Agile tools are used within agile software development to help achieve these main goals: adapt and organize solutions and requirements to allow cross-functional teams to work together, organize, and produce the best possible solutions. Their goal is to make the changes within the system, and the resulting functionality, as smooth and seamless as possible as your software develops. Using an agile tool allows you to make informed decisions throughout the process, getting you the results that you want much more quickly.
Agile tools are useful in many scenarios, from helping to streamline customer feedback so that it modifies capabilities, finding features that are performing poorly in production, to improving the performance of your systems as a whole.
Some agile tools serve more than one purpose. Scrum boards are the most popular agile tool used because they are a visually based approach to agile software development. These customizable agile tools help your team stay on the same page as well as plan for the future. At the same time, they backlog information so that you can use it when planning the next project or time period. Scrum boards also tend to provide the best metrics and analytics for performance. Modify what people can see using sprint permissions and custom workflows.
Other agile tools for scrum include version tracking, sprint planning, and story points. One essential agile tool enables you to groom your backlog by moving things around and reordering them. You can even use an agile tool like this to create filters that find problems that were once overlooked.
Most importantly, dashboards help to keep everyone on the same page.
Agile tools are used at every step of the process, when you are just starting, when you are amidst the project, and when you are finished and moving onto something else.
The other option, especially as agile tools for startups and young companies, is Kanban Methodology, which is a linear tracking system with columns and lanes. Defined by flexible workflows, swimlanes, and WIP limit figurations, it harkens back to the days of physical Post-It boards where one item was moved and another was switched into its place.
Agile tools here include storyboards, workflows, backlog management, agile reports, and more.
Essentially, the goal of agile tools is to break your work into bite-sized, efficient parts that enable you to see where issues fall and how you can fix them, effectively grooming backlogs, planning work, estimating productivity, and staying on top of any issues that may come along throughout the work cycle. Individually, these work to augment agile processes you already have in place. However, one sticking point is that they need to fit into the methodology that you already have.
Not all agile tools work with all systems – it is something that you need to evaluate, determining what works and what doesn’t.
Agile tools help with transitioning between one process to another. – in which the benefits absolutely must outweigh the cost. When switching to agile tools, the benefits ought to build up on each other, bolstering improvements in productivity, quality of work, employee engagements, job satisfaction, improved stakeholder satisfaction, reduced time-to-market, and much more.
The benefits of agile tools exceed what happens within your system, it is something that reaches outward into your workplace as well.
Another benefit of agile software development is the continual chance to reflect, perfect, and stabilize your systems. Agile tools work for you while compiling and analyzing metrics, providing a real-time look at productivity and functionality.
Furthermore, agile tools offer you a new way to analyze metrics and data: giving you reports and retrospectives that are data-driven and highlight what needs to be done. Then, you can make changes to the individual sprints and see how that impacts your bottom line. Agile metrics are easy to understand and implement, though it does take some time to learn the terminology.
Sprint reports, velocity charts, cumulative flow diagrams, epic reports, control charts, burndowns, and version reports are a few of the agile metrics your team gets from agile tools.
Agile tools are part and parcel of the movement toward more focused and innovative cloud based computing and artificial intelligence. They can be adjusted to work with companies both large and small, though both provide different challenges.
One thing to consider when choosing agile software development is combing different methods for different parts of the process. Some agile teams use one part of a scrum board, like a fixed length sprint and combine it with the limits and cycling of Kanban.
Agile tools were designed to be just that: agile.
Changing to new agile tools or different agile tools comes with the awareness that the status quo will change. Using agile tools allows you to acquire new skills and capabilities that haven’t been possible before, such as test automation, design evolution, and iteration planning. Agile tools training requires an openness to going outside of the comfort zone you have and learning as you go – after all, as your agile tools continue to change, so will the very face of what you do. You must have a willingness to work with these tools so that they can be perfected to what you need.