Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped many agile project management teams choose the right scrum software so they can map out their workflows and complete work in sprints.

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Viewpath

Viewpath is a cloud-based project management solution that allows teams to view team availability, assign tasks and collaborate with teams in real time. With everything hosted in the cloud, the platform can be utilized by global teams,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 25 recommendations

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BigTime

BigTime is an online time and billing solution designed to serve professional service firms like accounting, engineering, government contracting, legal and IT services. The integrated solution offers features like time and expense... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations

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Sciforma

Sciforma is a cloud-based project and portfolio management solution for enterprises that allows to strategically track and analyze project data and make relevant decisions. It can be sold as a stand-alone portfolio management, project... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

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MPOWR Envision

Designed to eliminate rigid departmentalization and streamline strategic execution, MPOWR Envision helps organizations build an execution strategy using open communication and organizational alignment. As a cloud-based execution tool,... Read more

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Cora PPM

Cora Systems provide enterprise project and portfolio management solutions to global organizations and government agencies, such as Honeywell, Elanco, PwC, City of London and the UK’s National Health Service. Their solution, Cora... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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Workfront

Workfront is a platform for enterprise work management. Now there is one central application platform to share ideas, create content, manage complex processes, and help people do their best work. When all the information about work... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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AchieveIt

AchieveIt is a cloud-based solution designed to help medium to large organizations in healthcare, government, utilities, enterprise, education, and more organize and integrate multiple plans, progress updates, and reports in a centralized... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Hive

Hive is a cloud-based project management solution designed for teams of all sizes who need to share files, chat and automate task management. It includes workflow templates, group messaging, multiple task views and over 100 app integrations. Hive... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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JanusERP

Since 2016 Janus ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) has been providing Project Management and Project Controls software solutions to the Oil and Gas, Mine and Minerals, Healthcare and small business industries. Janus was first created... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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PMware

PMware offers a "ready-to-use” enterprise-class project, portfolio, resource and collaborative work management platform. The software combines robust planning, resource management and in-context collaboration on a single platform... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Scoro

Scoro is a cloud-based professional services solution for small to midsize companies in advertising, consulting, IT and other industries. The solution provides a control hub that displays pending tasks, account information, key performance... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Ravetree

Ravetree is a cloud-based project management solution with integrated resource planning, customer relationship management and time and expense tracking capabilities. The solution helps users manage project workflows, task assignment... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Sitetracker

Sitetracker is a cloud-based project management solution designed to help enterprises manage high-volume distributed projects. Key features include collaboration, planning and forecasting, performance analysis, reporting and more. Sitetracker... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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BQE Core - Integrated Project Management and Accounting

BQE Core is a cloud-based solution that offers integrated business accounting, project management, and business intelligence. It can support the operations of a variety of industries, including legal services, architecture firms, engineering,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Work-Relay

Work-Relay is an enterprise work management system that brings together task, process, project, and resource management in a single, unified application. Work-Relay ensures that work patterns are clearly defined, timelines are well... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Targetprocess

Targetprocess is a cloud-based enterprise visual platform which connects Portfolio, Products and Teams. The tool perfectly reflects the agile methodology and can help any company to adopt and scale agile across the enterprise. To... Read more

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Kimble

Kimble focuses exclusively on professional services automation (PSA), innovating a best-in-class SaaS platform that works seamlessly with CRM. Recommended by global leaders in consulting, software and hi-tech, Kimble helps professional... Read more

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Financial Cents

Financial Cents is an easy to use practice management solution built for accountant and bookkeepers. Track client work, communicate with your team, store client information, and track your client’s financial performance all in one... Read more

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Deltek WorkBook

Deltek WorkBook is a cloud-based agency management system that provides a way to manage resources, schedule jobs and record time. With this system, organizations can manage projects, control budget, store documents and more. Deltek... Read more

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Planifi

Visual Planning from Planifi is visual staffing and scheduling software purpose-built for (A/E) architecture and engineering firms. The software is built from the ground-up with a focus on ease-of-use for A/E (architecture and engineering)... Read more

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: May 21, 2020

Scrum is one of the most popular frameworks for implementing agile project management (PM). Nearly 60 percent of organizations currently practicing agile use scrum, and an additional 18 percent use a modified version of scrum.

Whether you’re considering adopting a non-traditional approach to PM or you’re an experienced scrum team, there are a variety of tools on the market that can help support your processes.

We’ve created this guide to help you better understand the scrum software available to you, as well as how these tools fit into the larger project management space.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Scrum?
What Is Scrum Software?
Common Features of Scrum Software
Benefits and Potential Issues

What Is Scrum?

Before we dive into scrum and scrum software, here’s a quick review of what agile is and how it differs from traditional, waterfall, project management:

Agile PM is designed to help teams manage change over the duration of a project. Rather than planning out a project from start-to-finish before kickoff, teams work on projects in incremental phases and incorporate more opportunities for feedback into their workflows. This helps teams address and better respond to changing needs and requirements over the course of a project life cycle.

Conversely, waterfall PM is sequential, i.e., non-iterative. Requirements are laid out at the start of a project and work flows from one phase to the next until completion. Waterfall PM is typically change averse, and the success of the project is measured by how closely the project delivers on initial benchmarks for scope, budget and timeline.

