[Tool Review] – Opzi – Collaboration Platform Featuring a Wicked-Fast Interface

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

We love us some neat tools. Not only that, we love pre-launch beta invites, and that’s exactly what we got. There is something about VC-funded startups that just tickle us, or rather, get our blood moving. It’s an exciting prospect to say the least. We at Agile Scout were lucky enough to get an early look at Opzi’s new product, which bills itself as a “next-gen collaboration platform,” featuring a library of apps that can be installed with one click. So what is this all about?

[Enter]: OpziCollaboration Done Wickedly Fast

After entering into the private beta we were greeted with a simple Install page.

The first two apps available are (1) a project management tool and (2) and issue tracking tool specifically for software teams.
Simply install them and you are go!

The tool features a extremely fast spreadsheet-like user interface that made us forget were were actually using an application in the browser.
Keyboard shortcuts make entering and editing information actually enjoyable.

Tight integration with email means your teammates can add comments to items simply by replying, and live notifications make sure everyone is in sync at all times.

Not necessarily a new thing, but did we mention how blazingly fast this app is? Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Opzi – Collaboration Platform Featuring a Wicked-Fast Interface”

Best Tool to Manage Distributed Agile Teams?

[We review Agile tools, have you seen our Agile tools list?]

Surveys are fun, but you have to look at them with a keen eye. Sometimes the results skew towards certain biases. This exact thing happened when the Ainstainer group put together a poll for the best tool to manage distributed Agile teams.

Some definition to begin:

  1. A Remote Team is a team of software developers that are located in an other city/region/country
  2. A Distributed Team (as defined by Ainstainer) is a team with members that are located in different places
  3. The main difference between these two teams is that distributed team is multidirectional (at least 2 or more locations),  while the members of a remote team are usually placed in one office with the Product Owner in another area (country).

As for the Poll Questions:

  1. What is the best Agile Tool for managing distributed teams?
  2. What is your experience in using the chosen Agile Tool?
  3. What country do you represent?

We love Canada. They have a bunch of pride. Out of 68 respondents from 17 different countries, 58% were from Canada… and guess what tool they said was the best? A Canadian Agile tool: Urban Turtle. Go figure, right?

Find the poll results [here].

Agree with these results?


What are your favorite tools for managing distributed teams?

Let us know in the comments.

[HT: Ainstainer]

Top 5 iPhone and Android Planning Poker Apps for Agile

Top 5 Free iPhone Agile Planning Poker Apps

Francois Baronnet’s Planning Poker – [Download for iPhone]

Rating: 2/5

Features:

  • Selected card is now clearly identifiable
  • Two modes: fast or flashy (restart app to change mode)
  • User preferences are saved


Unboxed Consulting Planning Poker – [Download for iPhone or Android]

Rating: 3/5

Features:

  • Create a custom set of numbers if the supplied sets do not meet your needs
  • Timer included

Continue reading “Top 5 iPhone and Android Planning Poker Apps for Agile”

[Hack] – Use Skype for Agile Teams

Skype rules. I simply love the way you can easily use it to connect with other people. In my house, the Grandparents love it because they can see their grand daughter. So how can you make the most of Skype for your decentralized Agile team?

The guys over at Skype journal let us in on a list we just had to write about.

Using Skype for Agile Teams:

  1. Dial in video conferencing – For team cohesion, offsite team members video Skype to the daily standup meeting. Extend this for other meetings too!
  2. Remote pair programming – In pair programming, two programmers work together at one screen. Turn on Skype desktop screen sharing during a voice call with your programming partner.  You’re both seeing the same things and can talk to each other. I believe that @joem uses this with his programming with Pivotal Labs.
  3. IM team backchannels – Skype has persistent chat: This means your conversations continue, even when other people are offline.
  4. Language translation – Take advantage of the free Chat Translator and Speaker for Skype, which pipes your IMs through Google for live machine translation.
  5. Be connected to other offices – Open up a full screen video call on a large monitor (or television) and just leave it on. It offers for a sense of being connected and the opportunity for chance conversation.
  6. IM notifications and alerting. The Skype Public API makes it easy to write apps that will pipe notifications from code repositories, test frameworks, and work tracking into Skype text chats.
  7. Avoid distractions. Skype offers the ability to turn off bells, beeps, and bloips for each chat room. The /alertsoff and /alertsoff IM commands give you control. Skype says:

“/alertsoff” Disable message alert notifications.

