Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, but here’s some good tools

One of the Scrum values is the idea of Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools and that doesn’t mean processes and tools have no value, it simply means that Scrum values individuals and interactions more than processes and tools.

The key meaning I picked up from that is your tools and processes should be valuable enough to support your Scrum process and not hinder it by introducing more overhead than necessary.

JIRA: We’ve been using JIRA for just over a month now for all customer projects, internal projects and customer support. We’re using a ‘virtual agile wall’ plug-in that makes it easy to see what’s in progress, not started or done in a sprint. We’re also using a pretty cool plug-in from Green Pepper software that allows for easy manipulation of backlog items as well as creation of burndown charts.

One of my favourite features is being able to easily print out story cards for our real agile wall so we get the benefit of tracking and the visuals in our work area. We’re also using Atlassian’s wiki (Confluence) which will be the topic of a future post.

It also can integrate with various IDE’s as well as SVN so you can associate defects (which there should be none, right?) and backlog items with your code.

Card Meeting: It’s not ready for prime-time yet, but this is a wicked electronic version of the Agile wall.

Scrumworks: I have limited experience with this one, but it’s a really quick and easy tool to manage your product backlog. If you just need a simple tool to manage your software development projects, this is a great one. It also integrates with JIRA and Bugzilla but the biggest benefit over JIRA is that it has out-of-the-box metrics like ROI and business value calculations.

I’ll be posting more information with details around our JIRA implementation in the future.