[Scrum Tool Review] – SonicAgile – Manage Your Project in a World of Blue

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

We’ve been looking around for another tool to review and it landed on our desk for sure.

[Enter]: SonicAgileAn Easy to Use Scrum tool in Blue

The SonicAgile folks tell us that they built SonicAgile because they wanted a lightweight and easy to learn project management tool which the developers could coordinate the work that their team performs on software projects.

SonicAgile supports the basic features that many other tools cover as well: creating backlogs, scrumboards, and burndown charts. It includes support for acceptance criteria, story estimation, calculating team velocity, and email integration.

Interested already? It’s simple. You can sign up for 30 days free. Booyah.

SonicAgile Backlog

You use the backlog to create a prioritized list of user stories such as features, bugs, and change requests. It’s a snap, prioritize a story by just drag and dropping the story from one location to another.

Likewise, it’s easy to add stories from the product backlog to the sprint backlog:

Tracking velocity is pretty intuitive and easy as well. Try it out… and then try to overload your team. A nice addition is that when you add too many stories to a a sprint… the system warns you automatically:

SonicAgile Scrumboard

If you’re running a daily Scrum everyday, you can use the Scrumboard to view at a glance what everyone on the team is working on. Below is a view of what an individual is working on in the Product Details Page:

Every story can be broken into tasks and acceptance criteria:

One caveat though, you cannot close a story — and remove the story from the list of active stories on the scrumboard — until all tasks and acceptance criteria associated with the story are done.

SonicAgile Burndown Charts

Currently, SonicAgile supports several versions of burndown reports: Release Burndown, Sprint Burndown by Task Estimates, and Sprint Burndown by Story Points charts. Below is an example of a Sprint Burndown by Story Points:

Email Integration

The folks over at SonicAgile tell us that their system was designed to improve your team’s communication and collaboration. Most stories and tasks require discussion to nail down exactly what work needs to be done. If your rockin’ a dispersed team, or a team that isn’t local, you can collaborate through email, right? When you use SonicAgile, all email discussions concerning a story or a task (including all email attachments) are captured automatically. At any time in the future, you can view all of the email discussion concerning a story or a task by opening the Story Details dialog:

Summary (And some Technical Details)

SonicAgile is very close to being a pure Ajax application (which I like). Looking a bit deeper we’ve found that SonicAgile was built using ASP.NET MVC 3, jQuery, and Knockout. Almost all of the MVC controller actions return JSON results. The controller actions are invoked from jQuery Ajax calls from the browser.

SonicAgile was built on Windows Azure, and the team over at SonicAgile is taking advantage of SQL Azure, Table Storage, and Blob Storage.

Going through the system, I wasn’t too disappointed with the experience. It was intuitive and pretty easy to navigate. I specifically liked the ease of the drag and drop functionality, which is a standard these days. The color scheme took a little bit getting used to though.

Since they’ve opened it up for free sign ups and 30 days of trial, it wouldn’t be a bad ride to take if you’re looking for a new tool to use. Consider dropping a couple minutes on this one, you might just find that it will work for you and your team!

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