[Agile Tool Review] – Planbox – Take 2 Review

[We review Agile and Scrum Tools, have you seen our Agile Scrum Tool List?]

This is review number 2. We took a look at Planbox a while back [see our original review here]. I particularly enjoyed reviewing it, giving some feedback and speaking with representatives from the Planbox team. What is so encouraging is that they have improved. Imagine that, an Agile team iterating and improving? Well, they did, and I welcomed a second review. Let’s dive right in.

A bit of back story, these guys couldn’t find an agile tool they liked so they built one.  The better part of the Planbox we see today was generated by their careful attention to user needs and feedback including, their own.

Planbox – Review Number 2

The tool comes with a short learning curve for your product owners, ScrumMasters, project managers, stakeholders, team members and contributors, making it a top choice for rapid adoption. It’s also intuitive enough to be used by teams accustomed to following a predictive (waterfall) approach to project management. It helps all teams work through projects with requirements that change over the course of its duration.

This is one of the only if not the only tool on market to have 4 levels for project management: Initiatives which hold various Projects in which you have Items that can be broken down into Tasks. This structure is ideal for Portfolio Management and ensures every customer has the setup they need to manage their work and get it done.

It is composed of 4 main pages: home, work, manage and reports. This is a great differentiation from other project management tools that have many tabs and sections to sort through. The tool also offers a fun yet pertinent element called the Power Level, represented by a lightning bolt, which reflects the time and effort a team member puts into using the tool.

The Home page gives you all the info needed to manage your work properly while the Manage page serves to setup your initiatives, projects, templates, team, permissions, feature preferences…

The Work page is where your team will spend most of its time working, planning, reviewing, discussing… The page is divided in two: the item board (left) and the dashboard (right). In the item board, items are split in tabs which consist of different iterations or the backlog. You can drag and drop items to move them around and Planbox offers all the item details you need.

Clicking on an item opens the pane where you can break down the item in tasks, edit all necessary details, add files, communicate with your team members and see the user feedback that is related to that item.

The dashboard gives all the information the team needs to track, organise and manage their work. The different tiles cover: work progress and allocation, iteration burndown and team velocity, latest activities, as well as user feedback. And it gets updated in real time when you or someone else makes a change.

The feedback items located in the Feedback Tile are generated through a widget any company can add to their site. The widget is open source so you can modify it at your will. When a customer enters feedback, it appears in the Feedback Tile and you can then drag it into an item. It’s all about the feedback right? Well, this appears to be pretty snazzy…

Finally, the Reports page is fantastic to analyse how projects are moving forward. Not only can you load visual charts, you can also generate various data tables on the fly.

We’ve already covered a lot, but there’s still much more to Planbox such as:

Planbox has always believed that agile methods can be applied in various contexts and businesses. Not only development focused businesses.

Pricing is a steal and if your team is below 10 members, paying it out of pocket wouldn’t even break the bank.  Try out the live chat features and ask for a free walkthrough for a nice overview of the tool and its application.

The team also offers a variety of training related to agile methodologies, even going as far a offering a Kickstart package where the team helps you setup Planbox custom to your needs and makes sure you can be as efficient as possible from day one.

Planbox is the agile tool behind Planbox

The team drinks its own champagne and uses the tool to work day to day to for plan for new features and track bugs & feedback.  Features and enhancements are constantly being developed and released and with the option for custom development, if there is a feature or feature set your team needs, they can build it for you. (for a fee). You may just find yourself … in love as a customer. The Planbox team listens… after all. Isn’t that a healthy foundation to any relationship?

I’m encouraged… as an Agile Coach because they DID listen. I remember receiving feedback almost immediately from the team when I said that I wasn’t SOLD on the tool just yet during my first review. Looks like they picked up the slack. +10 for effort, +5 to charisma, and +5 to agility.

[VIA: Planbox]

 

4 Responses to “[Agile Tool Review] – Planbox – Take 2 Review”

  1. Magali Janvier
    February 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the great review. As you mentioned, we really care about our customers’ needs and suggestions and this has greatly helped Planbox become the tool it is today.
    One thing that wasn’t mentioned is that Planbox was built with the agile manifesto in mind and that we make it accessible to the agile novice and adept alike.

    Cheers!
    Magali, Planbox PO.

    • peter
      February 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

      Thanks for the insight. Glad you guys are sticking to the Agile Manifesto… there is something… about it.

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