“/alertson [text]” Allows you to specify exactly what needs to appear in a chat for the chat to pop up. For example, /alertson London will only alert you when the word “London” appears in the chat.

Full of #win! Watch @joem below in an example of utilizing Skype for pair programming:

[VIA: Skype Journal]

Top 200 Agile Blogs RSS + Twitter Lists

I’ve gotten quite a lot of emails asking for the RSS. Well here you go.

Clicking these links are the fastest way to subscribe to the blogs that you want to follow. I decided to create the list instead of drop an XML file on you all. This way you can pick and choose which ones you want to follow.

For full details on the Top 200 Agile blogs go here.

Enjoy!

Continue reading “Top 200 Agile Blogs RSS + Twitter Lists”

Agile Blogs Top 200 – Update

I’ve received many emails about the ranking system for the Top 200 Agile Blogs list.

The picture above is what I’ll be working on for the rest of the week so that means no NEW blog posts (I’m tired).

What does this mean for you?

  1. You have a chance to state your peace and enter your blog into my system by 6/9/2011 at 11:59PM.
  2. If you feel like I have missed your blog, please comment on the Top 200 Agile Blogs post.
  3. I will run you through the program and see if you’ve made the cut.
  4. BTW – Some blogs have already been bounced due to algorithm anomolies. For example: If a total blog has 0 Alexa, 0 Compete, and 0 RSS and is tied for that number with others, they receive a similar grade, interestingly enough, they get a points for shared ranking, which is the reason why you see a couple of blogs on the list with relatively zero influence… those are now gone.
  5. I like to give people a fair chance. So grab your chance to get into the top 200 list.
  6. I’ll also be adding an Honorable mention section past the 200.
  7. I’ll also be editing the post so you can grab the RSS feeds for each of the top 200 as well. Aren’t I swell?

Top 200 Agile Blogs

[If you’re not on this list and would like to be considered, post your blog information in a comment at the bottom!]

There are hundreds of great Agile blogs and software development blogs to read, but do you ever wonder which Agile blogs everyone else is reading? Ever wonder which ones are worth reading?

I do. I burn about 1400+ RSS feeds of Agile and software development blogs (growing weekly) with people emailing me monthly for my RSS XML file.

Here are the best 200 Agile blogs out there for 2011. Some focus exclusively on Agile and coaching, while others are more on leadership, news, consulting, Product Ownership, ScrumMastering, and specific Agile methods. Regardless of how you label them, these are the world’s most popular Agile blogs written by many of today’s most influential Agile leaders, practitioners, coaches, consultants, and hippies.

Want to brag about your rank or give some link love to the Top 200 Agile Blogs list? Embed the badge at the bottom of this page on your website.

For a legend and to understand how the rankings are computed, scroll down past the list.

TOP 200 AGILE BLOGS

As of June 3, 2011 – Updated on June 8 with new data and changes.

[Click here for the Top 200 Agile Blogs RSS links!]


Continue reading “Top 200 Agile Blogs”

[Tool Review] – Agile Scrum Tool for iPad – Scrum Sprint Planner

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

People love the iPad. I certainly do. Wasn’t it time that a robust iPad app came out that supports Scrum in a beautiful UI and easy-to-use interface? Well, let not your hearts be troubled. The time has come.

[Enter]: Scrum Sprint ManagerScrum for iPad

We here at Agile Scout were lucky enough to get our hands on it first. Lucky us right? Yep, we popped in the redemption code and downloaded that sucker. Truth be told, it was kind of exciting to be an early adopter! :)

Agile Project Manager (Scrum Sprint Manager) uses all the advantages of Scrum – flexibility and adaptiveness to changing project requirements. Agile Project Manager allows you to plan and track the progress of your development cycle. You can quickly create a detailed plan of the sprint, manage sprint tasks, and view sprint progress in a burn down chart.

What you get at the start is the planning page. What we liked best were the color options, the sprint duration and the planning poker aspect of setting time allocation to tasks or stories:

A quick look see below shows the Sprint page after all is said and done:

Don’t forget your burn down chart:

Simple enough? Options on this baby are limited as of now, but we’ve been told by Dar-Soft that they have big plans for later releases as well as more Pro features.

What’s New In Version 1.5.0

– multiple projects support
– minor bug fix

So what are you waiting for? For $9.99 could this be used for your personal Scrum management?

