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Best agile project management software for 2022 – News Opener

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Agile is one of the most popular project management methods used today. This flexible and scalable method enables teams to take better control of their projects, completing them in stages. The end result is a higher quality outcome that meets all stakeholder expectations.

For teams that wish to take an agile approach to project management, there are various tools available to simplify the process. The following 10 tools and software are perfect options for using the agile method, as well as agile frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban.

SEE: Best project management software and tools 2022 (TechRepublic)

What is agile project management software?

Through the agile method, teams tackle projects in stages, also known as sprints. At the end of each stage, stakeholder feedback is gathered to determine where changes must be made.

This process continues until the stage is accepted and considered complete. If you were to look at the agile method in visual form, each stage would resemble a circle as iterations are more than welcome. In any agile-based project, things can change rapidly. This is one of the hallmark differences between agile and other project management methods.

Agile project management software was designed to help teams manage this sometimes complex process. This software has built-in tools such as project timelines, Gantt charts and reports that are critical for agile success.

Benefits of agile project management software

According to the Agile Manifesto, the agile method prioritizes collaboration, interaction and response to change. Teams that want to be agile must prioritize the same. And in today’s distributed workforce, this is only made possible through project management software. Some benefits of implementing these tools include:

Simplified project planning

It’s true that agile projects don’t typically follow a standard linear plan. However, there’s much more to project planning than listing tasks with due dates. Agile project management software can simplify critical tasks such as resource planning and identifying dependencies.

Improved productivity

Agile teams must be able to access all of the information regarding a project whenever it’s needed to keep projects moving forward. Project management software improves productivity by centralizing all of the information about a project, including project changes, relevant tasks and stakeholder feedback.

Easier feedback gathering

A critical part of any agile project is gathering stakeholder feedback at the end of each stage. Depending on the number of stakeholders involved, this process can be complex. Many agile project management tools integrate with other tools within your tech stack, such as those you use to gather feedback. As a result, all of your stakeholder feedback can be stored in the same place as all other project data.

Enhanced team collaboration

Project management tools enable efficient team collaboration by providing tools such as tagging, commenting, instant chat and more right inside the software.

Improved project visibility

Many agile project management tools offer visibility features such as dashboards and Kanban-style boards to help you visualize your current projects in real-time. You can see what’s going on with any sprint, at any time.

Agile project management software also enables you to take advantage of hybrid agile methods, including Scrumban, a mix of Scrum and Kanban. Completely adaptable to your workflows, these tools enable you to work your way.

Who uses agile project management software?

The agile method has long been hailed as the project management method of choice for fast-moving teams such as product and software developers. This is because these teams rely on stakeholder feedback and testing for a high-quality finished product.

Of course, agile is now used across industries and niches, regardless of what the final deliverable looks like. For example, agile is a popular method for teams that work on projects without a clear scope or end goal as well as teams that prioritize product improvement.

Teams that complete projects like the above often implement project management software, tools and apps to support their progress.

Key features of agile project management software

The best agile project management software will include a wide range of features to help you manage your projects. Some of the features that are absolute must-haves in any agile solution include:

Sprint management

Agile project management tools should enable you to manage your sprints as well as their accompanying tasks, issues, assignees and more in one place. Bonus points if the tool does so intuitively via drag-and-drop functionality.

Kanban boards and Gantt charts

These are two of the most common project management tools for agile teams. Both are visual tools for depicting project status. Gantt charts are horizontal bar charts while Kanban boards are similar to sticky notes on a whiteboard.

Resource management

Resource management tools help teams effectively budget resources such as cash, time and people. This ensures adequate resources are available to complete a project within a specified timeframe.

Real-time reporting dashboards

Agile project management requires real-time visibility into project progress. Reporting dashboards aggregate reports into a single, visual view for access to instant insights.

Issue tracking

For software development teams, issue tracking is a critical feature. These tools track software bugs so teams can capture and resolve them in a timely manner on behalf of their users.

Third-party integrations

Any useful agile project management software should integrate well with the other software and apps within your tech stack such as those for managing customer relationships, sales, communication, development and reporting. Many tools have integrations built right in as well as open APIs for building out your own integrations.

Mobile capabilities

In today’s mobile workforce, any project management tool should be available via mobile device. This way, teams can manage projects, complete tasks and report on progress from anywhere, at any time. Mobile apps are typically available for phones as well as tablets.

SEE: Project management software: What features are necessary for marketing teams? (TechRepublic)

How to choose agile project management software

There are literally hundreds of project management tools to choose from. While some were created with the agile method in mind, others are more general with a few agile-specific tools thrown in. To choose the right agile software for your organization, there are some key things to consider.

Agile framework requirements

First, you must consider which agile framework you currently use or plan to use. The most common frameworks include Scrum and Kanban, but other frameworks exist such as Extreme Programming (XP).

The software you choose should have features that align with your chosen framework. For example, to use Scrum, you’ll probably need burndown charts.

Take some time to consider other feature requirements such as team collaboration tools, resource planning and time tracking. This is the perfect place to involve your team or the ones who will use the tool each day. Gather feedback to determine which features matter most to all stakeholders within your organization.

Long-term goals

Software implementation takes time. For the best return on your investment, you’ll want to select software that fits your organization now and in the future. Consider your long-term goals and choose an agile project management solution that delivers tools to fit those goals. You’ll want scalable software that grows with your business.

Budget

Agile project management tools are available for various price points as well as free. Consider your budget, paying close attention to what your business can afford each month as many tools feature subscription-based pricing.

Current tech stack

Chances are, you use plenty of other tools within your organization besides your project management software. You’ll want to make sure tools such as your customer relationship management (CRM) or engineering software integrate seamlessly with your chosen project management solution.

