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List of The 10 Best Agile Tools For Managing Projects

By 12/06/2019 15 Comments
 

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Agile is everyone’s favorite project management and delivery buzzword, but what agile tools can you use to help successfully run an agile project? In this agile tools comparison article, we’re going to explore some of our favorite agile development tools and platforms for managing agile projects.

Best Agile Project Management Tools List

Check out 10 of the best agile tools of 2020.

Below you’ll find an overview of these 10 best agile project management software, with screenshots, feature overview, pricing and our score.

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Agile Software Basics

What Is Agile Methodology?

What Is Agile Methodology?

Agile isn’t actually a methodology at all, but a set of principles for developing software. The principles of agile are:

    1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
    3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    4. Responding to change over following a plan

Agile is often compared to Waterfall, a methodology that requires upfront requirements gathering and completes work in sequential phases.

Read more about Agile in our post on project management methodologies.

What Is Scrum Methodology?

What Is Scrum Methodology?

Scrum is a methodology with a set of principles and a process to improve delivery. In software development, Scrum is one of the most popular frameworks applying the principles of agile. It includes a set of Scrum ceremonies and roles to support the process. The goal is to improve communication, teamwork and speed of development. Sprints, Scrums (or stand-up meetings), Retrospectives, backlogs and burndowns are all parts of Scrum.

Read more about Scrum in our post on project management methodologies.

What Are Agile Tools?

What Are Agile Tools?

Agile tools are project management tools designed to support an agile methodology, whether it’s Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, or other hybrid agile methods.

Managing agile projects can be tough, so niche tools for agile projects can be super helpful to help us manage the madness. While agile elevates the idea of self-organizing and self-managing teams in software development, within agencies, there’s arguably still a role for project managers in managing the project more holistically—and when budgets and deliverables are in play, managing the budget burn.

Agile project management software helps a project manager manage resources, budgets, and timelines on a project while also providing the project team with a mechanism for collaborating, sharing files, showing work in progress, and understanding their project status.

What Are The Tools Used In Agile Methodology?

What Are The Tools Used In Agile Methodology?

Tools used in agile methodology can be used in various ways depending on how you’re carrying out your agile-oriented approach. Your tools might include:

  • Backlogs: Prioritize and re-prioritize user stories and bugs with drag-and-drop backlog cards.
  • Kanban or Scrum boards: Visualize all the user stories with cards displaying the tasks, assignees, and statuses in a sprint.
  • Task swim lanes or columns: Separate epics, assignees, projects (etc) by moving drag-and-drop cards across lanes.
  • Workflows: Create custom workflows that update issues automatically based on specific events.
  • Sprints: Use the backlog to estimate stories and set sprint tasks and priorities for sprints.
  • Daily Scrums or Standups: Use the dashboard to get a snapshot of progress in order to prepare for Scrums or Standups.
  • Burndown chart: Manage progress by tracking the total work remaining in the sprint or epic.
  • Velocity chart: Track your team’s velocity and make accurate forecasts by tracking the amount of work completed in each sprint.
  • Agile software development tools: Development platforms like Jira, GitHub, and Linx.

Just realized that you’re looking for a different breed of agile tool? Have a look at these reviews:

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Criteria For Choosing Agile Tools

The best agile management tools supply the following most important elements for agile project management. I look at elements outside of their feature set, such as their user interface, their usability (how easy is it to learn?). I also evaluate how much value the tool offers for the price—how its price stacks up against other tools with similar features and functionality.

I looked for the following features in evaluating the best agile tools in this review:

  • Task management – Kanban or Scrum boards with projects, task lists and everything else that goes with it – from files and discussions to time records and expenses.
  • Backlog management tools – Features to vote on, label, prioritize and re-prioritize user stories and bugs.
  • User story tools – basic tools consist of cards on boards, which all online project management software offer. However, more comprehensive agile platforms include more user story tools such as dedicated boards for user story mapping and dedicated features for estimating user stories.
  • Team collaboration – Communicate updates with local and distributed teams, and share task lists, feedback, and assignments
  • Agile reporting & analytics – tools should, at the very least, offer an agile dashboard displaying common agile charts like burndown and velocity. More advanced agile reporting features include progress reports for stakeholders, team performance evaluation features, and financial reporting tools.

