Best Agile Tool and Technique awards for 2011

Hot on the foot steps on my post about Agile Project Managements tools, I felt it was a good time to present the inaugural Best Agile Tool and Technique Awards for 2011. There are some components of these other Agile Project Management tools that I felt I would be negligent to not recognize. In addition, there are several other tools, techniques, and services that I consider critical to my day-to-day existence. I will be excluding Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In from these awards as they get enough attention without additional awards from the Best Agile Tool and Technique Academy.

Here is the line-up for the BATTY awards for 2011.

Best Manual Technique in a leading role – Planning Poker (Planning Poker)

I know it has been mentioned before but due to its impact on the success of a project, I would be negligent to award Planning Poker in the Inaugural BATTY Awards. The impact the technique can have on solution design is usually more important than the estimates provided.

Best Drawing Tool in a supporting role – Gliffy (Gliffy)

I have been searching for a while for a simple drawing tool that takes us back to the early days of Visio and MacDraw. Something that I can use to create quick drawings that also convey information simply and professionally. Gliffy is the answer. Simple, elegant, and relatively inexpensive. ($5/month for an individual license) The User Interface is very pleasing and intuitive.

Best Kan Ban Tool in a leading role – AgileZen (AgileZen)

Hands down Agile Zen is the best Agile Project Management Tool at providing a Virtual Kan Ban board. Agile Zen is extremely easy to use and has the nice feature of tracking how long a particular User Story has been blocked. Agile Zen’s intuitive interface, ability to colour code stories, and also produce progress reports based upon the user stories make it a true winner. A colleague has also written a process to extract the data contained in Agile Zen using the published API to allow for additional reporting. Very cool.

Best source of Agile and Technical information in a supporting role – InfoQ (InfoQ)

Every month the InfoQ email newsletter arrives and every month there are at least three presentations that have “must watch” content. The presentations are focused on the practitioner with real stories from the front line on how specific technologies have been implemented in real companies. The content is for a multitude of topics. Currently InfoQ offers the following streams:

  • Java
  • .Net
  • Ruby
  • SOA
  • Agile
  • Architecture
  • Operations

There is truly top-level presentations and information for everyone.

Best Self-Hosted Agile Project Management Tool in a leading role – TargetProcess (TargetProcess)

Please see my previous post: The #2 Agile Project Management Tool

Best Externally hosted Agile Project Management Tool in a leading role – Rally (Rally)

If it was not for the criteria of needing to easily host the Agile Project Management Tool, I would have chosen Rally. Granted, there is little to choose between Rally and Version One as they are both excellent choices. The only reason I choose Rally over Version One is primarily personal preference. My impression was that Rally has a more intuitive interface and also provides me with more opportunity to customize the use of the product.

Best Adaptation of a technology to Agile – Automated Testing (Automated Testing)

Although automated testing is not a new technology, it has been adapted to Agile exceedingly well. In fact, many people state that they would not consider doing an Agile project without Automated Testing.

Please comment if you have a tool or technique you feel was shut out by the academy this year! I’d better happy to post additional products that you feel should have made the cut.

Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

2 thoughts on “Best Agile Tool and Technique awards for 2011”

  1. I do not agree that the Best Kan Ban Tool is agilezen because it does not have real time updates. It’s easy to use but not for distributed teams. I have tested agilezen, flow and kanbantool. And the last one is the real winner.


    1. Thanks for the comment David, I will have to check out KanBanTool. I had not heard of it before now.



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