How to Choose an Agile Project Management Tool?

Managing entire projects – from planning to delivery – demands tremendous efforts from their leaders. They often find themselves confused in the mess of multitasking, struggling to establish flexible and interactive workflow within the organization.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the average large IT project runs 45% over budget, 7% over time, and delivers 56% less value than expected.

At the same time, they noted that standardized work practices contribute to almost three-quarters of successful projects.

With duties dispersed all around the organization, it is evident that traditional project management can hardly produce the necessary results, while agile project management tools step in and take over control. They provide efficiency and full supervision over projects.

HOW IT WORKS? 

An agile project management tool gives organizations simple and clear methodology of work. It keeps the track records of all team members, sets iterations and determines velocity, responds to changes over the existing plans, and encourages more frequent, but smaller achievements.

This step-by-step methodology has some basic principles that we would like to describe briefly here:

  • Visualization: An agile approach to project management allows users to visualize the progress made throughout the process, which gives them a great overview of both finished and future jobs to be done.
  • Active user participation: Agile PM software forces employees to be actively involved in the project, giving them obvious tasks on a daily basis. There are no unwanted documents, no misunderstandings, no boring reports; only mini-missions to be resolved gradually.
  • Collaboration: Everyone is involved and all members of the team can see what the overall objective is. They have simple instructions, all information is only a glance away, and there are no huge e-mail threads to burden anyone.
  • Fixed timescale: Traditionally, project managers used to stick to the planned tasks and didn’t allow any changes to be made. On the contrary, agile actually encourages adding new requirements because people always come up with new and interesting ideas during work. However, with timescales being fixed, some initial requirements must be neglected in order to stay on the right time-track.
  • Delivery: As you already noticed, gradual but frequent delivery is essential for the agile project management software. This way, projects are usually much shorter, with incremental delivery and a number of smaller goals to be achieved.

With such features, it is no wonder that the Software Advice studies revealed that this kind of methodology increases efficiency through scrum boards and activity streams in 88% of the projects.

So let us check out the most popular agile software solutions!

MOST COMMON AGILE PM TOOLS

  • JIRA

JIRA is the most popular agile solution worldwide, with millions of consumers who use it to plan, track, and achieve projects and missions.

It offers flexible Scrum and Kanban boards, and the real-time reporting. Its sidebar presents every information of the development lifecycle – planning, tracking, releasing, and reporting.

Planning solutions are customizable in order to fit each team, regardless of the shape and size. You can create stories and tasks from almost every screen in JIRA software, and then organize them in epics and sprints by dragging and dropping them into your backlog.

With options for sorting, filtering, and color coding, you can create a backlog that’s easy for your team to prioritize and work through.

Set up the sprint and follow the realization through Agile Board, while the software helps you to conduct retrospective. A1QA Manager, Ekaterina Bazyleva, claims that JIRA may look scary at first and too complicated to deal with, but it will take you only a couple of days to learn its settings and customize it to your needs.

  • Trello

Trello is a card-based PM cloud tool with user-friendly interface. This software’s card board makes it easy to quickly see the status of multiple tasks almost instantly.

Within each card you can create checklists, post comments and assign due dates. Trello has a dashboard where you can organize all of your card boards by project. Once you pick a project, you’ll enter the board interface, which is composed of lists that represent a workflow of silos for ideas or documents.

Each list has cards assigned to it, and each card signifies a task; clicking on a card opens an interface with card functions where you can add checklists, due dates, upload documents, or assign labels.

Although it doesn’t offer quite the same amount of features as JIRA, Trello is much simpler and more suitable for undemanding users.

  • Pivotal Tracker

Pivotal Tracker is a very useful PM software that provides teams with simple visual support, boosting collaboration and making sure that everyone stays nimble in case circumstances have changed.

It manages multiple projects, creates plain plans and charts, allows instant communication among coworkers, and has many other useful features.

It is rather simple to understand once you get to see its standard glossary, as well as numerous integration possibilities. It can be a bit difficult to customize, but all in all Pivotal Tracker is a really helpful PM tool and mostly for web and mobile developers.

  • Wrike

Wrike is an excellent software for group work improvement. It helps project managers to centralize the work process despite the large number of parties involved, all in real time.

That’s why, for instance, Google uses Wrike as its own PM tool. It allows you to get the job done through only one hub because navigation elements are very simple and intuitive.

This agile model consists of a three-frame layout, with the middle frame presenting all project information at once. The right frame gives you an overview of all task details, while the left pane reveals the project structure, which is very convenient if you need to jump from one stage to another every once in a while.

You can use Wrike as a mobile app, meaning that the software will be available any time you need to check the progress of a certain project stage.

  • Asana

Asana is one of the most popular agile PM tools, and it really encourages all members of the team to practice mutual cooperation and communication.

It enables users to launch all sorts of projects, but also to divide them into specific increments that you can monitor from various devices. Asana provides you with a complete communication framework and you don’t need to use other messenger solutions to keep in touch with coworkers.

Additionally, Asana registers all project changes and developments, in order to deliver push notifications to team members instantly.

However, it doesn’t send every little detail to everyone, only the most notable information, which directly leads to new project duties. Furthermore, this software is compatible with the vast majority of global systems, such as WordPress or Dropbox.

  • Freedcamp

Freedcamp is a very simple and user-friendly agile PM solution. With a convenient dashboard, it will take you no time at all to review the current status of your project.

It offers Kanban cards, easy file managing options, as well as the clear scheme of duties specified in a calendar. Milestones are determined for each stage of the project, while users contribute to milestones with their own specific tasks.

All this is designed to be transparent and obvious to each team member, so potential mistakes and misunderstandings are reduced to a minimum.

Freedcamp is not very compatible with most international systems, but it is still very useful and widespread due to its simplicity.

  • Taiga

Taiga is a project management app intended dominantly for somewhat smaller crews of up to 50 developers, designers, and engineers.

Its deployments are compatible with most operating systems, and the software offers task management according to mission priorities, due dates, milestones, etc.

This PM tool is very intuitive and you will barely need any time to get used to it. Your projects will remain public if you want to use a free version of Taiga, while the paid platform enables private projects.

  • FogBugz

Just like its name suggests, FogBugz is one of the best agile solutions when it comes to bug tracking.

It helps teams deal with development issues more effectively in a centralized manner, so everyone is well aware of current problems.

It catches bugs with the BugzScout web browser, which enables you to react promptly and solve the issue.

FogBugz is also widely acknowledged for its search engine power, which makes it easy to find the necessary documents, articles or other desired items. However, it doesn’t really have the best user interface, especially for mobile devices.

CONCLUSION

Agile project management tools can boost productivity and teamwork, and make it easier to track time and goals within projects.

According to the PMI report, agile organizations were able to grow revenue 37% faster and generate 30% higher profits compared to non-agile companies. Using visualization, collaboration, and precise timescales, agile PM software is the foundation of contemporary project management.

While there are many agile tools on the market, we have given you an overview of the most common solutions. If you try out some of these agile tools, don’t hesitate to share your experience with us, or make valuable comments!

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About the Author Emilia Marius

By Emilia Marius, a senior business analyst with 8+ years of experience. She focuses on IT solutions for banking, retail, ecommerce and has applied her skills to such projects as a sales analysis system for a retail company, mobile payment solution for an e-shop, online analytical system for a bank and more.

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