An integral part of every successful software product release is the competent organization of the workflow. As follows from the Capterra report, developers named lack of competent communication and coordination as one of the main obstacles to productive work. That’s why it is so important to keep project management well-organized as well as use special tools designed to help and optimize the solution of possible problems.
Why should startups choose Agile methodology?
One of the project management noticeable features is its diversity. It is impossible to single out the ideal project management tool suitable for any type of project and for any project team. That is why several different effective methods were developed, among which some of the most popular can be distinguished:
We will not delve into the features of each of the approaches above. We will only say that for the development of startups, a methodology focused on flexibility and quick changes, namely Agile, is excellent. In particular, Agile is suitable if:
- the client wants to implement the project, but is not completely sure what the final result will be, however, a working version is needed in the nearest future;
- project requirements will be changed/added throughout the project development;
- it is difficult to give an estimate for the implementation of a particular requirement, since most tasks are performed for the first time;
- the company wants to move away from micromanagement and delegate responsibility for the result to individual cross-functional teams.
At the same time, the use of good Agile management tools allows managers to organize their work even better, and give the client a clear picture of how the team copes with the tasks set and assess the degree of product readiness by the end of the next sprint/iteration. The most popular and convenient solution that allows you to implement all of the above tasks is the use of task managers. Now on the market there are a huge number of task managers, each having its own strengths and weaknesses. It is worth noting that a number of popular Agile project management tools can be used with Waterfall, however, today we will focus on the solutions that are best suited specifically for flexible methodologies.
You can learn more about Agile methodology and 7 deadly sins of project management (and then you can get the project managers to confess) from this beautiful hour-long lecture. Watch it! Sometimes. Later. And we'll rather move on to tools that help optimize the workflow.
ProofHub is another great project management tool. Its main distinguishing features are a simple and convenient interface, the ability to quickly get started, and the presence of several pricing models to choose from.
At the same time, the simple interface is combined with quite powerful functionality. This software has the ability to form tasks, steps, schedules, discussions, share files, perform online checks, set up group chats, create reports, Gantt charts and much more.
It also worth mentioning that the company offers Free, Essential, and Ultimate Control pricing models. Even though, the free trial period lasts only 30 days, this is more than enough to “touch” the software and decide whether it suits your business needs. A great solution for small teams.
Initially, Jira was developed as a bug tracker, that is, a system for controlling errors in program code. But a lot of companies use it as an Agile project management tool. Among Jira's benefits are integration with other tools and advanced custom filters. The developers love this Agile project management tool for the ability to see at any time the project processes on the required scale. The possibilities of Jira can be significantly expanded with plug-ins and add-ons; currently there are more than 600 of them. Jira also has a large user community and there is support for various languages.
At the same time, many Jira features are only available through integration with other services. Moreover, Jira is suitable primarily for teams using Agile and Kanban methodologies. Also, users note insufficiently informative backlog and tools for sprint management, lack of burndown charts and informative reporting.
Today, Slack is in fact the standard for corporate correspondence. The speed of its distribution is amazing, on the first day of testing 8 thousand companies registered in the messenger. According to the company statistics, 1.1 million users use Slack daily. Slack has become the fastest growing business application in history.
With the help of this messenger, employees can be organized in groups, start threads under each important post, conduct group calls and store personal ideas in a private chat. The messenger took the best from its predecessors such as IRC and Jabber.
A huge plus of the messenger is the maximum number of integrations with third-party services. Minimalism of the interface requires minimal knowledge of a foreign language for full-fledged work. Also in Slack there are a large variety of bots available to help with various tasks.
The main disadvantage of Slack is the limited storage of chat history on the free version (search on the last 10,000 messages, 10 integrations and 5 GB of server space per team).
A cloud-based Agile project management service that helps you plan, prioritize tasks, build Gantt charts and distribute workloads. You can also duplicate tasks so you don’t have to re-create them. This service for agile projects is often used to establish the production of content. Wrike helps you work with files in real time and has an impressive visualization, as well as controls time and budget, gives reports. The workflow itself is divided into categories, projects, tasks and subtasks. A discussion is tied to the tasks. The add-on to Outlook and Apple Mail allows you to create tasks directly from emails.
Convenient navigation and customizable design are the unique advantages of this solution. Also there is a web client, a mobile, and desktop applications. It is also worth noticing a large number of third-party integrations.
At the same time, a full set of functions for large teams will cost you a fortune. Up to five users - for free, then - paid tariffs, the price depends on the features that you want to add.
Gitlab is a web service for working with git version control system. You can use gitlab directly on gitlab.com as a SaaS service by registering an account. You can also install Gitlab on your server and use it as you wish.
First of all, Gitlab is a tool for developers. It provides management of private and public git repositories, management of users, groups and access rights, code analysis, error tracking, deploy and other useful functions.
However, other functionality is also implemented in Gitlab, such as API, wiki pages, project comments, change tracking, idea and task boards, and more. All the features are listed in detail in the corresponding section on the official website of the project. GitLab is popular among project managers as it provides convenient management of Agile and Lean projects and also has a wide range of functions - from basic problem tracking to Kanban style management.
6. Rally Software
Rally Software is a project management tool for Agile and Lean methodologies aimed to help enterprises develop software more efficiently. With an emphasis on Agile methodology, this task tracker helps enterprises of all sizes to gradually implement good practices that shorten development cycles and improve collaboration in distributed teams.
Influenced by Agile and Lean principles, Rally developers implemented an Agile portfolio management solution that allows you to stay connected and collaborate with interested parties to clarify new ideas, prioritize work according to its importance and support strategic planning, redistribute development resources to maximize portfolio growth.
Among the key advantages of Rally are:
- prioritization of tasks with emphasis on profit;
- development planning taking into account investment plans;
- assessment of development status from a business point of view;
- realistic roadmap;
- base management.
BitBucket is a web service for hosting projects and their joint development, based on the Mercurial and Git version control system. In terms of purpose and the main functions offered, it is similar to GitHub and Gitlab, which differs on the one hand by a smaller user base, and on the other, has certain advantages in terms of hosting non-public repositories - the possibility of free hosting with a team size of no more than five people and less rental board with a larger team size, as well as management of access rights at the level of individual branches of the project. The service was developed by Atlassian, which is known for its products for joint development, in particular the already mentioned Jira and Confluence. The service supports Git and Mercurial VCS (written in Python and uses the Django web framework). Available for Mac, Windows and Android through the application.
Among the features of BitBucket are the following:
- built-in discussions;
- pull requests;
- ability to compare branches and commit history.
Pros of Using Bitbucket:
- Cost. Bitbucket provides an unlimited number of private repositories (up to 5 collaborators);
- Flexibility. BitBucket can import from Git, CodePlex, Google Code, HG, SourceForge and SVN. At the same time, GitHub is limited to Git, SVN, HG, and TFS;
- Smart semantic search. Little things can make all the difference. A BitBucket search scans the syntax to find definitions that match the query, not just variable names;
- Integration. BitBucket has integrations with HipChat, Trello, Bamboo, Jira, Slack, Zapier, Bitium, Flowdock.
Bitbucket is a great Agile project management service for version control and error handling, allowing you to integrate various tools and collaborate with teams. Thanks to this, the service is already used by such well-known companies as BBC Worldwide, Alibaba, AVG, Avast, Blackberry, and many others.
Do not forget that all of the above are just tools that are not capable of anything on their own. They acquire real value in conjunction with a good team. After all, the main thing in the successful implementation of the project is those who create it and the coherence of their work process.