Finding Easy-To-Use Scrum Tools

Image credit: Photo Pexels & Scrum Process

TL;DR Finding an easy-to-use scrum tool is not that easy. In this post, I’ll take a look at different tools that support Product Backlog Creation, Task Management, and Sprint Planning. While there exists a lot of different tools, I investigated OpenProject, Tagia.io, and Pivotal Tracker. While all tools support agile software development, backlogs, sprint planning, OpenProject and Pivotal Tracker target professional development teams including time and budget management. For an undergraduate course, we decided to use Taiga.io which provides a beautiful user interface and is boiled down to essential features, and thus is easy-to-use.


Finding an Easy-To-Use Scrum Tool

We are currently looking for Scrum tool that we plan to use in one of our lectures. Since we plan to introduce the Scrum tool in an undergraduate course, we have the following requirements:

In essence, the tool should support the student’s scrum process but should not be a purpose or learning task itself. The tool must enable students to set up and manage a product backlog as well as sprints easily. All other tasks: managing source code, issues, and wikis are done in our University’s GitLab.

OpenProject

At first, we took a look at the tool OpenProject. OpenProject describes itself as a web-based project management system for location-independent teams. OpenProject supports a number of different features such as issue & bug management, project organization, wikis, etc. OpenProjects has built-in support for agile and Scrum projects supporting backlogs and sprints. Additionally, OpenProject can be integrated with several different development tools, e.g., continuous integration build systems like Jenkins, etc.

OpenProject is a really big platform, that allows the complete project management, budget planning, resource, employee, and time tracking. These are nice features for big projects, however, these are way too many features for an undergraduate project.
Unfortunately, the huge set of supported features makes it hard to manage OpenProject. There are a lot of different menus, settings, and budget management options, that are reasonable for real projects but are overwhelming for simple projects.

For testing, OpnProject provides ready-to-use docker container https://www.openproject.org/docker/.

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Taiga.io

Taiga.io is an open-source, web-based project management system for agile projects, providing Kanban boards, backlogs, sprint planning, etc. Taiga.io provides a very appealing, pleasant, and clean user interface with a beautiful design and low response time. In contrast to systems like OpenProject, the Taiga.io’s features are limited: there exists no time, or budget panning feature.
While these features might be interesting for big projects, they are superfluous in the context of an undergraduate course. Due to Taiga.io’s focus on essential features, it is easy-to-use. In fact, the user interface provides 4 basic menus: team, backlog, issues, wiki.

Sadly there exists no official docker container for testing Tagai.io, but the community provides docker scripts on GitHub, e.g., https://github.com/benhutchins/docker-taiga. However, the repository is a bit outdated and uses a development web server which is not ready for production. Thus, I created my own docker tagia.io scripts which can be found https://github.com/anddann/docker-taiga.

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Pivotal Tracker

Pivotal Tracker is an easy-to-use project planning system that supports agile & scrum software development projects. Therefore, it provides backlogs, sprints, tasks boards, etc. Pivotal Tracker is really easy-to-use and visually appealing. Most interaction with the tool is done by moving virtual cards through your project workflow, e.g., from ready to in progress to testing.

In short, Pivotal Tracker fulfills our requirements. In addition, Pivotal Tracker allows the integration of several source-code management systems, bug tracker, and continuous integration systems, which is nice for a professional project. Unfortunately, Pivotal Tracker is not free and cannot be self-hosted.

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