Tools for working with Scrum

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Here at the company where I work, we participate in an internal project with a team of 8 people. After attending a lecture on Scrum, we decided to adopt some agile practices in our development team.

We were very excited about the methodology, however, the physical space where we work does not allow the main tools Scrum suggests (whiteboard, pen, paper and post-it). As a disclaimer, our team has not fully adopted Scrum, our idea is to incrementally adopt some practices so we can improve the way we develop software. This post is a result of researching I did to find to support our team work. Let's take a look at the tools.

Scrumy
We will start with a tool that stands for simplicity and ease of use, and I'm a fan of simplicity.

To create a project in Scrumy just type the url in your browser: scrumy.com/<project_name> and you will have created your space. Furthermore, the tool provides creation of user stories and follow them through the taskboard. There is also a version called Scrumy Pro that allows you to coordinate multiple sprints and multiple backlogs, and provide burndown charts.

Pango Scrum
Like Scrumy, Pango Scrum is also an online tool, but much more complete. Assists in almost all major activities such as Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, appointment scheduling and planning sprints. The tool does not provide the functionality to create the taskboard because they insist that this should really be done on the basis of paper and post it. Pango Scrum is free and like many Web 2.0 tools, is "in beta."

Mingle
This is perhaps the best of the tools listed here are, after all, was created by the company of one of the greatest evangelists of agile methodologies, Martin Fowler.

This tool has everything you can expect from a good tool for Scrum, and even better, all well implemented and with a visible usability from first contact. In addition to the expected features, the tool provides an integrated wiki, email alerts, RSS feeds and more. However, as one might expect for a tool that level, it is paid and according the price list, not cheap.

Scrum Works Pro

This is a tool very famous the web. It has two versions, Basic (free) and Pro (paid). Unlike the above tools, this tool works offline and needs to be installed. ScrumWorks, once installed, consists of two programs, a server and a client. The server is used by the Scrum Master, is the place where you did all the planning tasks of Scrum. The client portion is for team members so they can get the tasks updates.

It seems to be a very good tool, though lacking a more intuitive interface as the other tools already mentioned. The advantage of this tool is that it seems to have a very interesting level of customization for teams that are continually improving their development process.

Ice Scrum

The last tool is the one that is open source software. IceScrum is version 2. It's a very complete tool that has all the features I've mentioned in this post as Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, release planning, features for all Scrum roles, aid planning poker, many charts and more.

The tool appears to have been very well implemented and seems to be constantly evolving. It is given to anyone who is interested in a tool without acquisition costs and that can add a lot of value to your team development process.

In conclusion...

I really enjoyed all the tools described above, from the simplest to the most complete. I'll try to test them again, specially IceScrum and Scrumy.

I hope I have helped someone like me, has always sought to improve the performance of your team when it comes to developing better software. As always, comments are open for questions, comments, new suggestions and what else you want to put there.

Update: August, 18 2011

Scrum Half

This tool deserves an honorable mention as it is the only tool that is gaining brazilian national market in the area of agile development. Not had chance to test it yet, but at first glance seems to be a very good tool.

Scrum Half was developed by GPE, a Brazilian company focused on agile project management. One of the advantages realized in the tool, besides the most obvious is that the language is the fact of being online and thus does not require installation. It is worthwhile taking a look for those interested, the tool is free to use for up to 3 people, more than that, it has a price that can be found here.

Essa ferramenta merece uma menção honrosa, pois é a única ferramenta nacional que está ganhando mercado na área de desenvolvimento ágil. Não tive oportunidade de testá-la ainda, mas à primeira vista parece ser uma ferramenta muito boa.

Stack Overflow: Best Scrum Tools http://stackoverflow.com/questions/35760/best-scrum-tools

All Product Backlog and User Story Management Tools for Agile and Scrum Projects http://www.userstories.com/products

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