And finally, I check for integrations. I want to make sure the tool plays well with the right tools. In the case of agile tools, which are often used for developing software, I treat integrations with software development and issue management tools with higher priority. However, keep in mind teams in non-development environments won’t need this type of integration and would benefit more from integrations with other work apps like Slack, Google Apps, Adobe, etc.

The 10 Best Agile Tools Overviews

best project management agile tools

Everyone loves the idea of “being agile”, but how do you actually apply agile in your agency? And how do you make sure your toolset actually supports your intended processes and methods?

There are an incredible number of agile tool options. Perhaps too many. Everyone likes to manage their projects slightly differently so it’s important to try some tools to find what works for you.

Although there are dozens of great agile PM tools out there, here’s a detailed review the list of agile project management tools that have made it onto our list:

  • 14 days days trial
  • From $17/2 users/month

1. monday.com – Award-winning, visually intuitive tool for planning, tracking, and collaborating on work.

monday.com is a flexible tool that provides a structure that can easily be configured to suit teams working to agile and various hybrid methodologies. Because they’ve done away with some of the extra trimmings of typical PM tools, monday.com is a great choice for teams who want a simple, unobstructed focus on the work that needs to be done.

When using this tool, you put tasks on a board, and when you add in the steps you’ll need to take to get it done. It’s vaguely similar to a spreadsheet—but a much nicer-looking one that comes with multiple views (kanban board, Gantt-style charts, list views) alerts, notifications, assignees, automated processes, and a lot more. Other features include a customizable task boards for managing task status, assignee, due date, etc.

You can track your agile projects with monday.com’s project dashboards that collect data from multiple boards to easily see work in progress. You’ll also find easy file sharing and communication features such as mentions, comments, and hashtags.

Overall, this is an adaptable, easy-to-learn tool with a strong emphasis on customer service (the company’s customer support is available 24/7 by phone or email).

monday.com integrations include Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible via Zapier.

monday.com pricing starts at $17/month for two users.

  • 15 days free trial
  • From $12/12 users/month

2. Zoho Sprints – A simple and flexible sprint tracker and planning tool that helps agile teams stay ready to embrace change.

Zoho Sprints is an agile project management tool that aims to provide an iterative and collaborative approach to work. It can be used equally well by seasoned agile practitioners as well as by teams that are starting our their journey of agile transformation.

An intuitive backlog makes it easy to plan and prioritize work items that are in the format of user stories, tasks, and bugs. Scrumban teams can also set WIP limits, sort and view progress in swimlanes, and track sprint summary in a dashboard. Incomplete work items can be moved back to the backlog or moved across other active and upcoming sprints.

The Global View helps in tracking progress across all projects. Each project gets a project dashboard that provides project managers and Scrum masters a birds-eye view of project progress. Actionable insights from velocity charts, burnup and burndown reports, and cumulative flow diagrams help teams iterate their sprint planning.

Teams get live updates about all project activities with the project Feed. The Meetings module lets teams schedule sprint planning, review, and retrospective meetings. All users can log billable and non-billable hours while The Global timer can be used to start a timer for any work item. The timesheet reports provide a summary of log hours distributed across parameters like duration, sprint, work item type, and user.

Issues from JIRA can be imported using the built-in JIRA Import wizard. Software development teams can use built-in integrations with tools like GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket. There is also a Marketplace that has several pre-built extensions. You can also build and sell extensions as well.

Zoho Sprints offers a free trial for 15 days (no credit card required). Zoho Sprints has one paid plan starting at $12/12 users and every additional user costs $5, billed monthly.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $30/user/month

3. Clarizen – Fully-featured, flexible PM tool easily configured to support agile and hybrid methodologies.

Clarizen is an enterprise-grade professional service automation software solution, designed to speed up the way you do business – integrating work, content, and process tightly together to enable more efficient working. Clarizen’s real focus is making projects happen faster with timesaving workflows. Clarizen is a great project management tool if you have lots of repeatable projects that require repeatable processes as workflow automation is pretty flexible and powerful.

It covers off the PPM basics of task lists, schedules, docs and files, communications and reporting without breaking a sweat. Clarizen’s project planning tools are a powerful mix of functionality across the planning, executing and controlling of a project. Within planning are project workflows, a full-featured resource, schedule, and task planning tools, with project and portfolio optimization so that you can easily and quickly align projects to business objectives.

