Do you really need an agile tool?

Posted on September 7th, 2011 in Agile, Kanban, Tool by siddharta || 1 Comment

A lot of people doing agile want to use an agile tool for a vague notion of “tracking stuff”.

They assume

  • That their execution will somehow be more “efficient” if a tool is used
  • That by spending a little bit (or lot) of money, it can replace the time and hard work required to get agile to work
  • That they can forget about process and do some other work

Well, if these are the reasons for using a tool, then I can confidently predict right now that your tool investment will fail.

There are many, many valid reasons to use a tool – where the tool can make a difference you could not do without it. But let’s be clear – all these reasons depend on your individual context, they do not universally apply for every team. Which is why you need to think carefully about your needs in a tool.

A tool is extremely valuable when

  • You have distributed teams and you are finding it difficult to keep in sync
  • You want to involve customers, stakeholders or management and they are not in the room with you
  • You would like historical data or archival records of all the past actions in the project
  • You need to keep a record of data for compliance purposes
  • You want to calculate certain metrics every day and it is too time consuming to do it by hand
  • You need to coordinate multiple teams together

If you don’t have a clear picture of why exactly you need a tool, and all you know is that you want to “track stuff” (why?) then you are throwing money down the drain.

Finally, take a look at the Physical board vs Electronic board debate and weigh the pro and con of each approach for your context.

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One Response to “Do you really need an agile tool?”

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