In the last 10 years, we have seen a rapid evolution in technology tools for software development. The shift to open source tools has created hundreds of new tools for nearly every facet, from development to management.
Some of these tools promise to meet the critical needs of Agile implementations. Even though, according to DataAnalysis.org, none of these tools are required to have a successful Agile Implementation.
However, just like my home projects, having the right tool at the right time makes life a lot smoother. The key to success is selecting the right tools. We need a blend of flexibility and organization – a set of tools that manages the project and organize the team’s sprints/ releases.
1. Project Management Tools
Let’s take a look at Project Management. Most Agile implementations leverage a Kanban board. The Kanban boards become the center of everyone's focus in planning how to attack the code. One example of a Project Management tool with a Kanban board is JIRA Agile. The JIRA Agile tool adds a layer for agile project management that can integrate with several other platforms. The team creates a list of project tasks with a tool called Confluence and then tracks them on an interactive Kanban board that developers can update as they work.
2. Collaboration Tools
Collaboration is one of the next major areas of a well-functioning Agile team. From open source to paid, several tools offer collaboration. Microsoft Teams offers some of the functionality with that platform. Other tools with Microsoft’s ecosystem like Planner can also track individual tasks. There are other more Agile focused tools like Active Collab, which is more dedicated to task and time management.
3. Continuous Integration Tools
Continuous integration tools aren't explicitly designed to support agile development, but just like any home project you always need a screwdriver. CI tools automatically add a layer of processing when code is committed, helping to ensure that the team is working smoothly together. These tools allow organizations to create Pipelines, create build management, and automate tests that ensure the software is performing correctly after all the new code is added.
Agile Tools – Key Takeaways:
- Tools are incredibly important for management, collaboration, and automating activities. Understanding how your organization can leverage those is based on everyone’s buy in to use those tools.
- Data Data Data – tools and technology are only as good as the data we put into them. Be sure to create reports from the beginning so you can see all the metrics you are looking for. This can be at the individual sprint level all the way up to managing your goals for the year.
- Open source versus paid tools – there are several options out there and sometimes it makes sense to pay for a tool. That upfront cost can save hundreds of hours if your organization is not equipped with the skills needed. Learn more with our post on open source versus commercial tools.
What are the Right Tools for Agile Implementations for Your Organization?
If you would like some feedback on the right blend of tools for your organization we would love to help!
Michael Faulise is the Founder and Managing Partner at tap|QA, a global company that specializes in software testing services and solutions for businesses. Michael focuses on sales and delivery where he consults with clients in the areas of software development, automation, quality assurance and testing, technology and process training, and process improvement. In 25+ years of industry experience, he has seen software development evolve along multiple paths of various methodologies but has found quality has remained essentially constant.
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