Even if Agile approaches favor collocated teams, distributed Scrum teams are more common that what we might think. Many Agile software development teams are based on a virtual organization. This article presents some free online tools that can be used to facilitate retrospectives for distributed Scrum teams.
Tools for Scrum and Agile Project Management
In the context of software development, Kanban is an approach based on Lean that tries to limit waste and work in progress to the actual capacity of the software development team. The aim of Kanban is to create a context that balances capacity and demand through a value stream. Thus the work is not “pushed” to developers by project managers, but “pulled” by the development team according to priorities. Kanban is the Japanese word for visual card and visualizing the current situation is very important in Kanban. If collocated teams can use simple dashboards and cards to track the work in progress, this is not the same for large or distributed Kanban teams that need to use tools.
Redmine is a popular open source project management web application. It was written using the Ruby on Rails framework. This software is more oriented towards a traditional approach for project management with Gantt charts and calendar than Agile, Scrum or Kanban. However, Redmine architecture allows however creating plugins to add additional features. The development of a number of Agile and Lean plugins has therefore been started in these past years. However not all those plugins have been in continuous development until the current release of Redmine 3.3
Trello is a free on-line project management tool that provides a flexible and visual way to organize anything. This approach is naturally close to the visual boards used in the Scrum or Kanban approaches. As the tool as an open architecture, some extensions have been developed for a better implementation of Agile project management in Trello and provides additional features like Scrum burndown charts.
Technical debt is a metaphor coined by Ward Cunningham in 1992. This concept refers to the work that needs to be done so that a software development project could be considered as “complete”. Could you try to measure your amount of technical debt? Could you use some tools to do this? These are some of the questions that this article explores.
If the development of open source Scrum tools was in vogue some years ago, a lot of these projects have now been abandoned. Some are still active like IceScrum, but this is because their development is sponsored by a commercial hosted option There is however an alternative to manage your Agile project if you have a low budget… and a small team. Some providers of commercial Scrum tools provide a free version of their software.
Bugzilla is a popular open source bug tracker created originally by the Mozilla Foundation. It has an open architecture that allows extending its basic functionalities. This article lists the Bugzilla plugins, called add-on in Bugzilla, that allows integrating an Agile project management approach like Scrum or Kanban around the bug tracking features of Bugzilla.