Scrum tools aren’t just for agile software development offices, even though that’s where Scrum originated. The Scrum framework can be used in many production settings—from marketing agencies to construction firms.
In fact, a lot of the best project management software out there includes some functionality for following a Scrum framework, incorporating items like backlogs and sprint planning features.
Scrum Tool Comparison Criteria
Here’s my evaluation criteria for selecting the best tools:
- User Interface (UI): Is the tool engaging and easy to navigate? Can you easily find the features and information you’re looking for?
- Usability: How easy is the tool to learn? What about onboarding new team members?
- Integrations: Most Scrum software includes some PM features and tools in addition to integrations with third party apps and mobile-compatible apps. If you don’t have a programmer in house, it’s a good idea to stick to a Scrum software that easily integrates with other systems without the need to dig into an API.
- Value for $: I’ve included some basic pricing info above to help you evaluate the best tool for your use case. Getting beyond the freemium versions, prices range from about $3/user/month to $25/user/month.
Scrum Tool Key Features
Every organization is different—a marketing agency cannot necessarily use the same tools that a construction crew uses. However, there are certain elements that you should expect to see in any Scrum tool. We’ve identified these critical components for our evaluation:
- Product Backlog: An organized backlog makes future planning and allocation of resources easy to manage. An effective sprint backlog should include ample storage, and must enable prioritization of tasks and user stories. The tool should include features for backlog management and allow for changes and adjustments.
- Sprints: This is the heart of Scrum. Sprints are repeated, predetermined periods of time for completing sets of tasks or work items from the backlog (generally from 2 to 4 weeks).
- Burndown Charts: These are graphical representations of progress that provide insight into any delays and factors causing them. The horizontal axis of the burndown chart depicts sprints and the vertical axis shows the remaining work. A burndown chart is your basic visualization in Scrum; many tools also include several additional types of charts for measuring progress (burnup, cumulative flow, etc).
- Visualization: The backlog should provide visibility to each member of the team and should provide a convenient interface for the development team to manage tasks. The best tools have visualizations of progress displayed on a real-time dashboard. The tool should also include the ability to create and manage Scrum boards.
- Reports: Some teams don’t need elaborate custom reports, but any good tool should include some basic reporting features for gauging progress. A lot of the free Scrum software out there won’t include many reporting features; most often you’ll need to use a paid plan to access advanced reporting features.
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monday.com is a great tool for managing Scrum teams and projects. The platform has robust time tracking capabilities as well as customizable notifications and automations that allow you to focus on what’s important. You can create, visualize, and share your roadmap to keep everyone in sync.
Backlogs, dependencies, and sprint planning are available as well in a very intuitive interface.
Backlogs are easy to create and use. You can filter or sort them according to any column you choose. With many different columns, monday.com helps teams plan their sprints in a completely customizable interface, which helps workflow creation fit to the team’s needs. monday.com offers multiple views from which you can create burndown charts and analyze your work, such as Kanban, timeline, and files, among many others.
While monday.com doesn’t offer the full range of Scrum reporting features like a burndown chart, it does offer some simple reports and charts to get an overview of sprint progress, capacity, and effort.
monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform, and many more, accessible via Zapier.
monday.com costs from $6/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
Zoho Sprints is an agile project management tool that helps Scrum teams organize user stories, manage backlogs, and track progress on Scrum Boards. It’s a simple and clutter-free Scrum tool that helps teams to focus on shipping great quality work.
The drag and drop planning builder helps teams plan their upcoming sprints by moving items from their project backlog to their sprint backlog. The project backlog serves as the repository of all user stories, tasks, and bugs. The dedicated planning center equips teams to refine their project backlog with options to filter, sort and search items across default and custom parameters.
The Scrum Board in Zoho Sprints is highly customizable and provides visibility and transparency of everyone’s progress. It is effortless to drag-and-drop stories into completion, create custom statuses and set WIP limits. Teams can sort work items into swimlanes based on priority, story, or estimation points, and track the progress of sprints in an exclusive sprint dashboard.
Zoho Sprints provides real-time reports and insights into the overall progress. The Velocity Chart calculates the amount of work delivered in each sprint and helps teams to plan and estimate future sprints. Meanwhile, Burndown and Burnup charts help teams to track the pace at which they are burning estimation points by comparing the current and ideal progress line.
Communication and collaboration are crucial in every aspect of life, and they’re especially critical when you’re working with cross-functional teams. With Zoho Sprints, product teams can collaborate within the context of their work through features like built-in chat, virtual meetings, and an interactive project feed.
