Update 11/28/16: This post has been updated with additional standout agile software options that have been added or improved over the past year and a half.
With agile on the rise, Agile project management software has become more competitive than ever. The best software addresses three pain points common for Agile teams:
- Agile reporting and metrics: Time tracking and projection, easy-to-understand progress reports for stakeholders, quality assurance, and percentage complete
- Communication: Communicate updates with local and distributed teams, and share task lists, feedback, and assignments
- Project assessment: Identify and remedy project obstacles, evaluate performance, and appraise financials
With these needed features in mind, I dove into the world of some of the top Agile project management software and narrowed down the list to these seven great options. They are listed below alphabetically.
ActiveCollab is a great, affordable solution for small businesses. Because it’s so easy to use, project managers don’t need to stress about teaching their team how to use this celebrated software. Its powerful document management, email-based communication features, priority and task control, and budgeting features have made it particularly attractive for project managers trying to manage multiple projects.
Pros: Intuitive, outstanding support, iOS apps, can bill the client straight through the app, time tracking, and the ability to limit which user sees what.
Cons: Timeline and column views for tasks instead of Gantt.
Cost: Self-hosted at $499; $49/month for up to 15 team members.
If you have a project that needs a powerful communication tool, Agilo for Scrum is one of your better bets. Agilo for Scrum automatically updates stakeholders on the project’s progress. It also offers tools to make sure that all team members are aware of the latest updates; every change made by a user is automatically shown to their teammates by the “Incoming Activity” panel. Additionally, Agilo offers a “Sprint Report” and burn down charts for project managers looking to data mine their progress.
Pros: A great communication system, responsive support team (24-hour response time), and well-priced.
Cons: No ability to host more than one project, no mobile app, and some have noted that the system is difficult to learn.
Cost: €10 a month for unlimited users, one team, one project, or €20 for unlimited users, unlimited teams, and 1 project.
As one of the trusted brands in Agile software, Atlassian Jira + Agile is quick to deliver a powerful project management tool that can fit most offices. Teams can use this product as either a self-hosted or cloud-based solution. Atlassian Jira + Agile offers Scrum, Kanban, and integrates with JIRA, Confluence, and other Atlassian products. Project managers can make customized workflows, visualize QA issues, and keep in constant communication with “HipChat,” and the software offers a system called “Release Hub” that makes sure your product is really “complete” when it’s sent out to the final customer.
Pros: Mobile app, strong backlog management, and lots of add-ons so project managers can customize the software to their team’s needs.
Cons: There are so many features that Atlassian Jira + Agile has a strong learning curve for new users, and switching between apps can be a pain.
Cost: Starts at $10/mo for 10 users, scales up based on users.
Pivotal Labs, a consultancy on software development, created Pivotal Tracker to specifically assist web and mobile developers. Pivotal Tracker supports multiple projects, burndown charts, messaging between users, project-based tasks, and user stories. Pivotal Tracker is relatively easy to use (after you get beyond the program’s jargon), has a fantastic iOS app, and offers a nice set of feedback tools, so QA is always at the forefront of the project.
Pros: Great specifically for Agile software development, lots of integrations (including Jira, Zendesk, and Bugzilla), supports cross-functional teams, and free for individuals and public projects.
Cons: Support can be slow for non-paying users and the system is difficult to customize.
Cost: Free for three users, 2GB of storage, and two private projects; also free for public projects, non-profits, and academic institutions. Starts at $12.50/month for five collaborators and goes up to $250/month for 50 collaborators.
If Kanban is more of your style but Trello isn’t cutting it, SprintGround is worth investigating. SprintGround was made with software developers in mind — users can easily parse out projects, versions, and releases. SprintGround also has a framework that encourages developers to look at feature requests, suggestions, and questions in addition to offering traditional bug tracking functionality.
Pros: Great for software development, encourages customer-driven product development, and has many traditional Scrum functions like burndown charts.
Cons: File storage is limited regardless of which plan you choose.
Cost: Free for three users, two projects, and 50MB of file storage. Starts at €24 a month for eight users, unlimited projects, and 1GB of storage. At the high end (for firms with more than 21 collaborators), SprintGround charges €5 per user, per month.
Targetprocess’s motto is “think visually, work effectively,” and it bills itself as a visual management software. Don’t let their focus on aesthetics fool you; this gorgeous software has plenty of teeth to support your Agile needs, as it has for big names like Marriott, Ancestry.com, Cisco and ThyssenKrupp. Its emphasis is on data visualization above heavy charts and next-to-useless spreadsheets, so it’s easy for any project manager to pick up. The software offers pre-prepared solutions for each person on your project team; there’s space for the Scrum master to customize development flow, for an IT manager to get his tickets straight, and for a product owner to emphasize which features are most important for the company or client.
Pros: Gorgeous, unique design that’s great for enterprise companies.
Cons: The company charges $150 per hour for training on how to use their own product for “free” members (paid members get training for free).
Cost: Free for up to 1,000 entities (“entities” being anything from bugs, requests, tasks, etc). Scales up from $20 per user per month for unlimited entities, premium support, and free training up to a custom enterprise plan (with custom pricing) for companies looking for more-secure hosting (single sign-on, private cloud, etc). The private cloud can either be hosted on-premises or in the environment provided by Targetprocess. If hosted by the client, Targetprocess charges $220 per user, per year.
VersionOne is the eighth most popular project management software in the world—and it’s well deserved, considering its intuitive user interface, ability to customize for any style of Agile your team uses (DSDM? Scrum? XP? You name it), and visual, easy-to-understand reporting features. Users can pick up VersionOne and quickly learn how to drag-and-drop on the Kanban boards, place comments, and keep up with their teammates’ and personal tasks right from the dashboard. VersionOne also syncs with a host of ALM development tools, including Jira, GIT, HP Quality Center, and Microsoft Visual Studio, so you won’t have to leave your current workspaces behind.
Pros: Easy to use, great integration systems, and good for remote teams.
Cons: Overwhelming number of features and the free version is very limited.
Cost: Free for one project and one team; scales up to $175 a month and beyond based on users and features.
If it’s time to transition to software that’s specific to your Agile needs, check out some of these options for your team’s communication, reporting, and assessment requirements.
Have you ever used any of these products? Were there any outstanding Agile project management software products that I missed? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
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Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.