Agile development is standard operating procedure in many companies today, and not only in IT departments. Agile discipline is being used in marketing, accounting, HR, and more. In each of those cases everything is much more agile with the right tools.
It's important to note that agile development doesn't require any particular tool or set of tools. Yet the right tools can make a huge difference when it comes to making agile effective for your organization. So what does a tool have to do in order to be an Agile tool?
First, the tool must be able to track the sorts of metrics and goals that apply to Agile projects. That means tracking time, progress, and time to completion, generating reports meaningful to different stakeholders, and supporting quality assurance goals for the project.
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Next, a valuable Agile tool must support communications -- within and between teams -- that contain task lists, ongoing feedback, and task assignments for team members. It's important that the communications work for geographically distributed teams. They should also provide appropriate information for stakeholders and managers who aren't explicitly part of the team, but who need to be kept up-to-date on project progress.
Finally, the tool should be able to assist in evaluating performance, identifying and providing feedback on performance, and locating mitigating errors. Now, not every tool will address all of these issues, but if a tool doesn't address any of them, then it's probably not a great Agile tool.
Many of these tools will be valuable for development efforts that aren't Agile, and some can be used for tasks that aren't related to development at all. When you're looking for tools that will aid and assist your Agile dev team, though, these are candidates that you should consider.
Are there other tools that should make the list? Are there tools that your team is using that others should know about? Let me know in the comments section below -- and let the InformationWeek community benefit from your experience.
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