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One2Team logo
 
One2Team is a project and collaboration management solution recommended to enterprise companies in industries such as construction, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, finance, and food & beverage. One2Team’s software includes... Read More
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One2Team is a project and collaboration management solution recommended to enterprise companies in industries such as construction, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, finance, and food & beverage. One2Team’s software includes... Read More
 
Sciforma logo
 
Created using English and Latin derivatives, Sciforma means “the science of planning”. In 1982, they introduced the first project management solution to the market, a Project Scheduler, and for the past three decades, they have... Read More
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Created using English and Latin derivatives, Sciforma means “the science of planning”. In 1982, they introduced the first project management solution to the market, a Project Scheduler, and for the past three decades, they have... Read More
 
KPI Fire logo
 
KPI Fire is a cloud-based collaboration tool that provides team members with a dashboard view of shared company objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). It is suitable for large and midsize companies in all industries. The... Read More
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KPI Fire is a cloud-based collaboration tool that provides team members with a dashboard view of shared company objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). It is suitable for large and midsize companies in all industries. The... Read More
 
SmartCore logo
 
SmartCore from Ninth Wave is a Web-based project management solution designed to allow users to collaborate and share information in an adaptable environment via dashboards and reports. Within SmartCore, users gain access to several... Read More
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SmartCore from Ninth Wave is a Web-based project management solution designed to allow users to collaborate and share information in an adaptable environment via dashboards and reports. Within SmartCore, users gain access to several... Read More
 
AgileZen logo
 
AgileZen is a Web-based project management solution that organizes tasks visually to provide a holistic view of an entire project. The AgileZen project management system is based on the lean concept of Kanban, which consists of a... Read More
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AgileZen is a Web-based project management solution that organizes tasks visually to provide a holistic view of an entire project. The AgileZen project management system is based on the lean concept of Kanban, which consists of a... Read More

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VersionOne logo
 
VersionOne is a Web-based end-to-end enterprise agile life cycle management tool that can be used by teams across all levels, portfolio and programs. The software is suitable for organizations of all sizes. VersionOne features agile... Read More
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VersionOne is a Web-based end-to-end enterprise agile life cycle management tool that can be used by teams across all levels, portfolio and programs. The software is suitable for organizations of all sizes. VersionOne features agile... Read More
 
CA Agile Central logo
 
CA Agile Central is a cloud-based project management software system. It is suitable for organizations of all sizes. Key features include team collaboration, project management, product and portfolio management, analytics and metrics... Read More
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CA Agile Central is a cloud-based project management software system. It is suitable for organizations of all sizes. Key features include team collaboration, project management, product and portfolio management, analytics and metrics... Read More
 
YouTrack logo
 
YouTrack is an issue tracker and project management solution that allows software development and testing teams to collaborate, track and resolve bugs and manage project workflows. YouTrack’s Issue Reporting feature enables managers... Read More
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YouTrack is an issue tracker and project management solution that allows software development and testing teams to collaborate, track and resolve bugs and manage project workflows. YouTrack’s Issue Reporting feature enables managers... Read More
 
Roadmap logo
 
Roadmap is project planning software that integrates task, resource and project data across a customer’s commonly-used project tracking tools, such as GitHub, JIRA and Basecamp. Roadmap allows users to report, track and forecast... Read More
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Roadmap is project planning software that integrates task, resource and project data across a customer’s commonly-used project tracking tools, such as GitHub, JIRA and Basecamp. Roadmap allows users to report, track and forecast... Read More
 
GitHub logo
 
GitHub is a project management and code sharing platform that allows users to share their codes with others and create/iterate using collective intelligence. The software can be used for different kinds of coding assignments including... Read More
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GitHub is a project management and code sharing platform that allows users to share their codes with others and create/iterate using collective intelligence. The software can be used for different kinds of coding assignments including... Read More

