Traditionally, the industry has been using waterfall method for development and project management is its concept. A simple software development cycle consists of the Requirement gathering, Analysis, Design, Coding, Testing and implementation. The team had a time advantage. They could invest time in understanding, learning and implementing. Gradually, the market picked up a competition and the products now demanded quick development.
Agile methodology was introduced to satisfy the thirst of staying in the competition. Quick development deprived waterfall methodology of the ample time and forced us to come up with a quick solution. Agile methodology demands high quality and fast delivery. The time to design, analyse and Implement is simply sucked up. Immediate prototypes are created as per initial understanding of the requirement. Several iterations and re-iterations on the prototypes are created to come up with a final product, actually matching the customer requirements.
With this agility, the scope of mismanagement sneaked in. Rather than mismanagement, we may focus on the word ‘Gap’. This was a gap that could be filled by collaboration tools or customer portals. This gap could have been ignored or loaded with a known successful tool. Project management software from the waterfall method was now introduced in the agile methodology to aid any kind of processed development.
Project management software assisted in successful agile development in the following ways:
The first step after receiving and analysing the requirements is the estimation of project completion and sprint planning. The number of sprints can be planned and followed with this tool. Different scrum teams can set up their own sprint work load and deadlines. Any project management software allows the scrum master or the project manager to follow these leads on a strict basis.
2. Personal Progress Mapping
Agile software is about quick and quality development. The team comprises of very qualified developers responsible for the development and delivery of their own module. The scrum master can visualize the performance of individual team member. This tracking is also helpful at the end of the sprint or around the time of appraisal where each one needs to get his/her due credit. This helps in coming up with a better product quality.
3. Cooperative Platform
Any software development is about collaboration between team members and their work. The tasks are interdependent, demanding a universal and transparent platform to be informed of each other’s work. Software management tool provides a cooperative tool for different activities like:
- Document and data centre – Face to face conversation is the most preferred mode of communication in agile. It is preferred that any issue is resolved immediately with vocal communication. Although beneficial, this attitude deprives the team of documentation, and mostly the important information dies in the mail chains. The important data and documents can be stored at one platform which is accessible to all. Major information can be stored and shared here.
- Issue tracking – Issues along with logging can be tracked. They can be prioritised, and the ones requiring immediate attention can be taken up by the team. The scrum master or manager has an in-hand tool to calculate the impact and completion estimation of the logged issue.
- Feedback portal – Since agile software is so fast, developers ideally do not get ample time to understand and analyse the requirement. The first prototype is developed within a week. The process of customer feedback for better understanding starts, and this may consume time. Project management tool acts as a global platform for the developer to display the development and customer to give the feedback instantly. Accordingly, the development starts. A higher level of customer satisfaction can be achieved this way.
- History portal – To keep track of all the changes, time estimation and issue is very important. Project management software is one single data portal for keeping all the required records. This historic data is helpful for every member. The time estimation in the completion of different tasks and issues can be used by the scrum master for better forecasting of future projects.
4. Constructive Reporting
Report generation is very important after every sprint or project completion. The software enables the scrum master to analyse the time and reason behind the initial and final estimates. The team performance can be mapped, analysed and worked upon for the upcoming sprints. There are a variety of reports and charts that visually simplify the result and help in better team understanding.
A good management tool invites active participation of every team member, aids the scrum master in tracking and results in faster delivery of the product. Agile project management is a very common term today, and there are varieties of agile project management tools in the market. Before jumping on the first tool, we must evaluate each tool with its pros and cons.