Scrum master tools – AgileZen

by Scott Austin August 24, 2012

Scrum master tools – AgileZen

I've talked about how my company is using the lean methodology.  We've actually got a product team now, not just a single techie!  We've got 2 devs and 2 designers onboard and are recruiting more devs.  So we've now got to be a little more organized and coordinated with our product development activities.  We know than we are going to use the agile / scrum method.  Being the non-techie (the one who provides no code or design) of the group, I naturally got elected to be the scrum master.  I'm also the product owner.  (Agile best practices say that the same person should not be the scrum master and the product owner, but we're small enough that we're combining the two.)  So I'm responsible for building the stories that go in the backlog, stack ranking the backlog, determining what goes in each sprint and ensuring that we deliver on our commits in each sprint.  Even across a small team, it's alot of data to consolidate, organize and coordinate.  I knew I needed a tool that would help me with all of this.  I knew excel would not be good enough.  I needed something in the cloud that everyone on the team could access.  I could also benefit from something that automated the workflow a bit (or preferably a lot).

I have never been a scrum master before nor I had see the inner workings of a scrum.  So I had no knowledge of what tools are available and which would best fit our needs.  So I had a quick conversation with the team.  Each person had experience with a tool or two.  We decided to use the collective experiences to make a choice right then instead of doing an evaluation process.

We decided to use AgileZen as our solution.  We're a week into it, and I'm very happy so far.  It's a cloud based solution, which is essential for us as we are in 3 different cites.  It's got the agile methodology built in.  I entered in our backlog (unfortunately no import capability) in.  There's plenty of ways to tag, flag, comment, augment, etc the stories.  So a team has flexibility in how they use the tool.  Each person gets an account (that synchs with Gravatar).  So each member of the team owns their own story.  It's a relatively cheap subscription at $30 / month for our size team.

As a team, we've done a pretty good job of determining how we are going to implement agile and getting our whole backlog and process tracked in a tool.  I'm looking forward to learning more about the tracking and reporting aspects of the tool.  Which I'll share with you in the future.

Scott Austin
Scott Austin