Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Agile Project Management Tools - Mingle, Rally, or...?

I previously posted on comparing different agile project management tools: Mingle, ScrumWorks and an Excel file with dates, hours and a burn down chart. After hearing several agile consultants at Code Camp, I thought I should pass on their (better?) response. 

The question on a tool recommendation came from an audience member who said they had been using Rally, and end the end required one person full time just to manage the tool and data. KenKolcheir, who works for ThoughtWorks, obviously recommended Mingle, with a laugh, but I heartily agree it is a great, easy to use tool. Denise Phillips recommended VersionOne.

But the consensus from all the panelists was to keep it as simple as you can. If you can get by with cards on Post-Its stuck to a wall, do it. Also, this method provides a ready "information radiator" that helps visibility, communication and focus for those nearby or come and go interacting with the team. If you choose to use a the tools from ThoughtWorks, Rally, VersionOne, or Microsoft's Team System 2008, it would be very helpful to have a large monitor or fatscreen on the wall with your cards or a dashboard (with burndown, etc) as the information radiator.

I tried Post-Its, but switched to Mingle so our CEO could access the product and sprint backlogs from his computer and be more directly involved. This is what we needed and has been a key to the success of the organization really getting behind scrum.


PM Hut said...

I've never heard of Rally before. Just checked them right now and they really look very professional.

djbuild said...

Mingle is a professional tool for agile management, but i can suggest you to try Caimito One Team. You can get a free trial at

Caimito One Team is a very helpful tool for agile. Try it an enjoy!

Systemes Agiles said...

> ... so our CEO could access the product and sprint backlogs from his computer and be more directly involved. [Sic]
being "more directly involved" is diplomatic talk to say he is not involved. Remember the pig and chicken : you don't get involved behind your desk upstairs...

Scott Dunn said...

Quick cautionary comment to PM Hut - I recently heard one agilist say that they have one guy who's full time job is to maintain the Rally system. It sounds good, but perhaps heavy.

- Thanks for the Caimito recommend, Deivi. It's certainly cheaper than Mingle, but not as mature. And doesn't have a group like Thoughtworks behind it. :-) Might be a valid option since we're cost contained right now.

- And I agree,Systemes Agiles, but I have not yet found a way to get him more involved. There's not really a Product Owner and I haven't been able to get through the political issues (who will be the _one_ person to 'own' the product).

Thanks for the comments - Scott

John May said...

I would question the issue on Rally. Rally is designed to lessen the burden but provide great flow for teams, projects and programs. Rally has won the last three JOLT awards as best in class.

Rally offers a free 10 user edition on its website and has loads of free whitepapers and support to get you successful.

Check them out before dismissing them.

elon said...

What a great post, I actually found it very thought provoking, thanks
Human Resource Software