Agile project management software has similar features to the PM tools that you would expect (time tracking tools, task management features, project reporting). However agile PM software delivers them in feature sets for agile work: Kanban boards or swimlanes, burndown charts, real-time collaboration, and messaging features, story points management, etc.
Agile project management tools are software designed to support and bolster agile ways of working. Agile tools support project planning through robust goal development and task prioritization that aligns to these overall project goals.
These features are meant to enable agile teams to have better sprint planning, real-time change management, and high impact team collaboration.
Further reading: What Are Agile Project Management Tools?
To help you work to an agile approach, I’ve compiled a list of the best agile project management software for you to evaluate and compare.
Agile PM Software FAQ
The gist of agile basically is that “every project must be aligned to clearly defined business goals and must focus on the early delivery of products that provide real added value to the business organization,” according to Henny Portman in their article on agile methodologies.
Agile development can use one of 50+ known agile approaches and frameworks, including the very popular Scrum, its cousin Kanban, or other practices like Extreme Programming (XP), and Feature Driven Development (FDD).
Agile frameworks are adapted and hybridized—there’s no one right way to be agile. Whatever version you follow, you’re working with the basic principles laid out in the agile manifesto, focusing on communication, collaboration, self-organization, and responding quickly to new information.
Before agile project management, development teams were often beholden to rigid, hierarchical practices with “permission gates” between phases. It was a slow, lumbering process that featured long development cycles and no way to adapt to big changes in scope, budget, or resources. Agile management is the exact opposite.
The agile development process is all about communication, collaboration, and being able to react at whiplash speed to new information and goals. Agile software development ensures that every action is taken and resource spent contributes to predefined business goals, KPIs, and/or provides some sort of ROI. That way, no money or effort feels wasted as the team struggles to navigate an uncertain roadmap.
Running agile projects means moving quickly, being flexible, and reiterating on work using feedback cycles. By prioritizing communication and collaboration, every team member can be sure that they are spending their time on tasks that contribute directly to a set of overarching goals.
Agile PM can be adapted to A) develop a new product from scratch, or B) perform ongoing improvement of already-finished products. Iteration and evolution are key for an agile development cycle, meaning that you can expect multiple iterations and much end-user feedback and product testing. Really, anyone can follow agile development—not just software teams. After all, who doesn’t like being fast and flexible in their work?
Yes, there are plenty of free agile project management software, or freemium (a free forever plan with limited features or users). For example:
Even if you start using agile PM software for free, you should check out their paid plans to make sure you’re on board with them, as you might grow into those paid plans down the road.
What do I look for when I select the best agile project management software? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Is the tool UI-optimized for Android and iPhone mobile devices?
- Usability: Agile project management software is usually for evolving, dynamic teams who work at a fast pace. To rank well in terms of usability, the software should be easy to learn, easy to integrate with other tools, and easy to use in real-time for quick collaboration. Does the tool have usability bonuses like a project wiki or drag-and-drop organization?
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations? Does it integrate with agile-oriented integrations for collaboration (like Slack, Teamwork Chat, or Google Docs); continuous adaptation tools, like bug tracking (Zoho Bug Tracker, DebugMe); and customer satisfaction tools (Qualtrics Customer XM, Hively)?
- Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? Typical agile project management software ranges from $10 to $25 per month or per user; do these tools fall along that expected curve? How many users and projects are included in the price? Is scaling easy?
Key Features Of Agile Project Management Software
The best agile project management software will have all or most of these features:
- Roadmap Maintenance & Backlog Grooming: Agile PM is a constant flow of adaptation and evolution, which means constantly having to rethink important planning items like roadmaps and backlogs. Does the tools have anything in the way of product backlog management and roadmap revision and tracking?
- Use Case Document Template: Does the tool have built-in structures to help with Use Case summaries? Is there a place to store use case descriptions and information, like from interviews with SMEs and market research?
- Discovery Tracks & Delivery Tracks: Can the tool easily separate and prioritize fantabulous new ideas/planning vs critical delivery items?
- Team Velocity Gamification: Does the tool somehow encourage and reward speed? Agile means reacting fast to ongoing twists and turns, so the tool should have some way to ensure this is happening reliably—even if it’s just a really cool way of putting alerts in front of the right people quickly.
- Sprint Review Reports: After an agile sprint, does the tool have the capacity to provide critical feedback needed for any sprint review meetings?
Overviews Of The 10 Best Agile Project Management Software
Here’s a brief description of each of the software for agile project management on my list showing what it does best, plus screenshots to showcase some of the features.
Other Software for Agile Project Management Options
Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list.
- Atlassian JIRA – Best large scale agile project management software
- GitHub – Best open source agile project management software
- Microsoft Projects – Best agile PM software for users already in the MS ecosystem
- Perforce – Best version control & version source code
- Workfront – Best to handle demand management with automated workflows
- ActiveCollab – Best ease-of-use & low learning curve
- SpringGround – Best for bug and issue tracking
- TargetProcess – Best for SAFe & LeSS frameworks for lean teams
What Do You Think About This Agile Project Management Tools List?
What agile project management software do you use—are you looking to switch it up anytime soon or are you happy with what you have?
Is there any software for agile project management that you would add to this list? What do you think the best agile project management software is?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
Be sure to subscribe to The Digital Project Management newsletter so that you get updates on our latest how-to guides, articles, and podcasts for people who manage digital teams and projects.