Saturday, 14 January 2012

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

10 comments:

Hong said...

Hello Ivar.

I'm from Kanbanpad and just ran into your blog. Sorry to hear you're having trouble with registering, however the email validation does not restrict + or subdomains. I've registered emails with the + before (I use it with gmail to set labels). I've just tried and was able to register hello+test@test.example.com as an account.

If you would please give us a little more information (such as the email address you attempted to use) please send us an email at feedback@kanbanpad.com so we can diagnose this issue.

Sorry again for the trouble. I hope to hear back from you so we can help make your experience (and others) much better!

Thank you for trying Kanbanpad! =]

Hong said...

PS:

We do have an Icebox, it's the "Backlog". You can click the black button to the left of the task creation text box to open up the list to see.

And yes, we do know the UI's a little different and confusing. We're working on a documentation section that will (hopefully) explain its concepts for new users.

Thanks again

flurdy said...

Thanks Hong,

I tried Kanbanpad again, and had no issues registering. So whatever caused my problem is no longer an issue.

I have updated the blog to reflect this and that the backlog fulfils the icebox feature I was looking for.

Anonymous said...

Hi, for kanban projects I also recommend Kanban Tool . It's a simple but powerful application. I never had any problems with this tool and I'm happy to see its development.

flurdy said...

Further options are kanbanflow.com , www.taskboard.cognifide.com , www.simple-kanban.com and trello.com

Nicolas Grilly said...

I had similar requirements and ended up using www.getsmartq.com, after having tested all the solutions you mentioned. But it's not free. Don't know if they offer something free for open source projects...

david said...

For my Kanban process i preffered kanban tool.Keep up the good work!

john said...

Such an woderfull writing.it will deffiniately work as my stuff to my process.thanks for sharing.

Zoe Tazaki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zoe Tazaki said...

I used Kanbanpad for quite a while, and was shocked to see it shut down. So much time lost. I've switched to Kanban Tool and I actually like it better.