What are the Tools in Agile Projects?

There are many different types of Agile tools out there. Some are free, some are paid. There are many enterprise tools that support end-to-end flow of software development life cycle including requirements management, test management, defect tracking. In addition, these tools also provide task boards for distributed teams, burndown charts and creating user stories.

There are few tools in which we can uploaded test cases and tag to user story, some tools also provide plugin for defect tracking tools like ClearQuest. The Configuration management tools are also very much important to manage versions between all levels of automated tests and their artifacts

Some of the tools mentioned in the following subsections may be picked up by teams for collaboration and information sharing.

Task Management and Tracking Tools

For collocated Agile teams it is good to use to task board along with white boards to manage their day to day tasks. For distributed team, using software development life cycle tool may be used.

These tools serve the following purposes:

  •  Agile Project Management managing requirements to stories accepted
  • Iteration and Sprint management
  • Write stories and their prioritization for the team and PO
  • Role based permissions for every persona of the user in Rally
  • Captures team estimates and projects the velocity trends
  • Team and multiple team release planning
  • Generate nice visual reports, charts, dash boards and custom reports
  • Integration of third party tools like clearquest etc for tracking number of test cases, check-ins, automated updates etc.
  • Provides development and test sandboxes to experiment something new always.

Examples of Agile tools are Rally, Version One, Jira,

Communication and Information Sharing Tools

In addition to writing emails and verbal communication, agile teams have 3 types of support communication for information sharing; wikis, instant messaging, and desktop sharing.

Wikis are great way of building online knowledge and frequently referred information, including the following:

  • A wiki can be a great way to plan and manage a project, from conception to completion. Assign tasks, make a timeline, add notes, paste images and other media
  • Wiki’s are used to create a checklist so that we never forget anything, and it’s done right every time.
  • Wiki may also be used to log client work.; either hours spent on a project or number of projects completed
  • Teams working on Web application take take notes, pull snippets from pages, save images all the time and yet it can be hard to keep track of all of them. Keep them all in one place on a wiki for easy access when you need them.
  • If we get a lot of questions about work, or product, keep an ever-growing FAQ on Wiki to prevent having to repeat your answers too many times.

Instant messaging, audio calls, and video chat tools provide the following benefits:

  • Allow real time face-to-face communication between team members, especially useful for distributed teams
  • Involve distributed teams for all scrum ceremonies
  • Low cost due to VOIP technology.

Desktop sharing and screen sharing tools help team members in providing the following:

  •  In distributed teams, the team members can pair up every day to do pair programming, code reviews, conducting demo and exercises.
  • Capturing lessons learnt and retrospectives at the end of every sprint to improve continuously.

These tools should be used to complement and extend, not replace face-to-face communication in Agile teams.