There was a time in the 1990s when Software developers and managers used to follow the SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle methodology. With many innovations happening in the middle, it was not until 2001, when a small group of software industry leaders met in Snowbird, UT to discuss the new methodologies of Software Development. This was when they coined the term agile software development to represent the kind of development methodology where developers can take a flexible approach towards software development to create only what the customer needs at a given point in time. And since then, within a couple of years, product-based software companies started building and selling many agile project management tools.
In the earlier models of software development, managers used to make fixed schedules with static deliverables that made the developers confined into the limited workspace. Developers always need free space and freedom to design their schedules to come up with creative ideas on their development assignments. Agile project management allows exactly that and hence has been caught off by many software companies. Companies, after realizing more productivity through this methodology, started using it more and more for software development. So let us understand what is agile project management?
What is agile project management?
The literal meaning of the word agile is to move quickly and easily. And the same meaning applies to the agile project management methodology. Basically, in this approach, managers divide the whole project into smaller and quickly achievable deliverables. And developers, while developing those smaller parts, make a sprint in their working to achieve those minute goals. Once they develop all smaller parts of the whole project, managers integrate them to finally deliver as a complete project.
The biggest benefit of following this approach is that it makes it easier for the clients, developers, and testers to make as many iterations of improvements on each of those parts. This way, they get more flexibility to build, improvise, and test each part of the project.
Programmers in agile models are freer to use their intuitive and improvisational ways of working, and that helps them deliver greater results.
Agile project management tools
Managers use many agile project management software available in the market that helps them prioritize tasks for the developers. And developers get more flexibility to self-manage their tasks and converge on their goals.
So, out of the best agile project management tools that are available in the online marketplace, we have brought you the top 5 that are making their mark in the world. In this article, we are going to examine them individually, and that would make it easier for you to choose which is the best one for you.
This is a relatively new agile project management tool available online, though it has survived in the SaaS market for more than five years to create its customer followings. Companies who use EmpMonitor have realized many benefits of project management right from analyzing their employees to enhancing their productivity.
This is a highly intelligent tool for you to gain a granular view of your employee’s working behavior. To start, you can install its agents on each of your employees’ workstations and keep the admin control to yourself. Then you must be having the list of programs or applications which your employees would normally use in their work routine. Out of those programs, you can tag, which are the ones that add up to productive usage by your employees and which are the ones that you can tag as non-productive applications.
Once you start executing this program on every employees’ workstation, it will show you the total productive and non-productive hours of your team. And guess what? Along with offline applications, you can also know their online behavior. EmpMonitor produces a comprehensive report for each employee as well as the whole team, which shows what websites they are visiting along with how much time they are spending on each of them.
And if you have a team in different locations, then it can give you those reports based on each location. You can also assign different names to various teams you are handling based on the actual departments’ names in your organization.
All in all, EmpMonitor is one of the smartest tools that can help you manage a team in a modern working setup.
This is another agile project management software designed by HP. This is a more technical tool that helps you organize the team and guide the development process while they are in the development phase. Apart from that, it also allows you to deploy the code in the system or production environment. Managers can make an advance plan at the beginning phase of the project, where they collect the user stories and decide how the team is going to implement solutions for each of them.
There is an option to track real-time progress of the project where the managers, scrum masters, or the developers themselves would record their current state of progress for each user story. They plot these readings on the charts on the dashboards, which are visible to the entire team so that everyone can know where the project progress is at a given point in time.
Active collab is more of a task management or scheduler than a productivity enhancement tool. But it is still one of the best options to implement an agile methodology for your organization. This allows you to list down all the tasks that you can assign to your team. Then you can track the time that your team is consuming for completing each of these tasks. You can integrate it with a calendar, and that makes it extremely easy to keep the project status up to date.
This software is most helpful for companies that maintain a billing cycle on an hourly basis with their clients. External consultants also use it widely for the very same reason. When you can track the actual time your team takes to complete the tasks, it gives you a clear picture of the accuracy they had during giving the estimates for the complete project.
This tool acts as an interface for all the software its host company Atlassian has developed. There is an extra benefit of adding a layer of agile project management with it. There is a tool called Confluence in this, which helps create a list of tasks that you can assign to different team members. Then there is a Kanban board, where the whole team can track the status of each task, and developers can update it regularly with real-time status.
This software is especially helpful in your sprint planning, where you can discuss the backlogs, check velocity, and adjust the amount of time you need to complete the tasks. It is quite compatible with other Jira software and helps in version control and re-prioritizing the backlog tasks. It has a list of reports that you can produce for a better analysis of your project. There is a special feature of retrospective reports that help you fetch learnings from what you did in the previous tasks and how you can improve upon them.
This is mostly an enterprise agile management software. Companies mostly prefer VersionOne for collaborating between large teams in their organizational structures. That means it is easy to scale when you are expanding your team in software development. Even though it spans across all the levels in the team, every member of all the teams can have visibility to the insights it offers at various levels that can help them in decision making. You can also engage with different team members in your organization through this tool.
VersionOne is compatible with Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, and XP, which makes it easier to plan different projects while tracking them at the same time. Its comprehensive reports that include all teams, programs, and software are easily accessible to every team member. Along with these features, it also allows you to track iterations and different releases you have made for your projects.
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While there are myriads of agile project management tools available in the market, out of these top 5 also, there are different reasons for you to choose which one is the best. It mostly depends on your working environment. And based on that you must make the right choice. If you are running light on the technical environment and want to just keep a check on the productivity of your team at a holistic level, then EmpMonitor is no doubt the best choice you can make.
While for the highly technical environment where you need to track changes to the levels of code and keep a check on the version controls, then you have many other options available right from Jira to VersionOne that I have mentioned above.
The basic philosophy of agile project management is to keep it light and easy. Hence, you mustn’t get stuck with a highly complicated tool that, in turn, consumes a lot of time and energy of yours, which is exactly the opposite of what this methodology offers.