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

[Tool Review] Agile Soup – Simple Web Program with Android App

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

We found out about this cool little app while we were browsing for android applications. It seems that we may have found another addition to our growing list of Agile tools that has a bit of ‘flavour’ to it.

[Enter]: Agile SoupAgile Project Management on the Go

Load this baby up, and you have a simple tabbed interface with:

  • Dashboard
  • Projects
  • Stories
  • Tasks
  • Agile Wall
  • Reports
  • Users

Continue reading “[Tool Review] Agile Soup – Simple Web Program with Android App”

Need Wallboard – IdeaPaint can Help!

Looking to make your office or home-office wall a surface for ideas? Look no further, IdeaPaint might just be the best home-office decision you’ve made in a long time.
 

  • Larger dry-erase surface for less $
  • Just one coat
  • Warranty-guaranteed
  • No cracking, peeling, staining or yellowing
  • No costly removal – just paint over it
  • Uses fewer raw materials
  • 60 lbs less than other whiteboards its size
  • Least expensive to ship and install
  • Erases effortlessly
  • As smooth as the surface you paint
  • No seams

Office Wallboard

Other uses? Home-office, schools, your office-that-doesn’t-allow-anything-to-be-posted-up-on-the-walls-due-to-terrible-office-policies?
Continue reading “Need Wallboard – IdeaPaint can Help!”

[Tool Review] – ScrumDo – Free and Sweet Open Source Scrum

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

“Isn’t it time that everyone benefitted from the time-tested Agile methodologies without the cost of training and expensive ‘experts?'” – Peter Saddington

“Over here at ScrumDo, we totally agree with you.  Most of the tools out there are stupid-expensive or they don’t make it easy enough to succeed with scrum.  It’s one of the reasons we decided to make our software open source and free for everyone.” – Marc Hughs (Developer at ScrumDo.com)

We’re all about free open source lean tools that just work. If the tools are pretty and run quick then it’s a plus too. Some will say that you get what you pay for, right? In many cases that is very true. Sometimes, you may just be surprised when you come across a Scrum tool that is open source and awesome at the same time.

[Enter]: ScrumDoThe Open Source Scrum tool with powerful results

When you get started you’ll be greeted with a couple of options: Create a new project or create a new organization. We started out with an AgileScout organization and kept on moving. The tool tips are readily available and it’s a snap to get started:

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – ScrumDo – Free and Sweet Open Source Scrum”

[Tool Review] – Action Method for iPad – Task Management on the Go

As iPad saturates the IT development environment more and more users are wanting iPad support for their favorite task management tools. We know that Pivotal Tracker has iPhone support, and a tool we reviewed before is specific for the iPhone (Scrum2Go Review), but how about the iPad?

At my current client, at least 5 developers have iPads and use them regularly. Should tool developers be looking towards mobile and tablets? Absolutely.

Enter: Action Method Powerful Mobile Task Management

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Action Method for iPad – Task Management on the Go”

[Tool Review] – Scrumy – Lightweight Scrum and Kanban

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

In all our experience of looking at Agile tools, there hasn’t been a tool as simple as this one. Seriously. With most tools, you’ll go to the homepage with all the marketing spiel, click around to log in, view your dashboard and then click around to get started. With this tool, the homepage is the starting point and you’re literally one click away from your project.

Agile and Scrum aren’t supposed to be “hard.” In fact, the whole premise of both is to simplify that which was once a complicated process (i.e. waterfall processes). Well this tool is simply that.

[Enter]: ScrumySeriously simple Scrum with a Kanban board

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Scrumy – Lightweight Scrum and Kanban”

Pivotal Tracker Goes Freemium and Paid

For all those out there that use Pivotal Tracker as an Agile management tool are in for some news:

Pivotal Tracker will still be a free tool until July 19, 2011.

After that, Pivotal Tracker will be $7 per month.

This is an interesting turn of events that we’re hopeful will turn out for the best for them. It does, however change our review a bit on the tool: [Find our Agile tool review on Pivotal Tracker here]

It will still be free for public projects, non-profits, and educators. So if you’re in this bucket then you should be fine.

Pricing details:

  • $7 per month for up to 3 collaborators across up to 2 private projects, with 1GB of storage for file attachments $18 per month for up to 7 collaborators, up to 4 private projects, 3GB storage, and use of the Get Satisfaction, Lighthouse, and Bugzilla integrations
  • SSL encryption, Campfire and Twitter notifications, as well as API use is available for all plans. Community support, via http://community.pivotaltracker.com, will continue to be open for all users.
  • Individual use will continue to be free, with no collaborators, up to 2 private projects, and up to 200MB of storage for file attachments.
  • More information on pricing is available on the new pricing page.