For project execution, Clarizen enables everyone on the team to be aligned with a dashboard that enables teams to work better together and see how their contribution fits into the bigger picture – from the project timeline and milestones to budget, project discussions, and sharing documents.

Instead of being obligated to make educated guesses, project managers can make accurate data-based decisions that align project selection and investment with big picture priorities. Changing tasks and schedules takes a few clicks, and project managers can run hypothetical scenarios to proactively see the impact of resource changes before they go live, and alert end users via their personal dashboard of any changes to their workload. Because resource scheduling is built-in, Clarizen delivers real-time insights into all available resources, schedules, and tasks.

Clarizen has some really powerful integration options out the box that is worth considering if you have other business-critical systems already in place. You can combine the power of Clarizen with other enterprise tools including Jira, SharePoint, Tableau, Salesforce, and Intaact, among others with a subscription to an App integration so you don’t have to play around with the API’s yourself. As well as the enterprise tool integrations possible, Clarizen has an App marketplace to add additional functionality into the system including helpful add-ons like active directory sync, Excel reporting integration, and priority automation – many of which are free.

Clarizen offers a free trial and costs from $60/user/month.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $15/user/month

4. Project Manager – Robust PM software with great real-time reporting features, used by leading brands.

The award-winning software ProjectManager.com is a well-rounded PM tool used by some big-name brands, including NASA and Ralph Lauren.

It’s not a pure-bred agile tool, but it offers a couple of flexible features that agile teams in various settings can take advantage of. For example, Kanban boards with real-time reports and collaboration features. You can attach files to cards, make comments, assign tasks, and check your real-time project stats in the dashboard view. For reporting, it doesn’t specifically have agile reports (for instance, a burndown chart). However, the real-time dashboard serves the same purpose—and you can set up your own custom reports in addition to pre-set reports on expenses, timesheets, team availability, workloads, tasks, and more.

One of the coolest things about this tool is that it lets you seamlessly switch between views. It’s a great tool for teams who have adopted some agile principles into a hybrid methodology because you can easily toggle between Gantt chart, task list, and Kanban board views, adapting the tool to what makes the most sense for the task at hand.

ProjectManager.com integrations include native integrations with GoogleApps like Drive, Gmail, Calendar, etc. as well as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project. For all other integrations, you can use Zapier to sync ProjectManager.com with other tools.

Pricing for ProjectManager.com starts at $15/user/month, with their basic “Personal” plan requiring a minimum of 5 users. They offer a 30-day free trial (a credit card is required to sign up for a free trial).

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $14/user/month

5. Smartsheet – An agile work execution platform with multiple task views including Kanban boards with lots of ways to customize your viewing and field preferences.

Smartsheet is an entire online project management suite, but in the suite, they also offer some customizable features for agile teams. You start by setting up a pre-built Kanban sheet template, to which you can import any existing kanban board data from Trello, Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project.

Smartsheet helps you organize projects, grids, calendars, dashboards, portals, forms and more all from a unified control center. They have pre-built Gantt chart templates with customizable fonts and colors, “% Complete” and “Assigned To” columns and more.

A useful feature of Smartsheet’s kanban tool is that you can switch between traditional, grid, Gantt, and calendar views, helping you to see tasks in different ways. It offers all the kanban essentials like attachments, custom fields, and searching for or filtering cards based on different criteria.

Smartsheet offers most of the integrations you’d need in a kanban tool: integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.

Smartsheet costs from $14/user/month and offers a 30-day trial.

  • Free plan with limited functionality
  • From $8.25/user/month

6. MeisterTask – beautifully designed, intuitive Kanban tool with a refreshing focus on simplicity.

MeisterTask is a beautifully designed and incredibly intuitive Kanban tool. Its Kanban boards can be customized to fit any workflow, from software sprints to sales funnels, and from editorial calendars to your company’s onboarding process. Teams can collaborate on one simple platform, where they can communicate, work together on tasks, and easily track the time they spend on them.

With MeisterTask, you can not only visualize processes but also automate them in various ways. Creating recurring tasks, adding predefined checklists, notifying stakeholders when a task is completed, or ensuring that tasks are assigned and tagged correctly when they are moved to a specific section — all of this can be done automatically. Larger teams will find MeisterTask’s sophisticated roles and permissions management as well as the insights gained through various statistics and reports particularly useful.

