Agile project management tools use an approach to project management that focuses on improvement, regular assessment, tasks, and the people who perform those tasks. Agile project management also places high emphasis on involving customers in the design and development process and reassessing the product with them regularly so that it works best for their needs when completed.
Agile project management software allows users to see who is working on a project, leave notes on projects, link documents, and move tasks through different project stages. Users can clearly view due dates and expectations in the software’s portal.
Agile project management software uses agile methodology, a project and development model that can be implemented for multiple business sectors and technologies.
Agile project management vs. agile software development
The term agile software often encompasses both project management software and software development. Agile software development refers to the use of agile methodology while coding applications and testing software while it’s still in development. Agile project management still uses agile methodology, but for a different purpose—more efficiently designing and developing products and frequently evaluating teams’ progress.
Features and benefits of agile project management tools
Agile project management tools help businesses:
- Track all projects
- Give details about the project
- Organize the people working on projects
- Visualize progress
Agile project management uses elements of the Agile Manifesto, a list of guiding principles for agile methodology. The four core values of agile methodology are:
- Individuals and interaction over processes and tools—the importance of people and flexibility rather than just technology
- Working software over comprehensive documentation—the importance of what is actually needed rather than too many complicated instructions or plans that are no longer the most efficient
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation—the importance of working with the customer to get the best solution
- Responding to change over following a plan—observing each stage of a project and making necessary or helpful changes accordingly
Agile project management tools focus on people and their ability to work together. They don’t work effectively unless people use them to track progress, make updates to tasks, and communicate with teammates. Agile methodology and software also focuses on the product being designed rather than on a set list of plans. Teammates have regular conversations about improvement and growth.
Common features of agile project management tools include:
- Kanban boards. A Kanban approach to project management moves tasks between different stages. Typically these stages are boxes on a dashboard and left-to-right or right-to-left movement between the boxes shows where a task is moving. Tasks can usually be moved by dragging and dropping in project management tools.
- Stages of the project scheduled in sprints. Sprints typically last between 7-28 days; teams can reevaluate their progress after a short period of time. Agile software might break a calendar down into two- or three-week sprints; once each sprint has ended, teams can assess their progress over a short period and decide how to improve or change.
- Task management capabilities. These can include lists, places to drop files, status markers, and the ability to add people to a board or assign them to a task. Agile software platforms also often integrate with other applications, such as office productivity suites and collaboration tools like Slack and Teams.
- Collaboration tools. Because agile project management focuses heavily on communication, teams need ways to work closely and efficiently on projects. Agile tools often allow users to tag teammates, add comments to tasks, or integrate the software with a communication tool.
- Reports. Agile project management requires adjusting processes to reflect what teams learned during a sprint, and reports provide them with information to help them make necessary changes.
Agile project management is an attractive approach to project management and product development because it improves teams’ efficiency and accountability through clear directions, deadlines, and expectations. Benefits of using agile software include:
- An increased focus on people, both customers and project teammates. Agile methodology emphasizes the importance of human influence and interaction in projects and product development.
- A commitment to improving processes and products. Agile methodology also focuses on growth and efficiency.
- Visibility in technology. Agile project management software increases accountability by revealing teams’ progress on a digital platform.