Agile Project Management Software User Report: 2020

Share This Article

0 0 0 0

Capterra surveyed 300 Agile project management software users to learn who they are, what factors impact their purchase decision, how much they’re spending, and how they’re using Agile tools to achieve business goals.

image of a man standing in front of project management icons

Our 2019 Project Management Software User Report looked at trends that impact the project management industry as a whole. In this report, we’re focusing specifically on Agile teams and the tools they use to oversee projects, manage workflows, organize tasks, and collaborate in a shared workspace.

Finding the right project management software can be especially difficult for Agile teams. Do you choose a general purpose tool that is a pretty good fit for most workflows? Or do you choose software designed to support Agile workflows specifically?

Invest in the wrong solution, and you may end up paying for features you don’t use, or maybe paying for a tool you hate to use, but have to because it’s “good enough.”

That’s why we surveyed hundreds of your peers to find out which tools they use to support Agile processes, what criteria they used to evaluate and compare those tools, and what results they’ve seen from their investment.

Knowing how your peers evaluated and budgeted for software can help you make an informed purchase decision, saving you time and money. We will also give you some tips for your own software search.

We recommend reading through the full report, but if you’re short on time you can skip to the key takeaways section for a summary of our findings.

Who uses Agile project management tools?

The short answer

Adoption of Agile project management (PM) tools is high for teams in information technology (IT), software development/engineering, and project/product management departments. Scrum is the most popular Agile method, followed by a hybrid approach.

To identify who is using Agile project management software, we asked respondents about their organizations and the departments in which they work.

Our results show that while Agile methods are being adopted across a wide range of industries and business sizes, if you look at the teams within those companies that are practicing Agile, they’re predominantly within the IT, software development/engineering, and project management departments.

chart showing demographics for Capterra’s 2019 Agile Project Management Software User Survey

We also asked respondents which Agile method their team uses. While Scrum is the most popular, a hybrid or blended approach is not far behind. “Hybrid Agile” is the combination of Agile with non-Agile techniques. “Blended Agile” is the combination of two or more Agile techniques.

Chart showing breakdown of Agile methods used among respondents

How do companies use Agile project management tools?

The short answer

Agile teams primarily use PM software to support standup meetings, sprint/iteration planning, and sprint/iteration review. The most-used features are collaboration, task boards, and resource management. Wireframes are the most-ignored PM software feature by those who have them, while wikis are the most desired by those who don’t. The greatest percentage of respondents have been using their Agile PM tool for one to three years.

Now that we know who’s using Agile PM tools, let’s look at what they’re using them for. We gave respondents a list of Agile practices and asked them to select which ones they use PM software to perform and support.

Chart showing the practices survey respondents use Agile project management software to perform/support

This information is important because the practices you’re using software to perform and support should be clearly evident in the functionality of the tool. As a prospective buyer, consider what your needs are and look for tools with functionality that supports and streamlines those processes.

For example, standup meetings are when teams review progress, issues, and open work items. Software features that would support standups includes tasks boards, collaboration features (comments, @ mentions, activity streams), and a shared workspace, whether that’s the task board itself or a video call for distributed teams or team members.

Next, we gave respondents a list of software features and asked them to select whether they have it and use it, whether they have it and don’t use it, or whether they don’t have it but wish they did.

Chart showing how survey respondents rank Agile project management software features as most-used, most-ignored, and most-desired

Most-used Agile PM software features

It’s not surprising that collaboration, task boards (i.e., task management), resource management, and time tracking are at the top of the most-used feature list. These are core capabilities that support nearly every team, Agile or other.

While you should look for these core features as a prospective buyer, don’t overlook the other high-ranking features on the most-used list that are specific to the needs of Agile teams, including:

  • Backlog management
  • Product road mapping
  • Requirements management
  • Release planning

Most-ignored and most-desired Agile PM software features

Here, we see features that align with role-specific needs and/or different Agile methods appearing on both lists. For example, wireframing is very specific to the needs of software and web developers; whereas, lead and cycle diagrams are used by teams practicing Kanban. Both appear as a most-ignored and most-desired feature.

Simply put: You’re paying for ignored features that you don’t use. And “making do” without desired features may wind up costing you more in the long run due to inefficiencies caused by having to work around that gap in your process.

To avoid either scenario, perform a stakeholder analysis before you start your search for software and identify end users and their requirements. Then vet prospective products based on how well they meet (or don’t meet) those needs.

For example, If you aren’t a software or web development team, you can probably remove tools that offer wireframing from your shortlist. On the other hand, if you do require this feature, you should remove tools that don’t offer it.

