Scrum is a brand for Agile software development. Scrum processes entail transparency, team collaboration, continuous iterations and continuous improvement as the best practices for success. The Agile project management methodology stems from the Agile software development movement. Agile software development can be bettered with the help of the Scrum project management tools.
Agile project management tools support individuals and teams to get an idea about the amount of work required during each iteration of the project. Scrum tools help users to manage the workflows of the project to reduce time and efforts. This article will provide you an insight into some of the common project management tools that can act as a driver for the Agile teams in achieving their goals. Let’s have a look into it.
1. User Stories:
User stories are written by the customer or the end user. User stories are the mediums for the Scrum teams to break down and measure their work. These help to find out the project requirements and work accordingly to traverse the course of a sprint. The big stories are split into smaller tasks. User stories simply follows one template”
“As a < type of user >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >”
An example of a user story is:
“As a customer, I want order tracking so that I can monitor my purchases”
From the example, we can split the user story into two tasks as follows:
1. Integration with the shipping company
2. Communication with the seller
Advantages of User Story tool:
With the help of this tool, teams can:
● Create user stories and break them into tasks
● Assign split tasks within the team members
● Create time limits(due date) for each task
● Attach files to the tasks and user stories
● Assign story points
● Get an overview of the requirements of the project
● Prioritize actions and plan their sprints more efficiently
Story point estimation is based on the number of team members involved in a story, the skillset of the team members and time required to complete the story.
2. Scrum Boards:
Agile software development methodology uses Scrum board tool to track the sprints. Each board contains all user stories for one sprint. This tool act as a ‘visual progress meter’ for the teams. After each sprint, team members can check the Scrum board to conduct a review of the work and the time associated with that work. Accordingly, Scrum teams can improve their work to meet a deadline.
Scrum board consists of three stages- to-do, in-progress and done. So, team members can drag and drop the cards at the required stage. Teams can set the deadlines of the task for the teams and for individuals as well, can track the time spent on each task, can set sharing rights for the team members to access the boards from any location.
Advantages of Scrum Boards:
The benefits of Scrum Boards are:
● Managers can track the time used for completion of the task and complete the task.
● The ‘plan mode’ allows distribution of the workload among the team members when they are not sure about achieving the deadlines.
● Managers can track the progress of the teams.
● Remotely working employees can access all project information.
3. Sprint Backlogs:
The Sprint backlog is the list of the user stories and tasks which are carried out from the project backlog (contains a list of requirements of the project) and can be completed during each sprint. The Sprint backlogs can be represented under ‘to-do’ stage of the Scrum board.
During Sprint planning, user stories are selected that are moved to the sprint backlog. With this tool, the manager can see the current sprint before moving on to the next sprint, can set alerts for the changes fluctuated in the sprint backlog, and can prevent replication of the data & has different ways to improve scaled sprint review
Advantages of Sprint Backlogs:
● Managers can keep control over the planning and organize the sprints for the teams.
● Teams always become updated about all the actions.
● Replication can’t be possible, which automatically saves time and efforts.
● Collaboration increases among the team members.
4. Burndown Charts:
When the Sprint planning is represented graphically, plotting the total time left in the sprint against the work left to complete the sprint is known as the Burndown Charts. This scrum management open source tool can be very effective for the teams and Managers as well. Below is the diagram for Burndown Chart.
Y-axis represents total no. of user stories to be completed
X-axis represents the time given for each sprint
Upward direction shows the added work
Horizontal line indicates non-completion of work during that period
Vertical line indicates either the task is dropped or not reported
Advantages of Burndown Charts:
● This tool can save timings of the Managers by automatically running charts, instead of creating them manually.
● It will be easy for the team members to track the progress, rather than finding through e-mail.
● It makes planning easy for the Managers.
These free Scrum Project Management tools can help the Agile teams increase the transparency for more productivity and rapid progress. Teams can increase accuracy by optimizing and saving time and efforts, and teams can predict the task and the time required to complete that task. These can be the best Scrum tools for the teams to structure and improve their workflow for managing a project in the organization.
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