[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]
Your run-of-the-mill Agile tools all do some sort of backlog management. Some are good at it, some, don’t work so well. I think I’ve found one that works just perfectly. It’s not sexy by any stretch. Frankly, it’s a little bland to look at. But where it may lack in the aesthetics, it more than makes up for in effectiveness.
[Enter]: EasyBacklog – Backlog Management with your Keyboard plus Simple Sprint Planning
Jump in and you’ll find yourself with a >3 minute overview of the tool. Worth going through because it helps you understand the power of moving swiftly through the fields (using TAB) and other keystrokes. I found myself able to fill up an entire backlog quite quickly…
You’ll want to set up some options for your new backlog. For me, I made sure that everyone on my team knows that I make tons of money per day.
Booya. A full created backlog, in probably about 5 minutes or less. Created themes for my 5 stories and put information in the fields:
- ID (Created Automatically)
- User Story
- Acceptance Criteria
- Cost (Auto-Gen)
- Days (Auto-Gen)
Time to make some sprints. Clicked the “+” button and drag and dropped my stories into sprints. I seriously think this was the quickest user-story-to-sprint mechanism I’ve ever seen.
After putting some finishing touches on my stories and “Completing” them to “DONE” status. I had me some metrics:
And… that’s about it.
That’s all there is to it folks.
What I Liked:
- The interface is easy to use. I jumped right in, started adding stories.
- Tabbing – UI/UX people rejoice! You can move through this app using only your keyboard.
- Metrics – Metrics were pretty.
- User Story to Sprint Definition – Easy to drag and drop your user stories into sprints.
- SIMPLE – I kind of hope they keep this tool simple. It’s great as it stands today.
What I Wasn’t So Sure About:
- The interface – It’s ugly. But… maybe that’s the point. It doesn’t get in the way?
- Tabbing – Didn’t always work (using latest Firefox & Chrome)
- Metrics – Didn’t fit on one page. Would be nice if I could move some of the graphs around.
- Cost & Days Information – Wasn’t sold on this. Not sure if you can truly extrapolate cost/value from simple point calculations. I think this needs to be an option *see below*
- Wait… isn’t everything you “didn’t like” the same as what you “did like?” – Yup. It’s a love/hate thing…
This tool is great. I was actually very excited to get my hands on the beta test. I liked that it was quick, fluid, and simple to use. I can see this tool being an effective alternative to Microsoft Excel… Not only that, but (did I say this before) the tool is SUPER simple. With all the enterprise tools out there, with all their gadgetry and wiz-bang… it’s nice to see a tool that focuses on one thing: Backlog Management. For this, EasyBacklog does it with simplicity, easy-of-use, and effective UI. Boom goes the dynamite.
*Caveat from – Matthew O’Riordan (CEO)- One thing to remember about this product is that it was originally designed for agencies. What that means is backlogs are typically related to projects, and the cost of development matters. So there are tools to report on costs for features (stories), tools to report on changes to the backlog (i.e. sort of change in scope and thus budget) called Snapshots, and various other features that you won’t find in many other products. We’ve also got a very unique interface for building your backlog which is more like a spreadsheet than anything else.One last thing, when signing up you will be asked for your expected velocity per team member and day rate. This is required so that costs can be attributed to stories and backlogs. A feature that is just around the corner (days away) is to make this optional so that people who prefer to think about team velocity only can work in that way too.