This post was updated on September 6, 2017.
The “classic” tools that Scrum teams use to organize their work are whiteboards, charts, and note cards. Yet there’s so much more you can achieve with Scrum project management software. Besides, using this type of software is the only viable option if you work with a geographically distributed team.
The variety of Agile project management tools available today is impressive to say the least. Many of them come with a hefty price tag, but there are just as many that are completely free. Here is a selection of free Scrum tools that will help you manage your Agile software development team more effectively without breaking the bank.
Don't miss our expert Q&A on how to select the right Agile project management tool for your needs at the end of this post.
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This simple web-based tool is basically a web simulation of an Agile sprint board, allowing your team to collaborate in real time. This can come in handy when you don’t have a physical board at hand, or if you work with a distributed Agile team.
At first glance, Trello may seem too simple to be powerful. And yet its cards have everything you need for effective project management. You can move cards between lists to show progress, leave comments for immediate feedback, and upload files from your desktop, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive. Not only this, Trello will remind you about important events with the help of notifications. Trello doesn’t have a single feature you won’t find useful, and is completely free to use.
iceScrum is an online tool that offers Dashboard and Timeline views, Product Backlog, Release and Sprint Plans, as well as Actors and Team functionality. It facilitates visual management with the help of virtual sticky notes. iceScrum is free for one team with an unlimited number of people, but the number of public projects is limited to just one in the free version.
This tool allows you to manage almost any project online. Its features include predictions functionality, Excel import and export, and automatic burnup charts. ScrumDo is free for teams of up to seven people.
Yodiz is an all-in-one Agile management platform that is both powerful and very easy to use. Its major advantage over rival products is that it is fully customizable — you can create custom fields, board layouts, change board colors, and much more. Yodiz is free for up to three users and an unlimited number of projects.
ScrumDesk is perfect for small and medium-sized Scrum and Kanban teams. It’s a project management tool that supports all Scrum ceremonies, but is also user-friendly and completely transparent. It even offers Agile coaching tips. ScrumDesk is free for up to four users.
Kanbanchi is the only free online tool for task and project management that is made specifically for the G Suite. It works equally well for individual users, small teams, and large enterprises that work within the Google ecosystem. All the key features of Kanbanchi are free, including an unlimited number of dashboards and cards, sorting and filtering capabilities, and the manipulation of dashboards as files in Google Drive. There are also a great number of additional features that are available for a small monthly fee.
Pipefy enables managers to build and execute any type of workflow though a Kanban-style user experience. Although it does offer pre-designed process templates, including task management, software development, bug tracking, help desk, and much more, workflows can be fully customized without the need to expend any technical resources. All of Pipefy’s basic features are free for teams of up to five people.
VivifyScrum is an agile project management tool for teams that use either scrum or Kanban frameworks. It allows the users to create their own scrum and Kanban boards and invite other users to collaborate on them and do scrum sprints. VivifyScrum also features burndown charts for tracking the success rate of teams, a number of external integrations and planning poker for project estimation. Free Plan allows for an unlimited number of boards, users and items, while some advanced features are reserved for the Premium Plan.
KanbanTool is an online Kanban board with seamless time tracking and insightful Kanban analytics and metrics. It features Kanban cards, colors, swimlanes, tags, and due dates to help you ensure clarity and visibility of your project’s progress. The most basic version of KanbanTool is free for two users and two boards, but the extended paid versions are still more than affordable.
Targetprocess is visual and flexible software for adopting and scaling Agile, intended for both small teams and large enterprises. It allows you to easily see a distraction-free overview of your projects, then drill down or scale up for details. Custom reports and integration with over 60 apps are also available. Targetprocess is free for teams with an unlimited number of users, but the number of entities is limited to 1000.
VersionOne Lifecycle unites Agile portfolio planning, product roadmapping, release and iteration tracking, Agile metrics and analytics, and about a dozen other features. These are designed in a way that allows you to easily scale up and out across teams, project workspaces, portfolios, and locations. VersionOne Lifecycle is free for a single team using Agile.
