Small business IT project managers face unique project management challenges. In the learning phase of a project life cycle (i.e., testing and implementation), they have to manage dependencies on IT components and balance the project scope and speed, as well as iterations.
Small business IT managers can address these challenges by adopting an agile workflow. An agile workflow can help them incorporate iterations and handle complex projects one-by-one.
What’s the benefit of an agile workflow? It lets IT managers break complex projects into smaller tasks (such as code creation, code review, and testing) that are completed in a stipulated time. They can also customize workflows to integrate continuous feedback, iterations, and best practices in the project to avoid overspend and delays.
You should use agile workflows to effectively manage IT resources with greater flexibility, detect problems in your IT products, and quickly resolve them to achieve better product quality. In turn, these will improve end-user satisfaction, increase sales, and grow revenue.
In this article, we’re comparing popular project management tools that offer features to support agile workflow features. We compared these tools based on their user reviews on GetApp. Read more about our methodology at the bottom of the page.
The top-rated apps for agile workflows in IT project management (arranged alphabetically) are:
Asana is a cloud-based project management tool that offers project managers the ability to break down complex tasks into smaller tasks, or subtasks. It aims to help teams collaborate on and discuss projects, while also storing information about tasks and projects in a single place.
Asana also lets users modify and change processes and workflows as per their project requirements. Below is an overview of the features it offers to keep IT projects agile:
Break down complex IT projects into tasks and subtasks in a list view. Set deadlines and assignees for all tasks. Adjust and modify project plans as per the deadlines and changes in the work during project execution.
Set a sprint plan. Create and organize tasks under categories such as backlog, ready, in-progress, and done. Move tasks according to priority and change the status.
Use the timeline view to create a project plan, share it with your team, and inform them about dependencies, your vision, and the execution plan. This feature offers the flexibility of adding changes to processes during project execution and maintaining deadlines.
Share documents and information about projects and tasks in Asana to keep each team member in the loop about developments, hold-ups, challenges, and changes in the process flow.
Ensure project security by limiting access to tasks and projects for stakeholders.
Product roadmap in Asana (Source)
Based on an analysis of Asana reviews on GetApp, here’s an overview of general user sentiment:
Users like the kanban board view for projects. Specifically , they like to drag and drop tasks and track due dates across all boards and lists with the ability to adjust them according to the project requirements.
Asana is favorably reviewed for its ease of use. Users like that they can assign tasks, create projects, break them into smaller tasks, and define the project scope, and track deadlines.
Some users also like that the mobile app is functional and visually appealing, and that it lets them track and manage projects on the go.
However, users say they'd like to be able to shift from the list view to kanban board view at any time during project management for a better view of projects.
Some users also want better customizations for agile software development, with better burndown charts and backlog management.
Asana lets IT users create projects and share them with only the relevant stakeholders. For that reason, it's well-suited to organizations with remote IT teams and for multiple freelance web developers working together.It also suits global organizations with multiple projects and stakeholders that need to collaborate on shared projects. They can manage dependencies on projects and customize workflows to manage product development, launches, and testing in one place despite having remote teams.
Jira is a project management solution that offers cloud-based and on-premise options. It lets users customize workflows and offers features such as kanban boards and scrum boards to help teams be more agile.
Here’s an overview of Jira’s features that help IT projects remain agile:
Use the plan mode to customize scrum boards, create a list of to-do items, and assign estimated deadlines. Use the active sprint mode to organize each item based on the status of completion and trends from the previous sprints to determine the next best action for your IT projects.
Use kanban boards to work on open-ended IT projects that don't have a deadline. Track task status without having to assign estimated timelines to user stories. Also, stay updated on the project status.
Generate agile reports to find areas for improvement in your sprint planning. Customize workflows to add milestones (such as planning, tracking, and releasing software) to your software projects if scrum and kanban don't work for your team. With access to accurate information, team members can be fully transparent with the work progress.
Use Jira Epics and user stories (agile artifacts in Jira) to capture and classify large chunks of work that can be broken down into smaller tasks. This allows for effectively managing user-specific tasks such as writing product backlog items. Create IT project roadmaps to communicate project objectives, along with expected delivery dates, to all stakeholders.
Set permissions to set security for each project. Give edit and access permissions to selected team members to maintain your IT project security.