Additional considerations include:

  • Do you prefer one full-featured PM solution, or several standalone tools that specialize in individual functions?
  • Do you have role-specific needs that might be better served by an industry-specific solution over a general purpose PM tool?
  • Do the key capabilities your team needs come “out of the box,” or will you require customizations or integrations such as adding issue tracking or ticketing for an IT team?

Lastly, it’s important to invest in a tool that meets your immediate needs and your road map for two to three years into the future. Any further out is too unpredictable. Additionally, most user requirements shift after three to five years, which will require you to re-evaluate solutions regardless.

This timeline is borne out in our survey results: 83% of respondents have been using their Agile PM tool for five years or less.

Chart showing how long survey respondents have been using their Agile project management tool

How do companies choose Agile project management tools?

The short answer

Software functionality is the most important consideration for Agile teams when making a purchase decision, followed by price, then ease of use. Nearly half of prospective buyers demo just two products before making a purchase decision.

We asked respondents to rank the importance of various factors in their purchase decision. The results show that functionality is the most important factor when choosing Agile PM software, followed by price.

Respondents are much less concerned with ease of use, customer support, and implementation and training services when choosing solutions. However, while these factors may not be make-or-break when it comes to final purchase decisions, they shouldn’t be overlooked.

For example, vendors offer customer support in a variety of ways. Phone, email, and/or chat support are pretty standard, but do you need 24/7 support services or just during normal business hours? Do you want same-day response (which often costs more) or can you wait three to five days? Do they have an online guide or help documentation where users can search for answers themselves?

If you haven’t considered these factors when you’re evaluating tools, you might end up with a tool that offers your must-have functionality and fits your budget, but results in a poor user experience (UX) because it’s hard to use and/or doesn’t offer the vendor services your team needs.

Asking these types of questions when you’re evaluating tools can help you narrow down your options to the best three to five that meet all user needs.

Chart showing how survey respondents rank factors that impact their software purchase decision

We also asked respondents how many products they demoed before making their final purchase decision. While the largest percentage demoed just two products, 38% demoed three or more.

Demoing three to five products is ideal. By the time you’ve narrowed your options down to a short list, every product on that list should offer your must-have functionality and fit your budget. But that doesn’t mean that every product on your short list is a good fit for your needs.

Demos can help you vet the products and evaluate whether or not they’re a good fit for your team’s workflows and UX preferences before buying.

During demos, score products on the following criteria (you can use a one to five scale to rank products):

  • How well does the tool meet user requirements such as functionality, key integrations, and customer support?
  • How many clicks or screens does it take to access important features?
  • Do colors, labels, and layout help or hinder navigation?
  • How intuitive is the tool? How easy or hard will it be for new users to get up to speed?

Chart showing how many Agile project management software demos survey respondents completed before making their purchase decision

Lastly, we asked respondents about the deployment method for their current PM tool and found that the majority use a cloud-based solution (66%) compared to 34% that use on-premise or desktop solutions.

Cloud-based tools provide shared access to information and update in real time across all devices. As such, it’s become the preferred deployment option for organizations with distributed Agile teams or team members, despite the long-held (mis)belief that co-location is best for Agile workflows.

In fact, CollabNet VersionOne states in their 2019 State of Agile report that 78% of respondents say their organization practices Agile with team members distributed, noting that “there is no evidence of a trend toward increased co-location, as organizations continue to support and encourage team collaboration across geographic boundaries and timezones.”

How do companies purchase and implement Agile project management tools?

The short answer

Most companies spend between $1,000 and $10,000 annually on Agile PM tools. Implementation timelines are fairly short, with the majority of teams spending less than six months getting up to speed on the Agile PM tool.

We asked respondents what they expected to spend at the start of their search as well as how much they actually spend on this tech (annually, in U.S. dollars).

The results show that there’s little variance between expectations and reality for the cost of Agile PM tools, indicating that most companies have realistic budgets when it comes to PM technology.

Specifically, most companies are budgeting between $1,000 and $10,000 annually.

Chart showing survey respondents’ expected vs. annual cost for Agile project management software

The key to setting accurate price expectations is knowing how many users you need to purchase software for. Then, you can calculate what the estimated annual cost will be based on the license price for different solutions.

Chart showing the estimated annual budget for project management software based on license cost and number of users

We also asked respondents how long it took them to find and then implement their PM solutions.

The results show that most teams have a short turnaround time between when they start their search to when they make a purchase decision—70% took less than six months to do so.

The majority also don’t spend long on implementation—70% spent six months or less implementing their PM software.

