Agile methodology is one of the most popular project management approaches used today. This flexible and scalable method enables teams to take better control of their projects, completing them in stages. The end result is a higher quality outcome that meets all stakeholder expectations.
For teams that wish to embrace agile methodology in project management, there are various tools available to simplify the process. The following 10 tools and software are perfect options for using agile methodology, as well as agile frameworks such as scrum and kanban.
Feature comparison of the best agile PM tools
The best agile project management tools
Whether you’re looking for an up-and-coming tool or a more established industry-leading software, there are plenty of agile project management tools to choose from. Here, in no particular order, are some of the top agile project management tools available on the market today.
ClickUp is a robust project management platform, offering a wide range of solutions for all teams, regardless of project management method. For agile teams, ClickUp offers many tools such as sprint workflow automation, which enables teams to automate sprint assignments based on workload.
SEE: Agile project management methodologies 2022 (TechRepublic)
Another feature is simplified bug and issue tracking, allowing teams to capture bugs, turn them into tasks and assign team members to each one. ClickUp also comes with a wide range of customizable reports as well as dashboards. Teams can add widgets to their dashboards for sprints, cycle time, burndown and more (Figure A).
A standout feature of ClickUp is the project management templates teams can use to get started quickly. Simply create an account, select a template such as Agile Management or Bug and Issue Tracking and start managing projects.
- East of use and onboarding
- Robust management capabilities for configuring UX, integrations and workflows
- Tasks are viewable in easily understandable, intuitive layouts
- Daily update emails of tasks due
- Easy time-tracking features
- Variety of plans for different team sizes and budgets
- Costly for larger teams
- No way to integrate Gmail’s inbox into the system
- Different views are not connected.
ClickUp starts with a free-forever tier that includes an agile project management software must-have: storage. ClickUp offers 100MB storage and unlimited tasks starting at the free tier. The $5 per member/month Unlimited plan billed annually comes with unlimited storage, integrations, dashboards and Gantt charts, among other features. The $12 per member/month Business plan adds unlimited teams, Google SSO and advanced features. The Business Plus tier at the $19 per member/month level includes team sharing, subtasks in multiple lists and increased automations and API, among other features. For the Enterprise level, which includes a host of premium services, contact the vendor’s sales team for specifics.
monday work management
monday work management is an agile project management software and work management tool by monday.com. Inside monday work management is the specific product, monday projects, built solely for project management. This software offers several agile-specific project management tools such as real-time reporting, sprint planning, Gantt charts and bug tracking (Figure B).
A key differentiator between monday work management and other agile tools is the ability to completely customize the platform to fit your specific needs. Whether you use scrum, kanban or a hybrid framework, monday work management is built to work with you, not against you.
- Highly scalable with many view options
- Time tracking is built in
- Integrates with numerous apps
- Integrated with team communications tools
- Limited features for entry price. Features like private projects, up to 10 combined boards, and chart views (ability to view board data in pie, bar or line graphs) are only in higher price tiers
- Difficult to track time and expenses
- Cluttered user interface, and sub-tasks are not intuitive to locate.
monday work management’s free tier for up to two seats includes over 200 templates, unlimited docs and up to three boards. At the basic tier at $8 per seat, per month, users get unlimited free viewers, 5GB of storage and a dashboard based on one board. The standard tier for $10/seat/month users can create timeline, Gantt and calendar views, 250 automations per month and 250 integration actions per month. The Pro level at $16/seat/month includes private boards and docs, chart view and 25,000 automation and integration actions per month. The enterprise tier, with custom pricing, includes features like enterprise-scale automations and integrations and advanced reporting and analytics.
VivifyScrum was built specifically for agile teams, and it’s perfect for teams that want agile-focused tools without all the fluff found in other project management solutions. The platform is a web-based tool that’s easily accessible from any browser.
SEE: Scrum agile project management: A cheat sheet 2022 (TechRepublic)
VivifyScrum works using boards, including scrum and kanban. Using the scrum board, teams can set sprint goals and create tasks associated with each goal. Using the kanban board, teams can organize projects by development stage (Figure C).
Other features found inside VivifyScrum include reports, invoicing, team management, time management and simplified project management. Users can take advantage of VivifyScrum EDU, a free scrum training with any paid account.
