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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Wrike is an award-winning, easy-to-use project management software trusted by 20,000+ organizations worldwide. It's suitable for teams with anywhere from five members to an unlimited number of members. It includes Scrum tools and features, and is highly configurable, allowing users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, request forms, and more.
Wrike’s simple interface enables users to switch between Agile Kanban boards, one-click Gantt charts, and traditional workload views. The tool also comes with a number of pre-built Agile templates. Wrike also features task lists, subtasks, schedules, shared workflows, file sharing, and real-time collaboration. Automatically prioritize your backlog, plan sprints with Gantt charts and Kanban boards, and track your sprint success with one-click reports.
Wrike has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. Users can toggle quickly between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and an activity stream. Wrike has a dedicated help center with interactive training, videos, a ‘Getting Started’ guide, and a thriving community.
Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Pricing starts at $9.80 per user per month. There are four different price points, including a free version and plans which offer the ability to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.
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.
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.
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.
Parabol is an agile meeting tool that helps remote and co-located Scrum teams run guided retrospective, check-in, and Sprint Poker estimation meetings.
Every meeting includes optional icebreakers, anonymous voting/reflections, and space for asynchronous discussions. After a meeting ends, Parabol follows-up with an automatic summary, which means team members can remain fully present at the meeting without taking notes.
The tool integrates with Jira, GitHub, and Slack, so users can export follow-up tasks from retrospective or estimation meetings for use in your agile project management tool or other places according to your process.
Parabol is easy to use for all team members, taking the burden off facilitators and allowing any team member to run meetings.
The tool is free for up to 2 teams.
Summary of Parabol:
- Product backlog, sprint, and burndown charts: Fail
- Visualization: Pass
- Reports: Pass
- Notifications: Pass
- Integration (mobile and other PM tools): Pass
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.
ProjectManager.com isn’t a specialized Scrum tool per se, but as an award-winning PM software used by big name brands like NASA, Volvo, and Ralph Lauren, it’s worth considering. And while it’s used in enterprises, ProjectManager.com’s basic plan can have as few as 5 users, so it’s still a sensible solution for small teams.
So, as I mentioned, ProjectManager.com isn’t a specialized Scrum tool—but I include it here because it has some really useful features that a team adhering to a Scrum methodology could do well to take advantage of. You’ll find Kanban boards with real-time dashboards that help you visualize your work, and you can switch seamlessly between different task and project views to help visualize work, too. The notifications are basic but useful—you can set up automated alerts to stay on top of due or overdue tasks.
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 also offer a 30 day free trial.
Summary of ProjectManager.com:
- Product backlog, sprint, and burndown charts: So-so
- Visualization: Pass
- Reports: Pass
- Notifications: Pass
- Integration (mobile and other PM tools): Pass
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 makes handling projects easy for beginners using the Scrum framework. Many Scrum tools claim to make project management seamless, but Vivify’s intuitive flow and quick navigation actually deliver that seamless feeling.
The tool offers a wide array of business functions, such as invoicing, time management and file management. This is a low-risk tool for any organization to try out, as the starter plan has all features included for up to 10 users. Finally, VivifyScrum includes a reporting module where you can generate burn-down charts and statistics.
VivifyScrum has a decent number of integrations, including Slack, Trello, GitHub, BitBucket, Travis, Pivotal Tracker, and Jira. You can connect the app to thousands more thanks to an integration with Zapier, and download client versions of the software for Mac, Windows, Linux, and mobile devices.
VivifyScrum cost starts at $96/year for up to 10 users and offers a 7-day free trial. Important: all packages include all features as the difference in pricing is based on the number of users only.
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.
Need expert help selecting the right Project Management Software?
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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.
Sprint planning, daily scrums, sprint reviews, and retrospectives, make up the four scrum ceremonies.
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.