Sprints in Jira (Source)
Based on an analysis of reviews on GetApp, here’s an overview of general user sentiment for Jira:
Reviewers are positive about Jira's ability to guide IT managers through the process of project planning. Managers can drag tasks and assign a status such as "not started," "in progress," or "completed."
Some users note that its auto-generated burndown charts and kanban view of tasks help them plan for successful project execution.
Users like the ability to create sprints and organize the stories in each sprint so that tasks and statutes are clearly visible for everyone. They're also able to customize the dashboard and adjust the workflow and functionality to suit their organization.
However, some reviewers feel that Jira should be simplified and its operations should be swifter. For instance, when a new ticket is created in kanban view, it requires several clicks to move it from "backlog" into "in progress." Similarly, making or editing tasks also takes time.
Other users would like Jira to be more customizable. They want to be able to move multiple tickets from the current sprint to the next sprint more conveniently. They also want lean analytics and kanban analytics to see the average cycle time or time in queue to improve project management.
Jira is suitable for big teams and tech-savvy users. IT teams dealing with customer-related issues, such as bug resolution in a particular software platform, can use Jira to manage customer complaints by raising and managing tickets. They can streamline their workflows to handle all customer complaints without missing a ticket or issue.
Monday.com is a cloud-based, visual project management and collaboration platform that helps users streamline their workflow as well as manage and track projects more effectively.
Here’s an overview of the features it offers to help IT projects stay agile:
Create sprints using the customizable templates to suit your agile workflow. Color code the sprints to see the status of tasks, assignees, their location, and due dates at a glance.
Use project roadmaps to manage and prioritize the stories, tasks, and bugs in your IT projects from one place.
Get an overview of your week if you're dealing with multiple IT projects so that you can prioritize, adjust, and plan resources on relevant projects depending on your unique time requirements.
Track sprints in kanban view to measure the progress and plan for the next-best move that improves your team's performance.
Team task view in Monday.com (Source)
Based on an analysis of reviews on GetApp, here’s what users of Monday.com feel are its most helpful agile workflow features:
Users feel that the tool is great for scrum and agile development in small and midsize IT companies, as it allows them to replicate processes. They find its visual layouts easy to use and comprehend even for first-time users.
Reviewers feel that they are more agile when using custom personal boards for their daily work. They can set reminders, prioritize tasks, and move them across the board when required. They can also combine the goals of sprints in agile teams to see how the tasks are measuring up to expectations.
However, some users said they'd prefer to have more space in the cell assigned to add project status and the option to expand a selection.
Reviewers also feel that the tool gets difficult to use when the number of projects increase; they find it difficult to separate the tasks and manage them.
Monday.com is suitable for small IT businesses that wish to minimize project management time and don't want to spend much time resolving IT tickets. However, you still need a solution to successfully manage IT-related issues such as bug tracking.Monday.com offers customizable templates for IT teams that can be modified to suit their products. Teams can visually arrange and track bug resolution for their software products.
Trello is a cloud-based tool that offers visual collaboration and project management features. Teams can organize, track, and manage their project execution using Trello cards. They can also use Trello boards to stay up to date about every project in the organization.
Here’s an overview of the features offered by Trello that help IT projects remain agile:
Trello cards help you organize your IT projects, with the help of due dates and checklists. Drag and drop Trello cards in real time to prioritize tasks and stay agile.
Customize your workflow and categorize tasks as per their status. Use "done" tasks to make quarterly reports and define future initiatives. Use "current sprint" to focus on smaller tasks under each larger IT project and define deadlines. Use "next up" and "in progress" sprints to manage your pipeline and meet deadlines.
Update your team on current company-wide projects using Trello boards. Share your personal board with the team and add collaborators to work on projects together.
Add comments and relevant attachments to cards so your team has accurate and complete information.
Manage security for your IT projects by managing users' access permissions. Add observers to restrict board use to "view only," and invite guests to view boards even if they aren't part of your team. Board admins can enable a member to do anything within the board.
View of Trello boards (Source)
Based on an analysis of reviews on GetApp, here’s what Trello users feel are its most helpful agile workflow features:
Users find that Trello offers ease of use and has an intuitive interface with features such as kanban, milestones, and feature boards to help their teams be more agile.
They also like power-ups for calendar views that help with day-to-day resource scheduling, thus, enabling successful agile project management.
Some users like that they can add tags, labels, and color codes to boards. This makes it easy to recognize projects for clients or internal stakeholders. It also helps them better prioritize and organize their projects.
