David vs Goliath
If you’re a self-proclaimed agile aficionado you know this is a David vs Goliath comparison. Maybe you’ve never heard of Scrumwise but you’ve likely heard of Jira and its reputation for being the heavy-hitting all encompassing tool for managing Agile software development. So why put an A-lister head-to-head against the guy who stared in the straight-to-DVD film? Well, Scrumwise represents the emergence of tools that offer a powerful yet simple approach to managing scrum. Depending on the type of product you’re building, the complexity of that product and the size of your team its absolutely imperative that you select the right tool.
Here’s a simple selection criteria to help you choose the right scrum management tool.
- Enjoyable and is fun to use – Tools that are enjoyable to use and offer a rewarding experience often make the biggest difference because they encourage further usage. If the majority of your team hates the tools you’ve selected try going with something they are excited about. Chances are adoption rates will increase which will ultimately help your team increase their adherence to scrum principles.
- A tool that is easy to use – Scrum is adaptive. Scrum is fast-paced. The tool you select should make your life easier and make scrum work better for your team. A simple rule to follow is the one sprint rule. If your team cannot adjust to using a new tool within one sprint you should get rid of it.
- Easy to Setup and Manage – A tool may be shiny, polished and feature-rich but don’t forget to consider its setup and management. Managing the tool and your teams use of the tool could require a lot of time. Ensure that you or someone within the team has the capacity to manage this or select a tool with very little overhead.
- Provides flexibility and some level of customisation – Try to select a scrum tool that gives you some flexibility. At a minimum choose a tool that allows you to select which modules you’d like to use and which you’d like to leave alone. Being forced to use certain aspects of a scrum tool because it’s a requirement of the tool usually means additional overhead and likely a deviation from point #1.
- Allows you to work the way you want to work – A hidden element built into every scrum management tool is the methodology and overall thought-process of the developing organisation. Often times those who develop the tool may put more emphasis on lean principles vs agile principles or vice-versa. Try to select a tool that uses a development paradigm that is most aligned to your organisation. No amount of flexibility can compensate for a tool that is not designed to work the way your team wants.
- Portable – Scrum works best with a cross-functional and co-located team however many teams are just unable to achieve that. The tool you select should offer access no matter where you are. Access from a web browser is the standard these days. To go a step further the tool should have an intuitive companion app that allows access while your team members are on-the-go.
So, how do Jira and Scrumwise compare when using this selection criteria? Both tools are enjoyable to use with Jira offering a bit more polish and professionalism. Although both tools are easy to use Scrumwise is the clear winner when it comes to ease of setup and management. Jira and Scrumwise offer some degree of flexibility but Jira offers the most flexibility and customisation particularly with its workflow feature and a wide-array of bolt-on tools such as confluence and bitbucket. Both tools offer strong adherence to agile principles but Scrumwise tends to be a bit more restrictive when it comes to its underlying methodology. As for portability Scrumwise is sadly the loser in this battle as it does not offer a mobile application and is built using Flash.
If you need to get a team up and running very quickly I would recommend using Scrumwise because its intuitive, easy to use and extremely fast to setup and manage. If you’ve got several medium-to-large projects or you work in a growing agile organisation I would recommend Jira as it offers the most flexibility and provides an endless number of enhancements that allow you to work with fewer restrictions while providing multiple options for maturity.