With Agile on the rise, Agile project management software has become more competitive than ever. The best software addresses three pain points common for Agile teams:
- Agile reporting and metrics: Time tracking and projection, easy-to-understand progress reports for stakeholders, quality assurance, and percentage complete
- Communication: Communicate updates with local and distributed teams, and share task lists, feedback, and assignments
- Project assessment: Identify and remedy project obstacles, evaluate performance, and appraise financials
With these needed features in mind, I dove into the world of some of the top Agile project management software and narrowed down the list to these seven great options. They are listed below alphabetically.
ActiveCollab is a great, affordable solution for small businesses. Because it’s so easy to use, project managers don’t need to stress about teaching their team how to use this celebrated software. Its powerful document management, email-based communication features, priority and task control, and budgeting features have made it particularly attractive for project managers trying to manage multiple projects.
Pros: Intuitive, outstanding support, iOS apps, can bill the client straight through the app, and the ability to limit which user sees what.
Cons: Timeline and column views for tasks instead of Gantt or Kanban boards.
Cost: Self-hosted at $499; $49/month for up to 15 team members.
Heralded as “the easiest way to manage Agile projects,” Agile Bench is both simple enough for users to pick up and use, but also flexible enough to be customized for each team’s integration needs with their open API. Agile Bench offers powerful reporting tools that can pinpoint systemic problems across multiple projects. Additionally, Agile Bench has a host of third-party integrations, including GitHub, BitBucket, Pivotal Tracker, and spreadsheet importing and exporting.
Pros: Excellent recorded instant messaging system, fully-fleshed out task management system, and a gorgeous and in-depth reporting interface.
Cons: A little pricey, no mobile app, no backlog, and no way to set user permissions.
Price: Scales up from $50 a month for eight team members, three projects, and 10GB of file storage.
If you have a project that needs a powerful communication tool, Agilo for Scrum is one of your better bets. Agilo for Scrum automatically updates stakeholders on the project’s progress. It also offers tools to make sure that all team members are aware of the latest updates; every change made by a user is automatically shown to their teammates by the “Incoming Activity” panel. Additionally, Agilo offers a “Sprint Report” and burn down charts for project managers looking to data mine their progress.
Pros: A great communication system, responsive support team (24-hour response time), and well-priced.
Cons: No ability to host more than one project, no mobile app, and some have noted that the system is difficult to learn.
Cost: €10 month for unlimited users, one team, one project, or €20 for unlimited users, unlimited teams, and 1 project.
As one of the trusted brands in Agile software, Atlassian Jira + Agile is quick to deliver a powerful project management tool that can fit most offices. Teams can use this product as either a self-hosted or cloud-based solution. Atlassian Jira + Agile offers Scrum, Kanban, and integrates with JIRA, Confluence, and other Atlassian products. Project managers can make customized workflows, visualize QA issues, and keep in constant communication with “HipChat,” and the software offers a system called “Release Hub” that makes sure your product is really “complete” when it’s sent out to the final customer.
Pros: Mobile app, strong backlog management, and lots of add-ons so project managers can customize the software to their team’s needs.
Cons: There are so many features that Atlassian Jira + Agile has a strong learning curve for new users, and switching between apps can be a pain.
Cost: Starts at $20/mo for 10 users, scales up based on users.
Pivotal Labs, a consultancy on software development, created Pivotal Tracker to specifically assist web and mobile developers. Pivotal Tracker supports multiple projects, burndown charts, messaging between users, project-based tasks, and user stories. Pivotal Tracker is relatively easy to use (after you get beyond the program’s jargon), has a fantastic iOS app, and offers a nice set of feedback tools, so QA is always at the forefront of the project.
Pros: Great specifically for Agile software development, lots of integrations (including Jira, Zendesk, and Bugzilla), supports cross-functional teams, and free for individuals and public projects.
Cons: Support can be slow for non-paying users and the system is difficult to customize.
Cost: Free for three users, 2GB of storage, and two private projects; also free for public projects, non-profits, and academic institutions. Starts at $15/month for five collaborators and goes up to $300/month for 50 collaborators.
If Kanban is more of your style but Trello isn’t cutting it, SprintGround is worth investigating. SprintGround was made with software developers in mind — users can easily parse out projects, versions, and releases. SprintGround also has a framework that encourages developers to look at feature requests, suggestions, and questions in addition to offering traditional bug tracking functionality.
