As you maybe know we at TargetProcess develop agile project management software. We have a free community edition that is becoming popular and have about 1300 downloads already. People who request the free edition or trial provide comments. Sometimes these comments really disappoint me. Especially if I see comment like “I hope this community release help me dive into scrum. Thanks.”
What’s wrong with it? Well, I don’t know any software tool that may help to understand agile process better. If a company starts SCRUM implementation or any other agile process implementation we do not recommend to start with a tool. Hire agile coaches, read books, try simplest tools like whiteboards and sticky notes, visit conferences, try best practices, and learn! Do not invest into any software tool till you feel the need.
The team may be distributed, or large, or needs real-time progress reports desperately, or anything else. But the team should try to operate with simplest tools first. And focus on live communication. It is the only way to “feel” agile spirit. It is the only way to dive into agile.
Do not rely on a tool. It may help to resolve some problems. It may even help a lot if you have distributed team. But it may dictate or recommend some best practices, project structure, process structure and the way how you are developing software. That is something to avoid in the beginning of agile adoption. The team should invent own best practices, own project structure, own process. With this in hands the team may decide to use a tool to resolve real discovered problems.
Agile PM tool is not a silver bullet after all. Do not rely on it blindly. It should adopt to your development process, not vise versa.