Zoho Sprints integrates well with popular code repository management tools like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket. DevOps teams can also automate their CI/CD pipelines by integrating with developer tools like Jenkins and Azure DevOps. Teams can leverage webhooks and APIs to build their integrations or browse through a growing library of apps listed on Zoho’s marketplace.
Zoho Sprints offers a free trial for 15 days (no credit card required). Zoho Sprints has one paid plan starting at $6/per user per month billed annually. Also has a freemium version upto 3 users for 3 projects.
MeisterTask is a simple, beautiful task management tool for agile teams. The web-based platform provides flexible Kanban boards to manage your backlogs and sprints. This is a great tool for companies who are just starting out with the Scrum methodology, but thanks to its built-in automations and large number of integrations with other tools, it easily scales to your needs.
Using MeisterTask’s Kanban-based boards, you can create backlogs, sprints, and manage tasks collaboratively with your team. Boards are divided into vertical sections through which tasks can be moved from left to right until completion. You can use tags to prioritize tasks and visualize dependencies using task relationships. Real-time notifications keep both the project team and the product owner up to date about project progress, while detailed statistics and reports provide insight into the team’s performance. A personalized dashboard ensures that you see at a glance what you need to focus on today and keep track of all tasks relevant to you.
While MeisterTask was originally built for agile software teams, its simple and versatile boards can easily be used by all departments in your organization, which is great if you’re looking to get all team members onto the same platform and improve cross-departmental collaboration. If you need some help getting started, MeisterTask offers free webinars for beginners as well as an extensive online help center and quick email support in multiple languages.
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.
Nutcache is a Scrum-enabled collaboration platform for planning, organizing, and analyzing tasks when it comes to both basic and complex levels of project management. The software includes features for time tracking and invoice payment for all sorts of different types of projects.
Nutcache helps you manage and track your project with color-coded schedules, task organization queues, and data reporting. You can also use their Gantt chart to visually plan and organize your tasks and then switch to a Scrum board view.
Nutcache has lots of sprint management features as well, and lets users choose the sprint duration, define its goal, link the sprint to its release, and close it once the duration is reached. You can also make sure users stay aligned with the sprint goal by measuring task progress (WIP), defining acceptance tests, and using labels to improve the sprint workflow.
Integrations include Dynacom Accounting, PayPal, 2Checkout, Stripe, Authorized.Net, QuickBooks Online, Google Sign In, Google Drive, GitHub, Slack, and hundreds of other apps through Zapier.
Nutcache costs from $6/user/month with a “Pro” plan that requires 5 users.
You’ve likely heard of Jira—it’s probably the most widely-used cloud and subscription-based software for agile teams. Because it’s so popular, many of the other project management apps include integrations with Jira. This tool has just about everything, but we do find that other tools like Targetprocess offer greater degrees of customization, especially in building custom reports and dashboard visualizations. Even so, it’s a well-rounded, familiar tool with reasonable pricing schemes for small teams, mid-sized teams, and enterprise.
Jira delivers a well-balanced array of Scrum project management tools, including customizable Scrum and Kanban boards, custom filters for backlog grooming, customizable workflows, and dozens of visual reports (burndown, cumulative flow, velocity, etc). It also includes some higher-level BPM functionality: roadmapping, process templates, and a “sandbox” tool for testing out different scenarios before allocating resources and making estimates.
Jira integrates with over 3000 other apps, has a robust set of APIs, and is available on all mobile devices. One of Jira’s stronger selling points is the way it integrates with the software development ecosystem. It integrates with numerous developer tools (HipChat, Confluence, BitBucket, etc) and provides a real-time overview of tasks for easily identifying outstanding bugs, failing builds, and pull requests.
Jira costs from $10/month for up to 10 users. They offer free licensing for qualifying charitable organizations, educational settings, and open source initiatives.
Over nearly 15 years, Targetprocess has been evolving as a central platform to support various applications of agile frameworks. Because it’s designed to suit various use cases and project management styles, it’s a good choice for agile companies with diverse portfolios who would benefit from being able to adapt their software instead of having to switch or mess around with using multiple platforms. It’s also a smart choice for small projects that are projected to scale quickly.
Overall, Targetprocess is a feature-rich Scrum tool offering high degrees of customization, from customizable views to custom cards, graphical reports, and report templates. Among Scrum tools, Targetprocess is one of the more adaptable—it can be used on multiple levels (from team to enterprise) for both Scrum- and Kanban-centric approaches. It’s also designed to support a Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®). For example, users can implement a Kanban framework at the portfolio, value stream, program, or team level.
