Agile project management is a the term for software development that relies on the incremental method of designing and building software. In contrast, the Waterfall development method is much more thought out before any work is done. Both methods have their respective pros and cons, but agile project management is definitely become the preferred method for many developers. With that in mind, what are the best agile project management tools on the market today?
Before we dive into the tools, let’s outline what agile development and Scrum are in greater detail.
Agile Project Management
Traditional waterfall project management plans out every bit of the project before any developing occurs. This method assumes that you will know everything about your project and that nothing will really go wrong. This cumbersome process makes changing your software on the fly difficult.
Agile project management is based on incremental growth based on the direction dictated by the software development lifecycle. So instead of mapping out your entire project A-Z, agile is broken up into Sprints or shorter iterations. At the end of each sprint, your team will have created a shippable piece of software that can be assessed by your users, allowing you to determine future revisions.
Scrum is a framework to product development. It helps you learn about your work and the process you use to complete your work. Scrum allows you to inspect your product and processes through feedback loops, allowing you to revise and iterate your product quickly. This fits perfectly into the agile project management philosophy.
While Scrum is handled differently with every team, officially Scrum has three roles. Product Owner, Team, and Scrum Master. Traditional project managers’ responsibilities are divided between these three roles, but in Scrum, it’s split. The Scrum Master is in charge of the Backlog and Sprint Planning. She is in charge of the daily Scrum meetings, which are divided into three main subjects, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.
The Scrum Master has a very important position because she facilitates communication between the Product Owner and the development team. Her responsibilities are to eliminate any obstacles the development team may have and facilitate overall productivity.
The Product Owner rarely interacts with the development team on a daily basis, this is the responsibility of the Scrum Master. But the Scrum Master’s actions are dictated by the Product Owner. The Scrum Master works with the Product Owner to turn the information from the PO into an actionable plan for the team.
The Best Agile Project Management Tools
In addition to Jixee, here’s our list of the best agile project management tools.
Agilo is a flexible project management tool for teams using trac. Agilo is a configurable tool that gives your team to adapt to your workflow. Agilo integrates with trac, SVN (Subversion), and eclipse (mylyn). Aside from its Pro features, Agilo is distributed under the Apache License 2.0, allowing you to download it for free.
Rally is one of the original agile project management trackers. Rally helps you track and prioritize your work based on value. You’re able to reallocate your dev resources to maximize workflow. Rally aligns your business strategy and development and helps you advance your strategy.
Jira is the popular tracker by Atlassian. Offered both as a cloud-based and server product, Jira helps your team track project issues, even allowing you to import your previous issues into Jira. It was built with agile planning in mind, having pre-sets for scrum and kanban. Since it’s a part of Atlassian, Jira gives you access to Altassian’s Marketplace.
Pivotal Tracker is a product of Pivotal Labs. It offers a main board that everyone can view, balancing the task-level picture with the overall scope. Pivotal Tracker has “stories,” which are small blocks of work. A story is easy to create and understood by the entire team.
KanbanFlow has been around since 2011. It’s meant to boost your personal or team productivity. KanbanFlow allows you to visualize your work, collaborate in real-time, and time track. KanbanFlow uses the Pomodoro technique for its time management, recommending 25 minute work intervals with short breaks in between.
Before you even start looking at the best agile project management tools, be sure you know what you are looking for in a project management tool. By answering simple questions like, “How does our team communicate?” your decision process will be much easier. Then you can assess which of these agile project management tools are best suited for your team.
Answering the question, “What are the best agile project management tools?” is such a subjective task. There are many powerful tools out there, it’s just a matter of your personal preference. I would suggest taking a look at Jixee if you are looking for a simple, yet highly functional, project management tool.