Zoho Projects allows you to organize complex projects into easily manageable units. This is achieved with the help of milestones, task lists, and tasks. With this tool, you can easily track your progress with the help of detailed charts and reports, track and fix issues quickly, and collaborate seamlessly with other team members, vendors, and consultants. Zoho Projects is free for one project.
The two final tools on our list aren’t free — they offer a 30-day free trial — but we love them so much that we decided to share them with you anyway.
Agilefant is an easy-to-use and functional Scrum project management software that simplifies project management and other related activities. Its model adapts to your unique team structure and scales from personal to-do lists to long-term product planning and portfolio management.
Kanbanize is the only lean management platform that combines the principles of Lean and Kanban with portfolio management, flow analytics, and automated business rules. Its portfolio approach allows you to achieve flow not only on the team level, but on the management level as well. Kanabanize also offers an incredibly rich set of flow analytics and a great variety of business rules.
The philosophy behind Agile software development is simple — make the process of creating software as flexible and effective as possible. That is exactly what Scrum project management software helps you accomplish, so make sure you take advantage of these fantastic tools offered by the Scrum community.
The seven Scrum tools described above are mere droplets in a sea of other handy project management instruments, all of which seem to achieve the same goal — creating a more transparent workflow and easing the collaboration within a development team.
So how do you select the one? The good old trial and error method would probably work best if you had a while to examine each candidate, but if you want to save some time and narrow down your choices, have a read of the Q&A session we carried out with Igor Tkach, our Service Delivery Director, which features some of the most common questions about Agile development tools.
Q: What free Agile project management tools work best for smaller teams?
A: I consider Trello to be the best free option for those who manage a team of two or three people. It allows you to create and manage several boards, add and manage collaborators, manage tasks, add labels, descriptions, attachments, and a lot more besides. This piece of software is certainly sophisticated enough to cover the basic needs of a small team following the Agile methodology.
Q: When is it better to choose paid Scrum tools over free ones?
A: Go for a paid solution when your development team starts growing, and the management process becomes more complicated as a result. Even if you’re only managing about six or seven people — each of whom works on several projects at once — you’ll definitely want your project management tool to include different types of tasks (User Stories, Technical Tasks, Bugs, Technical Debt Stories, etc.), workflows, release planning, comprehensive reporting (Burndown and Burnup Charts, Cumulative Flow Diagrams, Sprint Reports, Defect Trend Charts, etc.) Furthermore, if you’re managing a team of 30 people or more, and want to employ large scale Agile methodologies like the Scaled Agile Framework, (SAFe), Scrum of Scrums, or LeSS, you’ll need even more than that again. No free tool is going to provide you with this type of functionality, so try Atlassian JIRA, Redmine, Targetprocess, Team Foundation Server (TFS), or Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS).
Q: Which Agile project management tools work best for managing multiple concurrent projects?
A: JIRA and TFS are perfect in this scenario.
Q: Which Agile development tools are the currently most popular among Daxx’s clients?
A: The vast majority of our clients use JIRA in combination with other Atlassian tools like Confluence and Bitbucket. But there are also plenty of people who opt for the Microsoft products, TFS and VSTS.
Q: Which are the key features that any great Agile development tool should have?
Some other features that aren’t absolutely necessary (but are nice to have nonetheless) include integration with other tools and good customer service.
Generally speaking, if your project management software allows you to view historical data on team velocity and progress, see statuses of all tasks at any given point in time, and perform release planning, you have yourself a proper Agile project management tool.
Q: Which features should a Scrum tool have to be effective for managing distributed teams?
A: A well-established communication process and complete transparency are crucial when you work with a distributed team, and good project management software can help you reach them.
Choose a project management/task tracking tool that will allow you to set dependencies between different tasks. This way, your team members will be able to see dependencies between each other. The ability to leave comments under tasks and receive notifications about changes also facilitates communication with remote colleagues.
Reporting functionality is also important, as it enables your team members to see their velocity and delivery trends. Of course, you can’t go far without a task board, which is an integral part of every team meeting, including but not limited to planning, as well as daily and demo meetings.
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