MeisterTask offers an extensive online help center, free webinars for new users, and fast email support in case you need to talk to a real person. However, thanks to MeisterTask’s focus on simplicity, even companies who are just getting started on their journey to digital organization are usually able to get productive within minutes after signing up.

MeisterTask integrates with the mind mapping app MindMeister where you can brainstorm and plan with a mind map and then export it onto a Kanban board. MeisterTask comes readily integrated with popular tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, GitHub, Zendesk, Harvest, and various email apps. In addition to these native integrations, you can use Zapier or IFTTT to connect your projects with hundreds of other tools.

MeisterTask costs from $8.25/user/month. They also offer a free plan with limited functionality.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $29/user/month

7. Ravetree – Robust platform with project, resource, time, expense, customer relationship, and asset management for agile orgs.

Ravetree is a full-featured Agile Work Management ® software platform that includes best-in-class Agile project management, resource planning, time expense tracking, digital asset management, and CRM.

Unlike other Agile project management tools that are built primarily for software teams, Ravetree is built for Agile organizations. This makes it especially well-suited for marketing & advertising, engineering, architecture, management consulting, legal accounting, higher education, non-profits, and government.

The Agile tools are built directly into Ravetree, without the need for 3rd party integrations or add-ons – including the ability to create Kanban and Scrum teams, epics and user stories, plan sprints, and story point sizing. Teams can easily communicate and collaborate, share files, view burndown charts and much more. Organizations that use Ravetree benefit from having a single source of truth from which they can optimize their operations and see the big picture.

One thing that sets Ravetree apart is the highly intuitive interface that allows everyone to easily find information, whether it’s project managers, executives, or team members. Ravetree also has a great support system, which has given them excellent customer support ratings.

Ravetree costs $29/user/month (with annual agreement — $39/user/month if paid month-to-month) and $20/user/month for non-profits.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $12.50/5 users/month

8. Pivotal Tracker – Simple tool for managing agile software development projects with 140+ prebuilt integrations

Pivotal Tracker is a very simple agile development tool that works well if you’re doing development Kanban style. This tool nails task management and help to manage projects, track velocity and predict for the future. It’s great for managing multiple projects with workspaces that enable you to clearly understand your priorities, view projects side-by-side and move stories across projects.

Pivotal Tracker has some great analytics and reporting that provide quick snapshots of the overall project health, with a birds-eye-view of how well your team’s performing with Burnup, Cumulative Flow, and Cycle Time reports and then drill down for a closer look at project health by iterations, epics, releases, and more.

Pivotal Tracker takes integrations seriously and has more than 140 extensions including GitHub, Slack, and Zendeck, to extend the functionality across productivity, project management, issue tracking, analytics, time tracking and more. They also have a well-documented API so you can integrate with pretty much whatever you want.

Pivotal Tracker is a free agile tool (for teams up to 3) but paid versions cost from $12.50/5 users/month.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $10/2 users/month

9. Nostromo – New, easy-to-learn PM tool with slick UI and features to support agile teams

Nostromo is the new kid on the block, an all-in-one project management tool for teams who work on digital projects. With features including task management, time administration, to-do’s, reporting and analytics, and design collaboration, it’s a well-rounded Kanban board tool – like Trello on steroids!

If you’re already using Trello and are ready for a more powerful task management Kanban tool with additional functionality around time tracking and reporting out the box, Nostromo could be a good choice. Helpfully, they include a tool to import existing Trello boards and data into their tool so the onboarding process is very easy.

As a lite and simple tool with task management, team collaboration and project metrics out the box, it’s a good choice for teams that have outgrown Trello. It’s weak on integrations, with Slack being the only integration currently on offer. It’s a new tool though, so keep an eye on Nostromo as they continue to add more features and functionality.

Nostromo will cost from $10/2 users/month.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $7/user/month

10. Taiga – Easy and intuitive – yet powerful – project management tool for multi-functional agile teams

Taiga has a rich and complete feature set with extensive customization options, at the same time it is very simple to start with through its intuitive user interface.

Whether your team uses Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban or just wants to track issues, Taiga is an ideal agile project management tool. Its features include an intuitive backlog and sprint planning, a sprint board with swim-lanes per user story and a sprint dashboard with a burndown chart, fully customizable Kanban boards with WIP limits, Epics, subtasks, issue tracking, and a Wiki function.

