How Agile Software Can Improve Iteration Efficiency

Agile SoftwareIf you’re using the agile development life cycle, then you’ve been introduced to a strange new world. Maybe you were introduced years ago or weeks ago – whenever it was, you had to learn new terminology, new processes, and a whole new way of doing things. There’s the daily scrum, planning poker, and the fibonacci-like time estimate system. There’s the master task list and the backlog list.

Basically, there’s a lot to organize. And agile won’t wait for you. You need to be organized so you can communicate quickly with your customer. You need to be able to make strong cases for why a certain piece of functionality won’t make it into the next sprint. You need to be able to reference data of your team’s work output over the last several sprints. And you need to use that data to plan the next sprint with your team.

To do all this, you need tools – you need specialized agile software. One of the tools you’ll need is a “Planning Poker Tool,” especially if you have a team spread out all over the world.

Planning Poker Agile Software

“Planning Poker” is the meeting the product owner on your team will run at the beginning of every sprint. In this meeting, tasks that haven’t been estimated yet will be estimated by the team. Instead of estimating the number of hours the task will take, a fibonacci-like scale is used: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, and 40. A 1 is a very small, fast task. The number 40 is a very large task. For each task, the product owner asks the team to flip over a card, physical or digital, with their estimate. If all the numbers are the same, the estimate is assigned. If they vary wildly, e.g. one team member says 1 and another says 13, the team members discuss. After a 2 minute discussion, an estimate is agreed upon and the team moves to the next task. The software you choose for this meeting should include a feature that allows team members to “turn over cards” that only the product owner can see. It should also include a timer.

Task Tracking Agile Software

Some additional software is needed to keep track of prioritized tasks, completed tasks, and task in the back log. It needs to allow for the estimates from planning poker to be assigned to each task and for the tasks to be moved from the “master list” to the “current sprint list” and other lists.

Agility Tracking Agile Software

You’ll need a tool that you can use to view the output of your team from sprint to sprint so you can use that to plan upcoming sprints. A simple piece of software that makes charts out of data will work – even Excel can do the job. If this feature is built into your task tracking software, it’s even better.

Those are the three main pieces of agile software you’ll need to stay on top of things in your agile project. There are many different products to choose from, both free and premium. Read customer reviews and pick the one you and your team will best be able to use.

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