Targetprocess is built to integrate through plugins, mashups, webhooks, REST API, and SDK—making it refreshingly versatile and practical for teams who need to sync multiple tools. It is also available for Android and iOS.
Targetprocess starts with a free Team version for unlimited users. The Company version costs from $20/user/month.
ClickUp strikes an impressive balance between high performance and practicality and offers a wide range of training resources. Overall, ClickUp is simply one of the best Scrum tools out there—not only is it focused on being easy to learn, integrate, and customize, it’s also a forward-looking application that incorporates leading-edge technology like NLP and ML.
As far as Scrum tools go, ClickUp has broader functionality than many other Scrum apps, offering high value for the straightforward price of $5/user/month. The tool includes Gantt charts, project templates, time tracking, and scheduling, in addition to all of the Scrum essentials. ClickUp is consistently expanding its functionality—you might start using ClickUp just for the Scrum tools, but it could easily become your core business process management tool. Notably, ClickUp also makes use of AI: the tool applies natural language processing (NLP) to interpret dates and times so users don’t have to concern themselves with exact formatting. They’re about to roll out machine learning (ML) for automatically predicting task assignees, time estimates, etc.
ClickUp has 1000+ integrations and imports the existing data from CSV files or apps like Airtable, Asana, Trello Jira, todoist, Flow, and 50+ more platforms.
ClickUp costs $5/user/month. They also have a free version that’s quite generous, with unlimited users and unlimited projects.
VivifyScrum is a well-balanced tool with useful Scrum features and an appealing UI. This cloud-based app offers a clean, clutter-free interface that can display all projects on a single page. Many Scrum tools claim to make project management seamless, but Vivify’s intuitive flow and quick navigation actually deliver that seamless feeling. And at $4/user/month, it offers a wider array of business functions than you’d expect, including invoicing and a files management package. This is a low-risk tool for large organizations to try out, as it’s free for an unlimited number of users, limited only in functionality. If detailed and highly configurable reporting and stats are critical for you, however, there are better tools out there.
If you’re looking for free Scrum tools, Vivify’s free version isn’t bad—it offers the choice between Scrum and Kanban boards and enables users to build custom workflows, manage tasks, and view basic reports like burndown charts.
It also allows unlimited users, boards, and items, in addition to 1 external integration. It lacks access to some useful statistics features, but even so, the functions it does provide makes it a more well-rounded tool than many of the free Scrum tool versions out there.
VivifyScrum has a decent number of integrations, including Slack, Trello, GitHub, BitBucket, Travis, Pivotal Tracker, and Jira. And they also offer both an iOS and Android app.
VivifyScrum costs from $4/user/month and offers a 7 day trial along with a free version for an unlimited number of users. They have a convenient widget on their pricing page to help easily calculate the cost of the tool for teams of various sizes.
While some tools like Scrumwise focus on distilling the complexities of an agile project environment within a simplified interface, Axosoft’s approach is to simply embrace complexity. This Scrum tool gives structure and organization to the many components of Scrum project management, providing an information-rich display of relevant Scrum project data. Some tools give you about as much granular control as a carnival bumper car—Axosoft is more like a pilot’s cockpit (granted, a user-friendly one).
In terms of pricing, Axosoft stays true to its highly configurable nature. Pricing is more granular than other tools, determined with a widget that factors in your team size, whether you use a hosted or installed version, what type of support you require.
One feature that makes this tool especially useful is their release planner, which allows users to view capacity at the sprint, team, and team member level. It also offers a helpful ranking tool for prioritizing tasks, a tool for building custom workflows, and a “Daily Scrum Mode” for zooming into the day’s progress, identifying obstacles and giving updates. Of course, it also has your Scrum software fundamentals like drag-and-drop boards, Kanban-style cards, burndown charts, flow charts, etc.
Axosoft has a growing list of dozens of integrations (including Zapier, GitHub, SalesForce, Slack, Trello, GitLab, Bitbucket, and many more) and offers a mobile app as well.
Axosoft costs from $25/month for 5 users.
Scrumwise has been around since 2009, and has built out a very intuitive, user-friendly Scrum master tool over the past decade. It’s dedicated its attention to being a simple, superb agile project management software. Because of this, Scrumwise is a good choice for teams who want a focused Scrum tool without having to dig through (or pay for) additional project/business management features.
Scrumwise offers a full set of features for task, time, backlog, and sprint management. The tool has a simple interface with drag-and-drop Kanban boards and easy-to-digest visualizations in their burndown charts. This tool has a selective approach to features and attempts to get rid of complexities, making it a good choice for small- to mid-size teams who don’t need anything too robust. Even the pricing of this tool is simple, offering a single, full version at $7.50/month/user.
