by Stephanie Watson
Published on 31 October 2012
Many software developers swear by Pivotal Tracker. It is a cloud based tool that helps teams manage the flow of a project. Each person is always looking at the same snapshot, from micro task level to the overview.
It works for many companies that use agile development where the emphasis is on collaboration, step-by-step planning and adapting as the work progresses.
Teams that use the agile approach may also want to check out two other tools available that each use a slightly different approach.
A type of agile method, Kanban means a way to visualize a set of tasks. LeanKit Kanban provides a web-based graphical tool to show work-flow in real time that is geared to both distributed and physically close teams. Color coding, avatars and visual indicators of importance and dates all help make it easy to figure out where the project stands at a glance. This emphasis on the visual makes it easy to locate bottlenecks and slowdowns.
Uses Scrum Methodology - Teams that employ the scrum methodology for software development are right at home with LeanKit Kanban. With scrum, a team focuses for a set period of time called a sprint. The goal is to deliver a usable product in two to four weeks. Teams gage how they're doing in a daily meeting or scrum. Leankit Kanban fits easily into this methodology and in addition, provides real and meaningful metrics.
Data is Current - And, available as it happens. This removes a lot of guessing and helps a team make changes at the beginning of a problem, not late in the process. Teams that need to use diagrams to show the average time it takes to get from the Start Lane to the Finish Lane appreciate the Cycle Time diagram views. These can be all the types of work, or separated out by class of service, by type of task and by priority.
Seeing is Believing - Seeing where the different aspects of the project are: in process, waiting or completed, is easy with the Efficiency Diagram. It can show the percentage or the actual number of work items in each state. The interface is intuitive and easy to set up. With one click, a board can be created from scratch, using templates or cloned from an existing board. Moving around is simple. The user can navigate anywhere in the system from one screen. This ease of use is built into the design which uses common sense as its guiding principle.
The selling point for PlanBox is the ability to drag and drop items onto its version of a virtual story board. Each person can filter the view to show just what he is working on. It is cloud-based and simply needs a browser and internet connection. Both small and large teams find it a useful tool. PlanBox emphasizes that it is adaptable and fits the needs of any size company and of a variety of departments, not just IT and software development.
Great for Students - Students have discovered how useful it is for keeping track and prioritizing tasks and so they hand in assignments on time. They find it especially easy to collaborate with others on class projects. Breaking big jobs into component parts is straightforward using the two levels of projects the tool offers. PlanBox also offers students free accounts with no user limits which makes them extra special.
Collaborate in Real Time - Everything on the PlanBox board is shown in real time. This makes collaborating easy whether the team is in the same building or in other countries. Comments, descriptions and how-to information are shared as they are posted. PlanBox also has a mobile app so info can be checked and updated on the road. Meetings can be logged without delay. It is easy to customize with apps and to integrate with other software.
Makes Work Distribution Simple - The amount of work for each member of the team is clearly outlined so loads can be distributed fairly, making the best use of each person's time. It supports all the agile methods, including Kanban and scrum with their emphasis on team interaction and customer feedback. Since changes appear as they happen, it is easy to adapt and adjust on the fly. The interface is both easy to set up for beginners to the agile method and full featured for advanced users.
As you can see these two cloud-based project management solutions are excellent alternatives to Pivotal Tracker. Why not give them a try to see if you like them. Let us know your thoughts!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net