One of the basic tenets of agile is to favor “individuals and interactions over processes and tools,” as stated in the Agile Manifesto. This, however, has not stopped the onslaught of vendors' claims that their tools are perfect for your agile implementations. My hope here is to introduce you to the many tools' options available for the different aspects of agile development methodology.
I will look at various tools designed to help your agile efforts in the areas of application lifecycle management (ALM), project management (PM), version management (VM), requirements management (RM), and issue or defect management (I/DM). While my list won’t be exhaustive, it will be a starting point for your efforts.
For ALM, Rally Software offers a complete ALM solution that integrates with a wide variety of other tools. If you’re looking for other options, a presentation on Slideshare offers a large number of tools that claim to be agile-ALM centric. Another presentation on Slideshow explains how to pick an agile ALM tool, and this is a great resource to help you in your decision.
Target Process offers a PM tool that they say works with Scrum or kanban. They even have an electronic post-it noteboard for your teams. VersionOne also offers a tool that is centered on Scrum, kanban, lean, XP, and hybrid. Rally Software offers AgileZen, which the company touts as a new way of thinking about project management.
Strangely, version management is the one area where I could not find a lot of information or tools available. For VM, I would recommend looking at Subversion, Git, Mercurial, Serena, or IBM. Apparently the need to check in, check out, and branch code doesn’t need to be more agile.
If you’re looking for a release management tool, I found a great video introduction to Jama Contour, an agile RM tool.
When looking at agile RM tools, companies like Rally and Version One offer tools in their respective ALM offerings. For a list of other RM tools, check out this piece on Bright Hub PM, which offers its evaluation of several agile RM tools, including Agilefant, Pivotal Tracker, and Agilo.
For issue/defect management tools, I was pointed to Yodiz, which was recommended by two commenters on another site. Of course, remember that the ALM offerings I mentioned above have this I/DM-capability built in. Additionally, OnTime offers a Scrum-based tool that has capabilities in both I/DM as well.
The main purpose of this story was to let you know that even though the Agile Manifesto favors individuals and interactions over processes and tools, the software industry has filled the gap with a lot of different tools to help you in your agile efforts.
I would be interested to hear what tools you use for your agile efforts.
Joe Townsend has been in the configuration management field for twelve years. He has worked for CNA Life Insurance, RCA, Boeing, UPS, and in state government. Joe has primarily worked with Serena tools, including PVCS Version Manager, Tracker, TeamTrack (Mashups), and Dimensions. He is an administrator for WebFocus and supports Eclipse users.