Agile tools: Adapt or perish
December 1, 2010 —
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Related Search Term(s): agile
Aldon, an additional ALM solution provider, recently added a number of templates to its Community Manager Integrated Service desk for IT Services Management solution. Soon, the company will release a free, community-built agile project management tool called Aldon Agile Manager that will allow users to create and manage a backlog of stories.
Does one size fit all?
Solution providers are divided about whether the various agile methodologies are better supported by a single agnostic tool or tools designed specifically for Scrum or Kanban, for example.
Rally acquired AgileZen earlier this year, which is a project collaboration tool that provides a Web-based Kanban board for visualizing and tracking work as it flows through various stages of a process.
“With Scrum, you care about time boxes, iterations and releases," said Olsen. "You have iterations and then assign stories and work through iterations. You also need reports like burn-down charts. Kanban is about visualizing work. Instead of time limits, you have work in progress limits, and instead of time boxes, you need cycle reports.”
He also acknowledged that there are common traits among the various flavors of agile, like requirements planning and decomposing larger items into smaller items.
Robert Holler, president and CEO of VersionOne, said Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) camps have been adopting each others’ practices while Kanban, Scrum and XP all involve retrospectives and iteration planning.
“Eighty percent [of agile] has normalized,” he said. “The nuances are in the terminology, like ‘story’ versus ‘feature’ or ‘backlog item.' ”
Another nuance is data presentation. VersionOne adapts by asking users which methodology they are using, and then superimposing a customizable template such as a list view for Scrum or a board view for Kanban.
Some, including Dan Magid, chief product strategist at Aldon, said that because there are so many commonalities among the different flavors of agile, specific solutions are unnecessary, particularly if the solutions can adapt to the methodologies of choice and provide the right perspective.
“Generally, you need the ability to track work, set boundaries and define what you’re doing over time,” said ThoughtWorks' Wathington.