Agile project tools for personal/open source projects

Been briefly assessing some online free tools for agile task planning for a few personal FOSS projects.

A physical task board is perhaps the suggestion from the agile purists, however not useful for me (nor my family :)).

At work I often have to use the awful Quality Center. It is good for planning functional testing, but not much else. The user interface is painful, and only works on windows with IE.

But most project I have been on eventually drop it for the more developer friendly Jira by Atlassian. Its UI gets cleaner and cleaner. And is great for Scrum projects since the intergration of GreenHopper. It is however very feature rich which is good and bad, and sometimes quite slow. I recommend Jira for distributed larger organisations. It is however an overkill for my needs.

I have been using Pivotal Tracker for some of my projects for a few years. It is a great tool. For scrum projects it is the tool I would recommend the most. They recently started charging but it is still free for public projects. It is however very iteration/scrum centric and as such not useful for my more Kanbanish time irrelevant requirements.

So I started to look at more tools (and revisit some previous ones).
My requirements are:

  1. Free, as in beer or near enough. $9/month and similar is too much for personal projects unless heavily used.

  2. Agile task board simulation

  3. Not time iteration based

  4. Simple functional UI, but not ugly

  5. Icebox feature for storing tasks/ideas not yet ready for the backlog

  6. Pivotal like Feature, Chore and Bug classification

  7. Limiting WIP

  8. Kanban queues

  9. Simple T-shirt or fibonacci estimates

Not all requirements have to be met.

Here are my initial impressions:

Pivotal Tracker

Time iterative centric.
Looks nice. Clean interface.
No WIP limit.
No kanban queue.
Got Icebox feature
Got Feature-chore-bug classification.
Fibonacci estimates.
Unlimited free public projects.

AgileZen

Kanban style flow.
Looks nice. Clean interface.
Columns can be renamed.
Got WIP limit.
No icebox. Can rename backlog icebox and rename another column backlog.
No estimates
Only 1 project on the free price plan.
FOSS projects can apply for free usage.

Kanbanery

Kanban style flow.
Looks nice. Clean interface.
Columns can be renamed.
Got WIP limit.
Got Icebox feature
Got Feature-chore-bug classification.
T-shirt estimates.
Only 1 project on the free price plan.
No FOSS free plan.

Kanbanpad

Kanban style flow.
Clean interface.
Little confusing UI.
Got Kanban queues.
Got WIP limit.
Got Icebox (the "backlog").
No estimates.
Unlimited projects.
All plans are free.
Permissions are strange. No member can edit and public can only view. Either member view and edit with no public access, or public(anonymous) can view and edit!!

Leankit

Kanban style flow.
Seems very feature rich. Perhaps too many features.
UI a little cluttered.
Tasks seems too much like post-it notes.
Only 1 project on the free price plan.
No FOSS free plan.


ScrumDO

Scrum focused.
Looks nice.
Feature rich.
UI a little confusing.
No Icebox.
No WIP limit.
No kanban queue.
Fibonacci and t-shirt estimates.
10 project on the free price plan.
No FOSS free plan.

Flow

Kanban style flow.
Tasks seems too much like post-it notes.
No Icebox.
Got WIP limit.
Only 1 project on the free price plan.
FOSS projects can apply for free usage.


I may update this in the future when I get more impressions of the ones I use and if I find other tools.


My recommendations depends, but currently they are:

  • For large commercial projects Jira offer features and reports. And can be installed inside your firewall.

  • For Scrum projects Pivotal Tracker offers the most complete package.

  • For Kanban projects, the it depends on your own requirements and taste, but my current favourites are Kanbanery and AgileZen. Kanbanpad's no restrictions on number of projects is also tempting
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