Scrum is an iterative approach to managing projects. Using scrum to implement agile involves three main functions:

Transparency: Processes should be highly visible and defined by a common standard. This transparency and standardization creates a shared understanding of workflows, project (or product) strategy and metrics for success.

Scrum teams use the following for transparency:

  • “Artifacts” that represent work or value, e.g., project vision statement, project backlog and sprint backlog.
  • Visualizations, e.g., scrum boards or task boards, burndown charts and velocity charts.

Inspection: Frequent and recurring examination of project goals, roadmap and incremental progress toward those goals.This helps with early risk detection and identifying areas for improvement.

Scrum teams use the following for inspection:

  • Feedback loops, e.g., sprint planning, daily scrum or stand up, sprint review and retrospectives.

Adaption: Through transparency and inspection, scrum teams and stakeholders are able to continuously assess, adapt and re-prioritize as needed to deliver the most value.

Scrum teams use the following for adaption:

  • Risk identification
  • Change requests
  • Sprint planning and backlog re-prioritization

Incidentally, the other very common agile framework aside from scrum is called kanban—check out our kanban guide to learn more.

What Is Scrum Software?

Scrum software helps agile teams accomplish transparency, inspection and adaption in several ways, including:

Creating a “single view”: Acts as a centralized repository for all project documentation or “artifacts,” and shows sprint progress and project status at a glance via team scrum boards. Teams can use these boards to inform their daily stand ups and can use past boards as a reference when planning future iterations.

Mapping/tracking workflows: Teams can use labels and filters to define workflows, which helps to standardize processes. This is also valuable during daily stand ups, because users know where an action item is in the workflow and what still needs to get done on it, as well as during sprint planning, as it helps users more accurately estimate the degree of effort required to complete certain tasks. Users specifically developing applications might be interested in dedicated ALM tools

Facilitating collaboration: Teams can easily share files, loop in another user either via @ mentions or by following a specific task and can stay up to date with overall progress by using an activity feed and/or checking the scrum board. Additionally, users can set up alerts to receive notifications about status updates, re-prioritization of key action items or impending due dates.

Aid with roadmapping and measuring the achievement of project goals: Teams can use labels and filters to maintain the project backlog and assist with sprint planning. Items from the backlog can also be dragged-and-dropped into an upcoming sprint. Color-coding as well as visual hierarchy can also provide status updates at a glance.

Common Features of Scrum Software

Look for the following terminology and scrum software capabilities as you evaluate solutions:

  • User stories are a common way scrum teams break down and measure work. The story is written from the perspective of the customer/end-user and describes a project requirement to be completed over a sprint. The story can then be broken down into smaller tasks, issues or features and assigned out to team members.
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  • Sprints, i.e., iterations, are fixed time periods in which scrum teams work to complete a set amount of project requirements. This process is also known as timeboxing.
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  • Scrum boards are a visualization of a sprint and the team’s workflows. User stories are represented as cards and team members drag and drop the card to different columns on the board that correspond to each workflow stage. Teams often use the scrum board as a backdrop to their daily stand ups and as a tool to inform their sprint planning and retrospectives.
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  • Burndown charts are graphical representations of a sprint that chart the number of user stories or requirements in a sprint (y-axis) against the length of the sprint (x-axis). These charts are used to visualize whether or not teams are on track to complete their work by the end of the sprint.
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  • Velocity charts are graphical representations of a project that chart the pace at which teams complete requirements over the course of a project. The y-axis shows the number of story points and the x-axis shows the number of sprints. This chart can offer valuable insights into team productivity and the rate at which they work, which makes them useful planning tools.

Common Scrum Software Capabilities

Task management Assign user stories to team members and schedule start and end dates. Track the progression of stories and tasks as they move through the different columns on the scrum board. Set up notifications to alert users of status changes, updates and/or impending deadlines. Create custom fields and save story templates for reuse. Attach files to stories and invite team members to collaborate with @ mentions.
Estimating Stories are assigned a number of points based on their complexity and the level of effort, skill and time required to complete them. Some scrum tools include story-point estimating scales or a database of story templates with pre-configured points to help standardize estimating across teams.
Issue tracking Also called “bug tracking,” issue tracking allows teams to separate issues from regular project tasks and prioritize them accordingly. This process involves identifying a bug, processing it within the system and tracking its resolution.This capability is especially critical for software development teams.
Reporting Transparency is crucial in scrum, and dashboards and reporting help teams and stakeholders stay on top of project progress. Teams often run daily burndown reports and review velocity periodically during sprint planning and review. These reports can be set up to run on a set schedule or on an ad-hoc basis, and users can customize dashboards according to their needs.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Although agile PM, and scrum specifically, initially gained traction within the software development community, this iterative approach to managing projects is becoming popular with other fields as well, including finance, sales, marketing and advertising—even government.

It’s increasingly apparent that successfully deploying scrum matters less about your industry than your workflows and team/company aversion to or acceptance of change.

In fact, according to VersionOne’s 11th annual State of Agile report, some of the top challenges associated with implementing and scaling agile include:

  • Company philosophy or culture at odds with agile values
  • Lack of management support
  • General organizational resistance to change

However, teams and organizations that take the necessary steps to introduce agile practices—including processes and tools to assist with transparency, inspection and adaption—report great success, including:

  • Increased team productivity
  • Business/IT alignment
  • Project predictability
  • Project risk reduction
  • Project cost reduction