More and more agencies are adopting agile methodologies to designing, building and deploying apps and systems. Agile fundamentally differs from traditional development methodologies such as waterfall. It’s such a radical departure, in fact, that it also requires fundamental changes in how you manage agile projects. This is why PMI recently adopted an Agile Project Management certification track.
The characteristics of agile projects — self-organizing teams, rapid delivery, daily co-operation between business folks and developers, regular adaptation to changing requirements — require new kinds of management tools as well. Here I present five Agile Project Management (APM) Tools.
Timebox – Designed to be simple, Timebox is one of the more intuitive APM tools on the web. It supports backlog imports from Excel and will be free until it provides “lots of value to lots of people.”
Scrumy – Loosely based on Scrum, this utility lets you create stories (groupings of tasks) and then drag the tasks between columns. A new “story” can be instantly created and is publicly accessible. A $7 per month upgraded version is also available.
Assembla – A single activity stream is displayed to your whole team, including code repositories and bug tracking features. The starter plan is $9 per month, going all the way up to the $99/month professional plan.
Pivotal Tracker – Like Assembla, Pivotal Tracker also offers one view for all users. This facilitates real-time collaboration, including through a Campfire chat and the available iOS app. Prices start at $7 per month.
Trello – Trello boards are collections of lists, which are in turn collections of cards. These can be thought of as the different tasks. Trello works with smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop PCs, and is free for now. “Value-added” features may be added later on.
I really like the concept of agile development — I’ve tried to implement the concept with my team although I’m not in software development. Are you aware of any resources that talk about applying the concepts to other kinds of projects? Thanks.
Thanks for posting this Chris. Although many Agile teams experience success with manual and physical management tools, as the projects become larger, more complex and the number of people involved become more of a team of teams, better tools are needed. Here are 7 questions every Agile software development organization should consider to determine Agile Project Management Tools: Who Needs Them?
VersionOne, recognized by agile practitioners as the leader in agile project management tools, is the only enterprise software company 100% dedicated to agile and lean development since it’s inception. We currently have over 6,000 users within our Federal Sector and continue to experience strong growth.
Readers may also be interested in the 2011 Annual State of Agile Development Survey Results. With over 6,000 participants from all over the world , it’s the largest agile survey of it’s kind. The final page, also provides a list of the tools most commonly used for Agile Project Management.
If anyone would like additional information, feel free to send an email to [email protected].
For developing tightly focused web applications, 37 Signals has come up with a method that, to my way of thinking, lines up well with the Agile philosophy. It’s described at http://gettingreal.37signals.com/, and has valuable insights for other types of projects.
We use Pivotal & Trello at CfA.
Deborah, you may want to look into Lean and specifically Kanban for projects that aren’t software development. Although I think non-software projects can use Agile techniques as well, I think Kanban does a better job and you can easily time-box kanban if you want to in your particular project environment.
I’ve been interviewed or done tutorial videos on Kanban on YouTube you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pmstudent+kanban
Thanks for this post Chris I hadn’t heard of Timebox or Assembla before.
Another great tool is https://leankitkanban.com/ which can be used for both lean/kanban and agile project teams.
@Deborah: Josh brings up some great agile resources for non-SW/engineering projects. Definitely take a look.
@Josh: Never heard of that tool myself. It looks pretty good.
@Kevin: I am personal fan of PivolTracker. I use it nearly every day.
@David: I should take the time to read that signals guide. They strongly recommend brainstorming –> HTML –> coding in that sequence to developing effectively. There’s no bigger waste of time than to code something that’s tossed away because you didn’t think through the interaction or data required.
@Ken: Thanks for the info on that tool. I really like the enterprise approach. I’d like to learn some more about it. I recommend a blog post if you have the time.
Do you happen to know where I could find an Agile PM Charter template?? We’re making a move to Agile, but our project charters still reflect a waterfall method.