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GitLab logo
 
GitLab is a cloud-based project management platform that allows software developers to develop and manage codes collaboratively. The platform can be deployed either on-premise or in the cloud. GitLab helps developers manage the complete... Read More
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GitLab is a cloud-based project management platform that allows software developers to develop and manage codes collaboratively. The platform can be deployed either on-premise or in the cloud. GitLab helps developers manage the complete... Read More
 
SpiraTeam logo
 
SpiraTeam is a project management solution that offers collaboration and quality assurance tools for businesses of all sizes and within all industries. The solution can be deployed either in the cloud or on-premise and is compatible... Read More
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SpiraTeam is a project management solution that offers collaboration and quality assurance tools for businesses of all sizes and within all industries. The solution can be deployed either in the cloud or on-premise and is compatible... Read More
 
ONLYOFFICE logo
 
ONLYOFFICE is a cloud-based and on-premise project management solution suitable for small, midsize and large companies. It caters to individuals, educational institutions, affiliates and nonprofit industries. Primary features include... Read More
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ONLYOFFICE is a cloud-based and on-premise project management solution suitable for small, midsize and large companies. It caters to individuals, educational institutions, affiliates and nonprofit industries. Primary features include... Read More
 
Hansoft logo
 
Hansoft is an on-premise application lifecycle management (ALM) solution with key functionalities that include agile project management, dashboard creation, data analysis and report generation. The solution suits the needs of enterprises... Read More
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Hansoft is an on-premise application lifecycle management (ALM) solution with key functionalities that include agile project management, dashboard creation, data analysis and report generation. The solution suits the needs of enterprises... Read More
 
OneOps logo
 
OneOps is a cloud-based application lifecycle management (ALM) solution for software developers, information technology professionals and project managers. It is an open-source platform that can be deployed on public, private and hybrid... Read More
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OneOps is a cloud-based application lifecycle management (ALM) solution for software developers, information technology professionals and project managers. It is an open-source platform that can be deployed on public, private and hybrid... Read More

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HPE ALM logo
 
Micro Focus's HPE Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is a solution designed to help businesses in requirements management, testing and development in an agile environment. It is suitable for teams of all sizes. Key features include... Read More
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Micro Focus's HPE Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is a solution designed to help businesses in requirements management, testing and development in an agile environment. It is suitable for teams of all sizes. Key features include... Read More
 
Jixee logo
 
Founded in 2011, Jixee is an agile project management platform that helps development teams work faster and build better software by stripping down project management to only the essential features needed by developers. Jixee offers... Read More
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Founded in 2011, Jixee is an agile project management platform that helps development teams work faster and build better software by stripping down project management to only the essential features needed by developers. Jixee offers... Read More
 
JIRA logo
 
JIRA Software is an issue and project tracking tool designed for software development teams of all size, across all industries. Backed by over a decade of experience, the newly released JIRA Software combines JIRA’s historically... Read More
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JIRA Software is an issue and project tracking tool designed for software development teams of all size, across all industries. Backed by over a decade of experience, the newly released JIRA Software combines JIRA’s historically... Read More
 
Pivotal Tracker logo
 
Pivotal Tracker from Pivotal is a cloud-based agile project management solution designed to facilitate collaboration between teams and monitor progress throughout the entire project lifecycle. The solution allows team members involved... Read More
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Pivotal Tracker from Pivotal is a cloud-based agile project management solution designed to facilitate collaboration between teams and monitor progress throughout the entire project lifecycle. The solution allows team members involved... Read More
 
Taiga logo
 
Taiga is an open source, agile project management platform intended for smaller (fewer than 50) teams of developers, designers, project managers and other agile methodology practitioners in fields from marketing to engineering and... Read More
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Taiga is an open source, agile project management platform intended for smaller (fewer than 50) teams of developers, designers, project managers and other agile methodology practitioners in fields from marketing to engineering and... Read More

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Buyer's Guide

by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: November 21, 2017


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
 

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