|Description||Lean/Agile SaaS Tools & Services|
|Seed, 11/12 ||$1.5M|
LeanKit helps organizations around the world improve their operations by quickly visualizing workflows, improving visibility and collaboration between stakeholders in those workflows, and providing real-time metrics on the effectiveness of the workflows to allow for ongoing process improvement. LeanKit’s primary product is a SaaS tool for visual project management, or “Kanban”.
Kanban is a technique that originally emerged in Japanese auto-manufacturing as a way to use signalling cards to limit work-in-progress inventory and smooth operations on the factory floor. The Kanban method was adapted for information technology by David Anderson at Microsoft and Corbis in the mid-2000s. David’s book “Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business” has become very popular in the IT Lean/Agile community.
Whereas in manufacturing, Kanban controls the flow of physical parts, in IT it has to provide a way to visualize knowledge work. It does this by modeling the steps in an organization’s processes as vertical and horizontal lanes on a wall or whiteboard. Sticky-notes or 3x5 cards are used to represent work flowing through the process from left to right. Team members manage their own cards to encourage collaboration and accountability. Managers shift from micromanaging activities to measuring results via the board and tracking metrics to guide ongoing process improvement.
This card wall approach is becoming increasingly popular with teams practicing Lean/Agile techniques including Scrum. It has spread beyond its IT roots to be adopted for construction, marketing, law firms, education, etc. Physical Kanban works very well for small, physically co-located teams. But it scales poorly for larger organizations and those with geographically distributed staff.
LeanKit takes the Kanban method and moves it online. It looks and feels like a physical Kanban card wall. It can be displayed on a large touchscreen monitor to serve through drag-and-drop as the equivalent of a physical kanban card. But each card move is replicated in real-time to other team members looking at the same Kanban board around the globe. And LeanKit can be linked via API to essentially any existing system in order to improve visibility into existing automated processes.
Each card move is captured by the system in order to generate metrics on bottlenecks, delivery date validation, average completion time, process variability, workload distribution, process efficiency, etc. This data can be analyzed within LeanKit in real-time or exported to merge with other data sets for deeper analysis.
LeanKit’s portfolio management features allow for creation of multi-level kanban processes where the cards on a top level board(s) can be linked to child cards on lower-level boards. The top board could be a portfolio management process with each card representing a project. That project card can then be linked to cards delegated onto team-level boards. Analytics are rolled up allowing top level managers to understand the health of delegated work.
LeanKit has just over 1000 customer companies (as of February 2013) with 20,000+ paying users and 120,000+ total users in North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. The company is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee with development operations in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Eastern Europe. Some of LeanKit’s major customers are Rolls-Royce, Amdocs, JetBlue, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Attachmate, Vertafore, HCA Healthcare, AOL, Spotify, Siemens, DirecTV, NBC Universal, and the government of Ontario, Canada.
Product OverviewAdded: 2/22/13