Revised slightly: 6/19/2021
A course attendee asked about Scrum tools.
First, in the Agile manifesto it says, “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools.” Naturally, being geeks, the first thing we want to talk about in or after the course is [drumroll…] tools. We have to have a sense of humor about this.
First, I recommend that people learn Scrum best (for the first six Sprints or so) using magnetic stickpins and cards on a magnetic whiteboard. Or something similar — with maybe an Excel sheet to do some math. Keep it very simple.
I have an Excel spreadsheet I give away. You can find a link to it at the bottom of this page. (BTW, there are many other resources on that page.) Pretty darn simple XLS. For example, it creates a graph for the burndown chart.
Then, if you are distributed, you likely need a “bigger” tool.
The last thing to do is scale, and often one team is more productive than 100 people. But many of you will scale anyway, so you need a more robust tool if you scale (one meaning: multiple teams on the same effort).
Here are some tools:
- The two best known are Rally and VersionOne.
- Jeff Sutherland has mentioned PivotalTracker for some applications.
- I hear many good things about Jira. Jira is a bug/issue tracker and has been extended over many years to support Agile – Scrum.
- TFS has become Azure Dev/Ops. The Microsoft agile teams and others have driven some good evolution. See: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/devops/boards/?view=azure-devops
- I like PlanBox.
Advice: All of these products (and many more) are changing all the time. None are perfect. Perfection to me would start to arrive if the tool could project “virtual” cards on a glass wall that one could touch and move on a visual Scrum board just like 4-by-6 index cards. Some are getting very close to that.
Let me also suggest that tools are discussed frequently on in various Scrum discussion groups. You might want to check them.
Usually the best tool is the one you know how to use. So, ask in your Team (or your company) if you have an expert, and that support capability probably gives your choice.
Last advice: Don’t worry so much about finding “the best” Scrum tool. The tool will not write code and will not make the team more creative. Spend more time doing Scrum (and your work) and less time “tooling up.”
I seriously doubt if a Scrum tool is your biggest impediment. In any case, don’t let it be an impediment you work on for very long.
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