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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
 
10,000ft Plans logo
 
10,000ft Plans is a cloud-based project management solution for midsize to enterprise-level organizations. It features tools for resource planning, project planning, time tracking, analytics and reporting. 10,000ft Plans offers an... Read More
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10,000ft Plans is a cloud-based project management solution for midsize to enterprise-level organizations. It features tools for resource planning, project planning, time tracking, analytics and reporting. 10,000ft Plans offers an... Read More
 
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
 
Targetprocess logo
 
Targetprocess is a cloud-based, modular project management solution that allows users to visualize and manage projects using any combination of Kanban, Scrum or the user’s own preset work solution.  The solution features an array... Read More
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Targetprocess is a cloud-based, modular project management solution that allows users to visualize and manage projects using any combination of Kanban, Scrum or the user’s own preset work solution.  The solution features an array... 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

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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
 
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
 
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
 
Jolt logo
 
Jolt is a human resource (HR) platform provided by Intuiplan. The system is scalable and appropriate for businesses of varying sizes. Companies in the food and beverage industry, hospitality and travel, retail, and others can use and... Read More
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Jolt is a human resource (HR) platform provided by Intuiplan. The system is scalable and appropriate for businesses of varying sizes. Companies in the food and beverage industry, hospitality and travel, retail, and others can use and... Read More
 
ClickUp logo
 
ClickUp is a cloud-based collaboration and project management tool suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. Features include communication and collaboration tools, task assignments and statuses, alerts and a task toolbar. Users... Read More
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ClickUp is a cloud-based collaboration and project management tool suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. Features include communication and collaboration tools, task assignments and statuses, alerts and a task toolbar. Users... Read More

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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
 
Karbon logo
 
Karbon is a task management tool that offers functionalities such as task-scheduling templates, automated reminders, kanban boards and more. Along with task management, the solution offers features such as job management and client... Read More
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Karbon is a task management tool that offers functionalities such as task-scheduling templates, automated reminders, kanban boards and more. Along with task management, the solution offers features such as job management and client... Read More
 
ITM Platform logo
 
ITM Platform is a cloud-based project management solution that helps users manage kanban board, custom task columns and documentation. The solution allows users to plan projects, set goals and assess results using real-time data.... Read More
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ITM Platform is a cloud-based project management solution that helps users manage kanban board, custom task columns and documentation. The solution allows users to plan projects, set goals and assess results using real-time data.... 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
 
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

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Checkvist logo
 
Checkvist is a cloud-based outliner and task management tool that can be used to create tasks lists, jot down notes and so on. The free version allows users to create checklists using styles such as numbers, bullets, checkboxes and... Read More
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Checkvist is a cloud-based outliner and task management tool that can be used to create tasks lists, jot down notes and so on. The free version allows users to create checklists using styles such as numbers, bullets, checkboxes and... Read More
 
IDoneThis logo
 
IDoneThis is a cloud-based team task management solution.The tool allows businesses to divide complete and pending tasks into “Goals” and “Dones”. Tasks can be organized and searched using a built-in calendar. Users can assign... Read More
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IDoneThis is a cloud-based team task management solution.The tool allows businesses to divide complete and pending tasks into “Goals” and “Dones”. Tasks can be organized and searched using a built-in calendar. Users can assign... Read More
 
VivifyScrum logo
 
VivifyScrum is a cloud-based project management tool that features boards for managing Scrum and Kanban project management techniques. It is suitable for small to midsize businesses multiple industries. Users can choose between Scrum... Read More
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VivifyScrum is a cloud-based project management tool that features boards for managing Scrum and Kanban project management techniques. It is suitable for small to midsize businesses multiple industries. Users can choose between Scrum... 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
 
GanttPRO logo
 
GanttPRO is a cloud-based project management solution for small to midsize companies, as well as individual users. The software offers Gantt charts, scheduling, progress tracking and more. GanttPRO enables managers to schedule projects... Read More
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GanttPRO is a cloud-based project management solution for small to midsize companies, as well as individual users. The software offers Gantt charts, scheduling, progress tracking and more. GanttPRO enables managers to schedule projects... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: January 27, 2018


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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