However, some users dislike that the cards and lists get overwhelming as the projects get bigger. They'd prefer simpler operations for complex projects. They'd also like time tracking features and the ability to assign cards as subtasks of other cards to account for agile epics.
Some reviewers also feel that it is difficult to drag an assignment from the "to-do" list to the "ongoing" or "done" lists. They want the process of moving assignments from one list to another to be smoother.
Trello is good for small-scale sprints in IT projects, as it's difficult to coordinate and manage bigger projects that require a greater number of boards. The tool is useful for teams that are on the go and don't wish to use a complex tool, and would rather manage projects visually.
Zenkit is a cloud-based project management application that helps users manage tasks, allocate resources, and budget effectively during the project life cycle. The solution facilitates communication and collaboration for team members and improves productivity.
Here’s an overview of the features offered by Zenkit that help IT projects remain agile:
Stay updated about each project with the "my calendar" view that prioritizes and organizes resources. The team inbox offers a simplified view of all the projects and shows each item, as well as its assignee.
Track project activities in real time switching to the "activities" tab in the navigation bar at the top. Know what the teams and individuals are doing; also, mitigate and address risks immediately.
Categorize items in Zenkit using labels in kanban view. Assign priority tasks and track their progress to achieve your deliverables. Delegate smaller tasks to team members in the larger projects; notify them about new tasks as tasks are created.
Break down complex tasks using checklists and mark things off once they're done to visually track progress. Turn projects into to-do lists and mark them as done.
Group kanban boards and track any member's progress to manage the priority matrix and implement process changes. You can switch to kanban, list, table, or calendar view at any time.
Use comments, @mentions, and file sharing to collaborate within the tool. Also, ensure that the team is connected on all project updates or changes.
Kanban board in Zenkit
Based on an analysis of reviews on GetApp, here’s what users of Zenkit feel are the most helpful agile workflow features of the tool.
Users feel that Zenkit makes it convenient to brainstorm, with the help of mind maps. They can create tasks and execute them in Kanban, list, or table view.
Users also like that Zenkit offers different types of views and gives them flexibility for the scope and customization they want.
Other users have positively reviewed it for its customizations in fields, aggregations, checklists, and more.
Reviewers like that they can conveniently connect kanban cards across boards, which helps project managers inform team members about outcomes by keeping the analysis and information in one place.
Some users would like to see more metrics and reports, such as project lead time and issue burndown, to be able to measure progress.
Other users would prefer to be able to attach documents to individual comments instead of at the top level of a card. They'd like to extend the export/import functionality to allow easy data exchange between Zenkit and other software.
Zenkit is suitable for IT teams that are working with large volumes of data and need easy access to it, so they can automate their processes. The tool offers features that allow users to keep similar data connected and in sync. It offers "global search" of archived items to locate relevant data.Zenkit is also suitable for IT field service agents, as it has a work offline feature. This helps agents continue managing their tasks even when they're visiting places with unreliable networks or internet connections.
Choosing the right project management software for your IT projects is important to ensure security, agility, and an ROI. Here are a few factors that can help you choose the right software:
Hold stakeholder meetings and flesh out your top business objectives. Based on these factors, choose a solution that meets most, if not all, of your business needs.
Opt for a solution that's scalable and lets you manage remote team members. Learn about the integrations that will enhance project management capabilities of the solution you choose.
Try out product features with the help of trials and demos before you invest in a solution to make sure that you get value for money.
Compare more project management tools that offer agile project management capabilities
See a side-by-side comparison of the project management apps featured in this article
Check out our blog for more articles on project management software
The solutions highlighted in this article are the project management software systems that offer agile project management capabilities for IT projects and had the highest overall user rating from among the most reviewed products at the time of writing (the week of October 28, 2018). Here's an overview of our method for choosing this list of top-rated apps:
We filtered collaboration products that offered features facilitating agile project management. The list of 50 products was then arranged in descending order, with those having the highest average customer review at the top. From among the top 10 products with the highest number of reviews, the five having the highest user ratings and at least 20 customer reviews specific to agile workflow process were shortlisted.
The "User feedback trends" section for each product is based on the analysis of feedback for the feature discussed, from users who left reviews on GetApp.
Additional information in the article is compiled from vendor websites and other secondary sources, wherever mentioned.
NOTE: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of GetApp.