Furthermore, you can specify different team roles, estimate story points per role and move unfinished user stories to other sprints.

The project timeline and projects dashboard provide an easy overview of activities while the sprint and team performance dashboards are focused on closed tasks, points from completed user stories and specific elements like issues reported and Wiki pages edited. There is also a unique estimation game to determine the (relative) size of different user stories.

What makes it stand out is the intuitive user interface. This makes Taiga particularly useful for multi-functional teams and/or client teams. The zoom function for the Kanban and Sprint boards allows you to easily move from overview to detail view and back and the tool is available in over 30 languages.

Integrations with Slack, Hipchat, GitHub, Gitlab, Mattermost are pre-configured. A lot more integrations are possible through easy to configure webhooks and an extensive API set. If you are currently working with Trello, Asana, Jira 7 or Github, you can seamlessly import your project data.

Taiga costs from $7/user/month for unlimited private projects. They offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card required).

Other agile tools worth considering:

None of the above work for you? Check out our list of other agile tools worth having a gander at:

Want Help Narrowing Down the Options?

This tool is pretty useful. We’ve partnered with Crozdesk to give you access to their “Software Finder”.

If you input some of the details about your project and the features you’re looking for in a project management tool, it will generate a list of tools that match your preferences. You provide your email, and they send over a nice PDF guide with a summary of your best matches.

 

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Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

15 Comments

  • Hi Ben
    There are such a large number of elements that Atlassian Jira + Agile has a solid expectation to learn and adapt for new clients, and exchanging between applications can be a pain.

  • Good roundup! I would add ZenHub to this list too though. I’ve enjoyed using it a lot as it feels lighter weight but still allows for sizing tasks with story points.

  • Marc Weiner says:

    Thanks for including us in your list! We’re eager for user feedback and feature requests. Our goal is to make the most user-friendly and useful task-based project management tool for developers, project managers, and designers. Please send feedback to help@ciroapp.com! :)

  • Project Management Apps says:

    @Ben Aston…. Is Asana a Agile tool for project management? If yes then why it is not in the list?

  • Johan says:

    I believe it is worth including Hansoft (www.hansoft.com) on a list like this. It is free up to 9 users and it has a great product backlog combined with support for all major PM practices (scheduling, scrum and kanban) side-by-side. It is a very good on-premise alternative with a unique take on large scale agile project management.

  • I invite you to try alldone.io – we are aiming o combine great usability with effective project management. So we started with full Scrum support out of the box with low learning curve for all team members.

  • HI Ben, Realise this is a competitive marketplace with a plethora of online solutions but would suggest that Barvas at http://www.barvas.com is worthy of addition to your list. Barvas incorporates a clear upfront planning approach to help you break down any project, plan the best way forward and then monitor tasks to a successful conclusion. Regards Ash

  • John Walter says:

    Krosswall ( http://www.krosswall.com ) – One of the best agile project management tool for scrum and Kanban. Team Agility with enterprise visibility.

  • Remko says:

    Hi Ben, one of my favorites is Smartsheet. A very nice and easy to use excel-look-alike projectmanagement program. But with more options for collaboration with teammembers or even clients online. It also had a Kanban board for Agile projectmanagement.

  • World best agile project management tool for small and medium IT companies
    http://www.agilean.in

  • Hey! We use ActiveCollab for all our project management and its a great tool for agile projects. I haven’t yet explored its analytics or reporting section in detail if it provides metrics in the agile environment but it does pretty much everything else!

  • Luis Ortiz says:

    My team built an Atlassian app to host Retros inside Confluence & JIRA. It makes for a quick and productive session, every time.

    Check it out: https://marketplace.atlassian.com/plugins/agileretrospectivesjira/cloud/overview

  • Micha? says:

    If you are looking for something more lightweight than tools mentioned in the article, something that provides more physical-like storyboard experience, then you should definitely check out https://www.storyhub.io

    Disclaimer: I’m the creator of StoryHub.io. Hope you will enjoy it.

  • Nico says:

    Nice list. I found this tool Proggio and it’s great for agile. I am using it for a year now. Features include Plane vs Actual. It has an improved Gantt called the projectmap. it easy easy to use and it’s only $8 per use monthly. https://www.proggio.com

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