[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


So let’s get down to the basics. This isn’t a fully robust tool, yet. The first iteration dubbed “Release 1” focuses solely on the role of the Product Manager or Product Owner. The purpose of this first release is to allow the Product Owner to groom and manage the backlog of items, which this tool does very well.

This is very much an Agile product. There are only two main options to start: Product Owner and Administration (of Product Owners features and options).

In terms of the options under the Product Owner tab, you’ll find:

  • Product Backlog
  • Release Planning
  • Release Backlog

For those that are well-seasoned Agile Product Owners, you’ll find this intuitive interface very easy to use. Grab stories, make edits, and drop them into releases. Make batch edits if you need to (a very nice feature to add in).  You can also edit stories on the fly, meaning that you don’t have to go into full edit mode. Just like a line item and options will come up to change them. This is a very nice feature to have since it drastically cuts down on edit and click time to make changes to stories.

The designers and developers of this first iteration of Agile Manager obviously felt the need to make sure that grooming the backlog was easy and painless. Peter Webb, during the teleconference even said that it was exactly the point. Since they had started from scratch, they knew that they had to get the Product Owner role right the first time, since so much depends on the product backlog.

So there you go. This is Aldon Agile Manager

Wait, what??? That’s it? Backlog management only?

Absolutely not.

What happens next comes from the feedback from the community in Aldon’s “Agile Buzz.” This is the place where people vote on the next feature that they’d like to see. Not only that, Aldon also publishes their internal backlog on that forum-space as well.

Peter Webb tells us that they are trying to react from the feedback they get and retrofit the best features per the marketplace needs. We like. Again, this first release tries to satisfy the Product Owner role, specifically.

Want some sneak peaks we got from the Aldon team? Yes please.

[Future release] – A full-feature story editing screen.

[Future release] – A full management role feature-set. Including: Scrum Master, Team Members.

[Future release] – Full metrics including burn down charts.

[Future release] – Story priority mapping.

[Future release] – Story point assignments and story point game workflow.

[Future release] – The Scrum whiteboard. Very pretty looking.

Summary

We like this tool a lot. Since Aldon is building this tool iteratively, there are plenty of features that will be rolling out in the next couple of months (Peter Webb tells us end of January).

So far, the workflow for the Product Owner is spotless. It includes most all the features that a Product Owner would want when managing the backlog.

  • Story entry
  • Story/sprint assignment
  • Batch processing
  • Ease of story editing
  • Filtering options.

A Product Owner shouldn’t be in want for much more (for now).

Currently the tool is only in a downloadable format: Release 1.0 Linux Server. For the future Release 1.05 Aldon will be enabling customers to download it and install Agile Manager on a Windows Server.

We asked about a SAAS version, since the ease of entry is much simpler when everything is on the cloud. Peter Webb let us know that they’ll be working on this if the market demands it, but most clients like to have a program behind the firewall. We would note that, having the product behind the firewall makes it easy for you to connect this tool to Aldon’s other available tools.

Price? FREE. Can’t complain here.

So how can you, the Agile community help?

  1. Get yourself over to the Aldon site and vote on what features you want in the tool.
  2. View the release backlog of features being worked on.
  3. Or go to the “Agile Buzz” forum and request a feature.

Talk about transparency!

Aldon Agile Manager is a winner in our books, and we’re looking forward to covering the newest features as they are released. Right now it’s simply Product Owner story and backlog management. The future? Well, that one, my friends, is up to you.

Find more information from the Aldon site here.

[See our other Agile Tools here]

Want us to review your Agile tool? *Hint, do what the guys did at Aldon. Give us a sneak peak!*

Below is our interview with Aldon:

*Extra – Aldon Music Video – Fun at Aldon!

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

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