After considering these points, you should have a shortlist of tools to choose from. At this point, it’s important to take a test drive to see how it performs within your workflow. Allow those who will be using the software each day to join in too.

The best agile project management tools

Whether you’re looking for an up-and-coming tool or a more established industry-leading software, there are plenty of agile project management solutions to choose from. Here, in no particular order, are some of the top tools available on the market today.

ClickUp

ClickUp is a robust project management platform, offering a wide range of solutions for all teams, regardless of project management method. For agile teams, ClickUp offers many tools such as sprint workflow automation, which enables teams to automate sprint assignments based on workload.

Another feature is simplified bug and issue tracking, allowing teams to capture bugs, turn them into tasks and assign team members to each one. ClickUp also comes with a wide range of customizable reports as well as dashboards. Teams can add widgets to their dashboards for sprints, cycle time, burndown and more.

A standout feature of ClickUp is the project management templates teams can use to get started quickly. Simply create an account, select a template such as Agile Management or Bug and Issue Tracking and start managing projects.

monday work management

monday work management is a project and work management tool by monday.com. Inside monday work management is the specific product, monday projects, built solely for project management. This software offers several agile-specific project management tools such as real-time reporting, sprint planning, Gantt charts and bug tracking.

A key differentiator between monday work management and other agile tools is the ability to completely customize the platform to fit your specific needs. Whether you use Scrum, Kanban or a hybrid framework, monday work management is built to work with you, not against you.

VivifyScrum

VivifyScrum was built specifically for agile teams, and it’s perfect for teams that want agile-focused tools without all the fluff found in other project management solutions. The platform is a web-based tool that’s easily accessible from any browser.

VivifyScrum works using boards, including Scrum and Kanban. Using the Scrum board, teams can set sprint goals and create tasks associated with each goal. Using the Kanban board, teams can organize projects by development stage.

Other features found inside VivifyScrum include reports, invoicing, team management, time management and simplified project management. Users can take advantage of VivifyScrum EDU, a free Scrum training with any paid account.

Jira

Jira, by Atlassian, is a leading project management tool, beloved by organizations across the globe. Jira is focused on providing agile tools for software development teams using frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban as well as mixed methods.

For Scrum sprint planning, Jira provides built-in tools such as version management and story points to help teams stay on track. Jira also simplifies the daily Scrum meeting by providing instant access to progress reports via custom dashboards. These reports include everything from burndown charts to sprint reports.

For teams using Kanban, features include swimlanes, work in progress limits and a built-in Kanban board, among other tools.

Asana

Asana is a powerhouse project management tool commonly utilized by teams using the Kanban framework. Asana offers a built-in Kanban board view for quick setup, as well as additional board types.

The platform also enables teams to complete a wide range of other agile-specific tasks such as:

  • Tracking bugs and issues within software
  • Creating and managing detailed sprint plans
  • Managing product launches
  • Streamlining the stakeholder feedback gathering process

Another key feature found inside Asana is the ability to automate workflows. For example, when using a Kanban board, teams can set triggers to move cards, eliminating tedious manual tasks.

Azure Boards

Azure Boards is brought to the project management space by industry-leading Microsoft and is for users currently utilizing Azure DevOps Services. Azure Boards is best for software development teams who need to manage complex software projects.

Azure Boards provides support for agile frameworks, including Scrum and Kanban. Inside, users find features such as customizable dashboards and real-time reporting. Users of Azure Boards can track anything and everything agile, including issues, bugs, story points and more. Azure Boards features simple, drag-and-drop functionality for fast project updates.

Axosoft

Axosoft was built specifically for software development teams utilizing the agile method. The platform provides complete support for every step in the agile project management process.

For example, teams can begin by planning sprints using the Axosoft Release Planner. They can then track their progress using the built-in Kanban board and reports focusing on burndown, cycle time, projected ship date and more.

In addition to these tools, Axosoft provides help desk functionality for user support, which is unique compared to the other tools on this list. Teams can receive support tickets and respond from right inside the platform.

Planview Leankit

Leankit by Planview is a great solution for teams using the Kanban framework. The solution provides flexible Kanban boards for both agile and lean teams. Other capabilities found inside Leankit include the ability to visualize real-time work status, set WIP limits, plan projects and so much more.

For agile teams that miss the traditional sticky notes on a whiteboard experience, Leankit features Instant Coffee, a collaboration tool that uses virtual sticky notes. Leankit features a 30-day free trial, which is unique when compared to some of the other tools on this list.

Wrike

Wrike is a work management platform that features standard project management tools such as automation, time tracking and reporting. However, the platform also delivers more agile-specific tools such as interactive Gantt charts and Kanban boards.

Wrike’s Agile Teamwork template enables agile teams to hit the ground running as soon as they implement the platform. This template delivers simplified sprint management, progress tracking and bug tracking as soon as it is activated. However, this doesn’t stop agile teams from customizing the template further to fit their exact needs.

Other templates found inside Wrike include a Kanban Project template and a Sprint Planning template.

Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a flexible and scalable project management platform, providing solutions for virtually any industry. The platform offers a completely customizable interface and enables teams to manage all projects, regardless of complexity. This flexibility alone makes it an excellent choice for agile teams with rapidly changing needs.

Smartsheet includes a wide range of project management features, including the ability to use Gantt charts to visualize projects. The software also offers automation to streamline processes, real-time reports for project visibility and third-party integrations for eliminating silos.

According to Gartner, Smartsheet is the number one project portfolio management software worldwide.

This list of some of the best agile project management tools is just scratching the surface of what’s available. Remember, the key is to select software that fits your needs now and in the future.

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