable workflows and a user-friendly interface, OpenProject 9 is a worthy contender for the best open-source kanban board software for 2023. You get a variety of kanban board tools, including the ability to create and customize templates and board views.
SEE: Learn how to create a project in OpenProject.
- Community edition: Free but with limited features.
- Basic: $7.25 per user per month, billed annually, or $8.50 per user billed monthly.
- Professional: $13.50 per user per month, billed annually, or $14.75 per user billed monthly.
- Premium: $19.50 per user per month, billed annually, or $20.75 per user billed monthly.
- Scrum and Agile board view: In this view, you get a kanban board optimized for Agile and scrum teams. This helps provide an overview of the tasks, including who the task is assigned to and the current status.
- Work package templates: With this feature, you can create new work packages or templates using custom fields to help reduce errors and save your team valuable time.
- Custom view: You can customize the work package views to add the charts you want to view. For example, you can add a Gantt chart to visualize project progress.
- Several online resources to learn how to use OpenProject 9.
- Auto-completion tools to help save time.
- High customizability.
- Advanced features are only available with paid plans.
Benefits of using kanban for project management
Key features of open-source kanban software for managing projects
Ability to drag and drop
The ability to drag and drop makes it easy to navigate kanban boards and make changes. For example, a drag-and-drop feature can enable users to quickly reorder, prioritize, remove or move cards within kanban boards.
In Agile development, work-in-progress limits help define the maximum amount of work that can exist in each status of task or workflow. This feature helps identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the team’s workflow.
Search and filter tasks
For users working on multiple tasks or managing multiple projects, the ability to search and filter tasks helps boost efficiency. It also makes life easier for project managers to see which work items are assigned to which user.
Import and export boards
If you need to move your work from one project management software to another, you want the application to offer import and export functionality, so you can continue from where you left off. Ideally, you want a software that doesn’t need much reformatting for importing or exporting tasks.
Self-hosting project management solutions are ideal for teams that want more control over their project management data and documents. With a self-hosted solution, you also get more flexibility to implement changes, especially for integration with other software in your tech stack.
How do I choose the best open-source kanban software for my business?
There are several options for open-source kanban board software. To choose the best solution for your business, you will need to prioritize your needs. For example, you can do a self-analysis exercise with your team to identify the must-have features.
If your team does a lot of collaboration, consider software with in-built messaging tools and an easy way to share files and notes. Similarly, if you have a team experienced in project management software, you can go with applications offering more advanced functionality.
The good news with open-source software is they are often free and offer the ability to customize your setup to suit your project team’s needs. However, you should still be mindful of your team’s valuable time and only choose a tool after thorough research and due diligence.
To compile a list of the best open-source kanban board software for 2023, we looked at dozens of software on the market. Our selection criteria included several parameters, including usability, feature set, add-ons, pricing and ease of initial setup. Once we had a short list of the top software, we did an in-depth analysis of each software to determine its advantages, disadvantages and key features.
Still not sure these open-source kanban tools are the right fit for your project needs? Check out our lists for the best open-source project management tools and the best free project management software.