“At the end of the day, we’re establishing a paid model so that we can keep improving Pivotal Tracker aggressively based on your feedback, add operational capacity, and provide responsive support.” – Dan Podsedly

[See our review of Pivotal Tracker here]

[Tool Review] – GravityDev – Free and Light Agile Project Management

The Agile Scout bots have scanned the web and we came upon this little gem of a tool. What really piqued our interest was that it was not only free, but it was a Google Chrome browser app.  After fiddling around with it for a pretty good amount of time we were very impressed. Truthfully, when I was creating stories, looking at the backlog, and grabbing reports I literally said out loud to myself: “Ooo, I like this very much.”

[Enter]: GravityDevSimple and Agile Project Management

We see a lot of Agile tools come across our desk. Our backlog is chock-full of tools that we have yet to review. When we came across this tool we knew that it had potential. It’s got all the “agile” features that a team would want with quick load times and plenty of integration. Since it uses your already existing email (Gmail/Yahoo) account, you get notified of any changes to any stories that your assigned to. Collaboration is a snap if you have access at your workplace for personal email.

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – GravityDev – Free and Light Agile Project Management”

[Tool Review] – Binfire – Simple BaseCamp-Style Task Management

Here is a tool that came up on our radar with very little flash. If you even look at the title of the tool and the features list, it’s pretty straight-forward:

Project management tools

  • Project Collaboration
  • Manage milestones
  • Todo lists
  • Online file storage

Enter: BinfireFile hosting, collaboration, and project management

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Binfire – Simple BaseCamp-Style Task Management”

[Tool Review] – Pivotal Tracker – Build Better Software, Faster

There are a lot of free Agile tools out there for Agile teams. Some are good, some are great, some just stand out from the crowd. If you’ve been doing some sort of Agile work, you’ve probably heard of this tool before, and there is a reason you have: It’s one of the best. Period.

*EDIT – This tool is now a freemium-paid tool. Find out the news here.

[Enter]: Pivotal TrackerBuild better software, faster.

Make no mistake. There is a reason it’s on top. It’s free, it’s light, it’s effective. Ok ok. Does it sound like I’m biased? Well, to be completely honest (as the reviewer), I’ve not only built training around Pivotal Tracker for clients, but I’ve created process documents, control documents, and sold several of my clients on Pivotal Tracker, or “Tracker” as the development team calls it.

As Joe Moore (@joem), a Pivotal Tracker developer, or “Pivot,” I met up with recently can attest, YES, I’m sold on Pivotal Tracker’s ability to manage Agile teams and their workflow with ease. I even showed him the documentation I built out for clients (which I’ll share here).

Does this sound like an unfair review already? Not really. Just because I’ve used it extensively doesn’t mean it’s a 10/10. Ready? Let’s dive in.

[Agile Scout reviews Agile Tools like this one. See more here]

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Pivotal Tracker – Build Better Software, Faster”

Like 5pm Tool for Project Management? – iPhone Edition Launched!

If you’re a fan of 5pm for Project Management, you now have access to their tool on the iPhone. So far, it looks pretty. Track your projects on the go!

Find it on the App Store here.

Continue reading “Like 5pm Tool for Project Management? – iPhone Edition Launched!”

[Tool Review] – Planbox – Be Agile in Management

One of our Scouts was searching around the interwebs and found this little gem of an Agile tool. We haven’t heard too much about it before, but we thought we’d give it a spin.

Enter: PlanboxBe Agile in everything you manage

Upon first look it has many features to be desired in an Agile tool, and this particular tool, homegrown in it’s roots fits Agile, exactly. What we like is a little bit of the backstory: These guys couldn’t find an Agile tool they liked… so they built it!

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Planbox – Be Agile in Management”

[Tool Review] – Aldon Agile Manager – Community-Built Agile Tool

[We review Agile tools. Have you seen our Agile tools list?]

*UPDATE:

ALDON AGILE MANAGER FOR MICROSOFT WINDOWS® NOW AVAILABLE

Free Agile Project Management Application Supporting Agile Teams Everywhere

Emeryville, Calif. – February 1, 2011 – Aldon today announced its free agile project management application, Aldon Agile Manager™ is now available for desktops running Windows® XP, Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit versions) or on a Windows Server running Windows Server 2008 (32-bit). Aldon Agile Manager is part of Aldon’s total Agile ALM solution focused on helping companies bring agile into their business at a pace that’s right for them, whether they are going all in, starting small, or taking a hybrid approach.