Pros: Great for software development, encourages customer-driven product development, and has many traditional Scrum functions like burndown charts.
Cons: Dry aesthetic and drag-and-drop file sharing is not an option.
Cost: Free for three users, two projects, and 50MB of file storage. Starts at €45 a month (€40 for verified startups) for eight users, unlimited projects, and 1GB of storage. At the high end (for firms with more than 21 collaborators), SprintGround charges €8.50 per user per month.
Targetprocess’s motto is “think visually, work effectively,” and it bills itself as a visualmanagement software. Don’t let their focus on aesthetic fool you; this gorgeous software has plenty of teeth to support your Agile needs, as it has for big names like Marriott, Prezi, and Citrix. Its emphasis is on data visualization above heavy charts and next-to-useless spreadsheets, so it’s easy for any project manager to pick up. The software offers pre-prepared solutions for each person on your project team; there’s space for the Scrum master to customize development flow, for an IT manager to get his tickets straight, and for a product owner to emphasize which features are most important for the company or client.
Pros: Gorgeous, unique design that’s great for enterprise companies.
Cons: The company charges $150 per hour for training on how to use their own product for “free” members (paid members get training for free).
Cost: Free for up to 1,000 entities (“entities” being anything from bugs, requests, tasks, etc). Scales up from $20 per user per month for unlimited entities, premium support, and free training up to a custom enterprise plan (with custom pricing) for companies looking for more-secure hosting (single sign-on, private cloud, etc). For businesses interested in an on-site version, Targetprocess offers local hosting for $495 per user (with $95 per user for support and updates).
Telerik TeamPulse is an enterprise-level Agile software that’s so packed with features that it can offer the customization and tools for even the most complicated projects. Sure, TeamPulse offers Scrum, Kanban, unique user stories, and a backlog that can look at multiple projects—all important features for an Agile system—but where TeamPulse really distinguishes itself is in its communication with stakeholders. Clients have their own portal where they can sign in and give feedback, then vote on which feedback is most important. Project managers can then take that feedback and quickly turn them into tasks for new iterations. Packed with powerful reporting features and analytic tools to help PMs make the best decision for their software team, TeamPulse is by far one of the most impressive Agile tools out there.
Pros: Great for collaboration with stakeholders, lots of Agile tools, and a great feedback system between end-user and Telerik.
Cons: Pricey, difficult to learn, no mobile app, and specific to software developers.
Cost: $1,499 for five users—$249 per additional user.
VersionOne is the eighth most popular project management software in the world—and it’s well deserved, considering its intuitive user interface, ability to customize for any style of Agile your team uses (DSDM? Scrum? XP? You name it), and visual, easy-to-understand reporting features. Users can pick up VersionOne and quickly learn how to drag-and-drop on the Kanban boards, place comments, and keep up with their teammates’ and personal tasks right from the dashboard. VersionOne also syncs with a host of ALM development tools, including Jira, GIT, HP Quality Center, and Microsoft Visual Studio, so you won’t have to leave your current workspaces behind.
Pros: Easy to use, great integration systems, and good for remote teams.
Cons: Overwhelming number of features and the free version is very limited.
Cost: Free for one project and one team; scales up to $175 a month and beyond based on users and features.
If you’re a tech startup, it can be tough to find quality Agile software at a palatable price point. ZebraPlan offers a great solution for small teams with big needs. The software breaks down tasks into sprints, which users can easily drag-and-drop tasks into. The dashboard view has all the necessary charts to keep your team in check, and the software has some overall cool features, like KPI comparisons, code review, and, for those opting for the “ultimate” plan, 16 reports to choose from.
Pros: Super simple to learn and use, nice layout, reasonable pricing.
Cons: Many features are withheld to the “ultimate” plan, which will only be available some time early 2016.
Cost: Starts at $14 per month for two users and scales down with the number of users you have (for example, $27 per month for three users and $55 per month for 20 users). The basic plan comes with a limit of five total projects. For teams that want unlimited projects, the KPI performance functionality, and themed groups, the cost jumps to $17 a month, and, like the basic plan, scales down as the number of users go up. (So $29 per month for three users and $65 per month for 20 users).