You can export all your data for easy ad-hoc analysis and reporting (simple copy and paste, exporting to CSV or XML files), and the API enables one- and two-way syncs with other tools. Although this Scrum app has minimal out-of-the-box integration with other platforms, it does run on both iOS and Android phones.
Scrumwise costs from $7.50/user/month.
Need expert help selecting the right Project Management Software?
We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Project Management Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business’s needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out monday.com|
15 days free trial
|From $6 per month for up to 100 users.||Check out Zoho Sprints|
|From $8.25/user/month||Check out MeisterTask|
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out Nutcache|
7 days free trial
|From $10/month||Check out Jira|
30 days free trial
|From $20/user/month||Check out Targetprocess|
|From $5/user/month||Check out ClickUp|
7 days free trial
|From $4/user/month||Check out Vivify Scrum|
14 days free trial
|From $25/5 users/month||Check out Axosoft|
30 days free trial
|From $7.50/user/month||Check out Scrumwise|
Other Scrum Tools
I haven’t had the time to review these properly, but here’s a few more tools you can check out:
- Scrumdesk – Best free tool for small teams
- FunRetro – Best Scrum software for planning retrospectives
- SprintGround – Best for software and web developers
- VersionOne – Best Scrum software for DevOps
- Orangescrum – Best open source Scrum software
- SwiftKanban – Best for Scrumban teams
Need expert help finding the right IT Project Management Software?
We’ve partnered with the software comparison portal Crozdesk.com to help you find the right solution. Crozdesk’s IT Project Management Software advisors can give you independent advice and shortlist software products that best fit your specific needs. Our partnership gives you free access to their tailored software selection advice and community negotiated discounts, taking the hassle out of the research process.
It takes just a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a call at no cost or commitment. You’ll get custom product shortlists covering the top solutions that best fit your specific needs from their team of software experts (via phone or email) and they can even connect you to your choice of the selected vendors. To get started, please submit the form below:
What Does a Scrum Tool Do?
Scrum provides a set framework for producing a product, be it an email campaign, software, or consumer product. All Scrum tools are based off of a similar framework of basic Scrum elements.
If you’re unfamiliar with Scrum, have a look at our guide to 9 methodologies made simple. Because Scrum is related to agile, there’s quite a bit of crossover between software described as “agile tools” and as “Scrum tools”.
However, in general, agile project management tools will enable a wider scope of agile development and agile methodology functions, not just Scrum-related ones.
Scrum software is designed to facilitate the Scrum framework, encouraging collaboration, transparency, and efficiency among team members. In fact, Scrum software can prove beneficial for almost any organization, as it facilitates communication, organizes workload, and helps members to plan for multiple iterations.
The Basic Parts of Scrum Methodology And Software
A critical element of any Scrum project management software is the backlog. Like a whiteboard or sticky notes; this is where you list all the tasks and requirements for your final product. It is vital that you prioritize your backlog according to the urgency and importance of each task.
Another key element of Scrum is the Product Owner. This is the person who owns the discussion on which features are included or not as they manage the business and functional expectations for the product.
The Scrum framework divides time into predetermined chunks for completing each task from the backlog, known as sprints. The graphical representation of a sprint is called a burndown chart. These are helpful in visualizing progress in order to stay on track.
Daily scrums are a meeting for all the team members to discuss their progress and bring up any issues that need attention. Most tools have scheduling or meeting features to easily plan and coordinate daily scrums.
Each sprint ends with a retrospective, a time-boxed meeting where the team reviews the sprint and plans for future improvements.
How To Choose The Best Tool For Your Team
Here’s a list of key questions to ask yourself in order to choose the right tool for your team:
- What do you need it for? Do you primarily need a task management tool (more basic), or do you need it for storing documentation or creating client-facing reports (more advanced)?
- What is the size of your team? Very small teams are lucky to find several tools that give a full range of features for free. If you’re planning to scale, take this into account—how much will it cost to upgrade?
- Which tools should it integrate with? At the very least, it probably needs to integrate with your calendar and document folders. Also consider whether you’ll want a tool that integrates with your existing development applications, CRM, time-tracking apps, document management systems, resource management apps, and other BPM tools.
- How will it fit into your workflow and how easy is it to learn and set-up? If you’re new to Scrum, choose a tool with a large training resource library, online training, or even Scrum coaching as an add-on.
- What’s your tool budget? Keep in mind future scaling requirements.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever used any of these tools? Which one do you like best and why? Comment and share with the DPM community below.
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