We here at AgileScout.com recently got a backstage pass to see the newest Agile tool on the street. We got 45 minutes of awesomeness from Sarah Johansen and Peter Webb, walking us through this new tool (Released 12/1/2010 PR) and showing us what it’s all about. Boy, were we impressed!

  • Like free tools? Yep. This one is free.
  • Like Agile tools built in an Agile manner? Yep. This one is built like an Agile product should be.
  • Like an Agile tool built by the community? Yep. This one is built by YOU.

Enter: Aldon Agile Manager An Agile Tool Built by the Community


Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Aldon Agile Manager – Community-Built Agile Tool”

SmartQ Agile Tool Out of Beta – 30 Days Only!

SmartQ is a web-based visual project board for tracking tickets through a multi-step process. Distribute the work, track the progress, identify the bottlenecks and store team communication in one central place. Adjustable to fit any workflow.

News Flash: SmartQ Out of beta now. Be a beta tester for 30 days free. Check it out. You may be very glad you did.

[HT: TheCriticalPath]

[Tool Review] – Podio – Seriously Awesome PM Tool

After months of waiting to get an account, Agile Scout is finally in and ready to view one of the hottest project management and collaboration tools out there.

Fan of Basecamp? You’re in luck. Because this tool is FREE (For now…)!

Enter: PodioThe New Work Platform

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Podio – Seriously Awesome PM Tool”

[Tool Review] – Give Your Clients Realtime Updates with ClientStat.us

Want an easy way to keep your team or client updated on what’s happening? Don’t want them to go through labor-intensive sign-up processes? Want to be able to give clients and customers updated often on the status of their project quickly and efficiently?

Well the Rails Rumble 2010 attendees pushed out this program in 48 hours.

Enter: ClientStat.us Updates Without the Hassel of Logins or Passwords

Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Give Your Clients Realtime Updates with ClientStat.us”

Tool Review – TinyPM – Nothing Small About It

As our Best Agile Scrum Tools list continues to grow, we are constantly searching for that one tool that will do exactly what we need it to do: Manage Agile projects with ease. We’re looking for a tool that has collaboration, Agile workflow options, task management, metrics, communication streams to clients and customers (Product Owners), permission options, developer tools, time tracking, API connectivity, and even a little bit of extra juice that makes a user want to use it.

Is there a perfect tool for any business? Absolutely not. That’s why development shops keep pushing the envelope and making our lives as developers even easier.

Are there tools out there that are pretty darn close? Well, we got one on our radar.

Enter: TinyPM (@tinypm)- A Lightweight and Smart Agile Collaboration Tool

Continue reading “Tool Review – TinyPM – Nothing Small About It”

SpiraPlan V3 Released – Updated Agile Tool

SpiraPlan by Inflectra has been updated to 3.0 this week. What does this mean for you?

  • Plan requirements (user stories) directly against iterations for enhanced Scrum/Agile support;
  • Project members can view team members’ assigned artifacts on a single screen;
  • Enhanced Email Notification Functionality including customizable events and email templates;
  • Discussion threads available for user stories, releases/iterations and tasks;
  • Ability to work on different projects at the same time in the same browser session;
  • PDF format reports available for the requirements module.

Check more about the news from Inflectra. Very cool updates to this product. We also added it to our Best Agile Tools list.

[VIA]

Tool Review – Tweet Scrum – Scrum Twitter Style

Ok, ok. For those that think this is a joke, hold on to your pants for a second. This may be just the thing for your international or dispersed team members.

Enter: Tweet Scrum – Taking Control of Your Daily Scrums

Continue reading “Tool Review – Tweet Scrum – Scrum Twitter Style”

Tool Review – Agile Bench – Easy Agile Project Management

[Want to see the tool and not the review below? Go to www.agilebench.com]

So far The Agile Scout has reviewed several different types of Agile project management tools so far: Task Management, Priority Management, and Collaboration Management. All of these tools were fantastic in their own right and they have a particular tool-set focus and business model.

Why not combine all of those?

Yep, that’s what we were thinking.

Enter: Agile Bench, The Easiest Way to Manage Agile Projects (@agilebench)

Continue reading “Tool Review – Agile Bench – Easy Agile Project Management”