Sunday 13 February 2022

Key tools that used to manage Scrum / Agile development

At present, the tools and platforms for product development and management can be roughly divided into four categories, but no matter which one, because of the popularity of the agile concept, it can more or less support some Scrum needs, which also causes everyone to choose Scrum tools more confusing. Let's briefly talk about what these four types of tools are and what kind of environment they are suitable for.
first, the basic scrum tool

1. whiteboard

White boarding is the easiest and most straightforward way to implement Scrum, and is easy to understand for daily reporting. But there is clearly not enough support for Product Backlog, and there is no way to keep historical records, and historical records are very important for retrospectives, after all, one of the core concepts of Scrum is to achieve continuous improvement through short-term retrospectives.


Excel believes that many teams have tried, and there are many ready-made templates to use, but its main problem is that when there are more members, modifying a shared Excel file at the same time will conflict with each other and be difficult to synchronize; at the same time, the table organization takes more time, and the visual management function is not satisfied (such as burndown chart).
in addition to the most basic tools, there are three types of platforms:

Second, the platform class Scrum tool

Platform class, although it has some scrum functions in the form of plug-ins, but in general, it is basically a hodgepodge of various office software, and it is too bloated for Scrum. To a certain extent, there is also a risk of removal, such as plug-in manufacturers and platforms have not negotiated the removal of the shelf in the past.

The scope of application of collaborative software is relatively wide, and to a certain extent, it can also meet the needs of Scrum management. But these collaboration software all have a common feature – meeting Scrum management needs in a project-like way, which of course works, but doesn't have a good experience (don't ask why, who uses it and who knows).

therefore, from the aspects of ease of use and operation experience, as well as data connection between development tools such as code hosting, there is a big gap between platforms, collaboration and professional r&d tools.

To sum it up with a nonsense sentence: whether it is Scrum management or more generally, R&D management needs, it is definitely more suitable for professional R&D workers.

Third, do I need tools to land Scrum? How do I choose a tool?

if the team is less than 25 people, due to the small scale of information difference is not large, the process is simple, many things to pull a meeting, the use of general whiteboard or online documentation can meet the needs, this time on the tool will sometimes hinder the efficiency of the team.
But when Agile becomes the dominant development method for teams of more than 100 people, or for large projects, these ad hoc technical teams, or across teams, and managing multiple teams on a day-to-day basis, such as whiteboards, spreadsheets, and wikis, will be difficult to meet.
Choosing a tool that works for you is actually determining whether it will meet our Scrum management needs. As a Scrum tool, it is important to consider whether to support the basic elements necessary for the Scrum framework, such as Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Bum down Chart, and so on.
Here are some basic features listed according to the management process of scrum methodology, using the development tool Ping Code as an example:

4. Simple evaluation of Scrum management tools

To avoid a war of words, we will only start from the Scrum methodology here and compare some differences in the degree of functional matching of these tools (for reference only, there may be some degree of difference in the depth of experience).


From the functional perspective of the Scrum tool, it can be seen that PingCode is doing a relatively good job here, and even completely supports the Scrum agile development process.

Of course, the number of features is only the surface, we have also done a more in-depth review, because each review will be too long, so here we will take PingCode as an example.


Fifth, the in-depth experience of Scrum management tools

1. Scrum role management

There are 3 common roles under the Scrum framework: Product Owner, Scrum Master, And Scrum Team
In the experience, PingCode groups and manages members in a way that customizes project roles and permissions. For example, different roles can be configured to manage different permissions such as managing and viewing projects and work item types, and project members can also have multiple roles.

2. demand management

According to Scrum's general practice, before the iteration begins, the product owner collects the needs, expectations and demands from all parties, evaluates the priorities, sorts out the product Backlog, and forms the Sprint Backlog through the meeting review.
In the experience, PingCode is required to manage in a three-level way of epic, feature, and user story. You can form a complete story structure by customizing the demand status, supplementing various attribute fields, writing a complete description, uploading relevant product documents, etc. You can also use "sub-work items" to refine and disassemble complex requirements
Of course, it is worth mentioning that the requirements can also be associated with user feedback, R&D tasks, test results, wiki documents, etc., so that other members can find citations and trace the source.


3. planning


Whether it's product planning or developing product milestones, a product roadmap is a lot of need for product teams, let's take a look at Ping code's performance:
in a word, we can see at a glance what product features to do in the next three months or even a year, and we can know what to do first, what to do later, and which function can be done before the other function can be done.

it is a feature that the management particularly likes


4. defect management

this module is very clear, that is, it lists all the defects submitted during our development process or through user feedback, with priority and other attribute settings.

5. iteration

This is the most core feature we use in our agile development process and the soul that underpins our Scrum process.

As far as Ping Code is concerned, it is relatively good at Sprint planning and information richness.

What I want to talk about most here is the work item (maybe this is not managed by Scrum), which is a data capability that truly embodies the value of the R&D team.

For example, the following user story: who is the person in charge of the user story, how the sub tasks are split, which work items are associated, what are the associated test cases, what is the development data and information submitted during the development process, how the work is registered, what the associated wiki page is, what attachments are uploaded, what things are discussed in the comments, what is the activity trajectory of the work item, how the state flows, and so on.

6. track the progress of your iterations

after the iteration begins, the iteration is tracked in a daily stand-up meeting. the rapid progress of each member's task, today's plan, the difficulties encountered, etc. have become the norm, and the burndown map is indispensable here.

We can also see from the following figure that the PingCode iteration overview and burndown chart are basically available, and there is nothing wrong with visually reflecting the working conditions of each member and the health of the current iteration progress.

7. iterative review

after the iteration is complete, team members review the work done in the current iteration.
This link Ping Code supports the overview of the entire iteration situation, as well as the iterative review kanban record, which can basically meet the needs of the review review.

In addition to some of the above, I found that Ping Code also has some functions that are easy to use in Scrum management, such as versions, filters (global search), and work statistics. But here is a lazy, not to explain one by one.

In terms of experience, Ping Cod is also a particularly worthwhile choice in the series of Scrum management tools, of course, the needs are different, I am judging by the experience of my own team, and it is only for your reference.

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