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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
Recent recommendations: 25 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations
Aysling is a cloud-based enterprise resource solution that can run an entire business, from leads to sales, through delivery to payments. Aysling is easy to deploy, configure, use, and manage while offering top-level support and... Read more
Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations
Forecast helps midsized Agencies, Consultants, Software teams and Architects kick their spreadsheets to the curb and start delivering profitable projects every time. The platform provides an intuitive interface to manage your projects,... Read more
Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations
Oracle Financials ERP Cloud is a cloud-based, end-to-end business management solution designed for midsized to enterprise-level customers. It offers a suite of applications including material planning, financial accounting, and business... Read more
Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations
Screendragon is a leading work management platform designed for marketing, agency and professional services teams. It is used and loved by global companies and agencies like Kellogg’s, BP, The International Olympic Committee and... Read more
Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations
Runn is a cloud-based resource and capacity planning software that provides you with a comprehensive view of your people, projects, and profits. Runn’s features include resource scheduling, project tracking, financial forecasting,... Read more
Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations
Polarion is a browser-based application lifecycle management (ALM) solution that allows businesses to manage all facets of the product development lifecycle. Designed for complex development environments, Polarion ALM utilizes built-in... Read more
Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations
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
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
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
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
Indema helps streamline the moving pieces of interior design firm and automates much of the project and business workflow. With Indema, an interior designer no longer needs to manage projects on Asana, Basecamp, Excel, or overly complex... Read more
LexDock is a legal operations management marketplace designed for internal legal departments of businesses of all sizes. It allows an organization’s legal officer to retain control over the company’s legal affairs. LexDock’s... Read more
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
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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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