While some tools will be intuitive and require little training to get users up to speed, it’s more likely that these companies are overlooking training opportunities that could help increase the return on their investment. For example, if a tool has features that your team isn’t using, you’re paying for those capabilities without getting any return from them.

As a best practice, training should continue in some capacity over the duration of the tool, so you can identify and close knowledge gaps among users.

Chart showing survey respondents’ timeline for purchasing and implementing Agile project management software

What is the ROI for Agile project management tools?

The short answer

Overall, the vast majority of users are satisfied with their current Agile PM tool. Users report positive gains in several areas, with the most significant improvements to project visibility, project scheduling, team productivity, and workload visibility.

Lastly, we asked respondents about the return they’ve seen from their investment in Agile PM software. Users report positive gains across the board.

Chart showing the impact Agile project management software has had on survey respondents’ project functions

Additionally, we asked respondents about their satisfaction with their current Agile PM software. Perhaps not surprisingly given the positive gains they’ve experienced, 93% of users say they are somewhat to extremely satisfied with their investment.

Chart showing survey respondents’ satisfaction with Agile project management software

Twenty respondents did say they are somewhat to extremely dissatisfied, however*. The top reasons for their dissatisfaction include:

  • It’s not a great fit for team workflows
  • Bugs or glitches
  • It’s not built for Agile teams
  • It lacks customization options
  • It’s missing necessary features

*Because of the small sample size, these findings are more directional and less statistically representative.

It’s telling that two of the top three reasons why users aren’t satisfied with their software involve the tool not being a fit for an Agile team’s workflows, specifically.

Remember that tools need to support processes if they’re to streamline them. If a tool doesn’t align with your workflows, you’ll waste more time and resources inputting and transferring data than the tool is saving you.


Key takeaways

That was a lot of data, so here’s a recap of our key findings:

Who uses Agile project management tools?

Adoption of Agile PM tools is highest for teams in IT, software development/engineering, and project/product management departments.

How do teams use Agile project management tools?

Agile teams primarily use PM software to perform and support standup meetings, sprint/iteration planning, and sprint/iteration review. The most-used features are collaboration, task boards, and resource management. Wireframes are the most-ignored PM software feature by those who have them, while wikis are the most-desired by those who don’t. The greatest percentage of respondents have been using their Agile PM tool for one to three years.

How do companies choose Agile project management tools?

Software functionality is the most important consideration for Agile teams when making a purchase decision, followed by price, then ease of use. Nearly half of prospective buyers demo just two products before making a purchase decision.

How do companies purchase and implement Agile project management tools?

Most companies spend between $1,000 and $10,000 annually on Agile PM tools. Implementation timelines are fairly short—the majority of teams spend less than six months getting up to speed on the Agile PM tool.

What is the ROI for Agile project management tools?

Users report positive gains in several areas, with the most significant improvements to project visibility, project scheduling, team productivity, and workload visibility. Overall, the vast majority of users are satisfied with their current Agile PM tool.

Whether you’re new to Agile or part of an experienced Agile team, you can benefit from using software to support your processes. Capterra offers several free resources to help you find and compare solutions:

  • An interactive directory of Agile PM software: Filter results by selecting the features you need from the menu on the left. Or, refine the selection by pricing, number of users, or deployment preference.
  • A list of top-rated free PM tools: Check out our list of free PM tools that have been rated highly by real users. Use the comparison chart to see if their free offering meets your needs (i.e., features, number of free users, etc.).


Methodology

Capterra conducted this survey in November 2019 among 303 U.S.-based project management professionals that use project management software and follow an Agile methodology ( identify as Agile teams). The qualified respondents are decision-makers or have significant involvement with the day-to-day project management at their organization.

All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.

Share This Article

About the Author

Avatar

Eileen O'Loughlin

Eileen O’Loughlin is a Senior Project Management Analyst for Capterra. Her research helps small businesses leverage the latest technology and trends to solve key business challenges and achieve strategic goals. Her work has been cited in various publications, including CIO.com, ProjectManagement.com, ProjectsAtWork and DevOps Digest.

Comments

No comments yet. Be the first!

Comment on this article:


Comment Guidelines:
All comments are moderated before publication and must meet our guidelines. Comments must be substantive, professional, and avoid self promotion. Moderators use discretion when approving comments.

For example, comments may not:
• Contain personal information like phone numbers or email addresses
• Be self-promotional or link to other websites
• Contain hateful or disparaging language
• Use fake names or spam content

Your privacy is important to us. Check out our Privacy Policy.