- Easy to start using the project management tool
- Intuitive UX and kanbans
- Ability to add comments, links and documents to tasks
- Reasonable pricing makes it ideal for small businesses looking for versatile features
- While visually pleasing, UI but can be difficult to navigate
- Lack of integration with calendars
- Some time-tracker limitations (e.g., integration with Firefox)
- No Gantt planning
VivifyScrum offers a 7-day trial. Starting at $96/year for teams of up to 10 members, VivifyScrum gives you unlimited organizations and boards. The standard package is $4.80 per user/month for between 11 and 50 team members, which drops to $4 per user/month for teams with between 51 and 100 members. The features include unlimited organizations boards, tasks and access to all features.
Jira by Atlassian is a leading project management tool that provides agile tools for software development teams using frameworks such as scrum and kanban as well as mixed methods.
For scrum sprint planning, Jira has built-in tools such as version management and story points to help teams stay on track. Jira also simplifies the daily scrum meeting by providing instant access to progress reports via custom dashboards; these reports include everything from burndown charts to sprint reports (Figure D).
For teams using kanban, features include swimlanes, work in progress limits and a built-in kanban board, among other tools.
- Great for large, enterprise-level operations
- Effective kanban and agile development
- Easy to track growth and backlogs
- High versatility for a variety of use cases and teams
- Difficult to customize
- Can’t assign task to multiple people at a time
- Difficult to integrate Jira Service Management with CRM and other tools
Its free-forever tier for 10 users includes scrum and kanban, apps and integrations. Jira’s standard tier at an estimated $7.75 per user/month allows 35,000 users. For the Premium level at an estimated per user/month $15.25, users get advanced roadmaps and dependency management and multi-project automation. At the Enterprise and custom pricing level, the features include an unlimited number of sites as well as Atlassian Access (SSO, SCIM, Active Directly Sync).
Asana is a powerhouse project management tool commonly utilized by teams using the kanban framework. Asana offers a built-in kanban board view for quick setup, as well as additional board types.
The platform also enables teams to complete a wide range of other agile-specific tasks such as:
- Tracking bugs and issues within software
- Creating and managing detailed sprint plans
- Managing product launches
- Streamlining the stakeholder feedback gathering process
Another key feature found inside Asana is the ability to automate workflows. For example, when using a kanban board, teams can set triggers to move cards, eliminating tedious manual tasks (Figure E)
- Easy to use
- User-friendly dashboards
- Real-time communications functionality
- Asana integrates with many other project management apps such as Google Drive, Microsoft Teams and Slack
- Can’t assign multiple people to the same task
- No time-tracking feature
- Requires some experience with PM software
- Too many features for task options
- Only allows one user per task at any given time
Asana’s free plan offers unlimited tasks, projects and file storage, plus active collaboration with up to 15 teammates, integration with time-tracking apps and 100 free integrations. For the Premium level at $10.99 per user/month, billed annually, you get unlimited dashboards, the new Workflow Builder, unlimited reporting, unlimited free guests, task templates and more. At the $24.99 per user/month Business tier, you can create portfolios, goals, workloads, a custom rules builder and advanced integrations with Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, Tableau and Power BI.
Microsoft’s Azure Boards is one of the tools in the Microsoft DevOps suite for, you guessed it, developers. Specifically, Azure Boards is best for teams who need to manage complex software projects (Figure F).
Azure Boards provides support for agile frameworks, including scrum and kanban. Inside, users find features such as customizable dashboards and real-time reporting. Users of Azure Boards can track anything and everything agile, including issues, bugs and story points. Azure Boards features simple, drag-and-drop functionality for fast project updates.
- Ideal for Microsoft projects
- Very clear and intuitive UI
- Large set of connectors/integrations/extensions
- Very flexible and supports all kind of deployment
- Pipelines feature allows deployment on premises to the cloud
- Sprint boards, code repositories, etc. can be managed from a single application.
- Poor deployment automation feature
- Options are sometimes difficult to find.
- Doesn’t easily support non-Microsoft and open-source ecosystems
Azure DevOps are free for the first five users and then $6 per user per month for the basic plan. With it, you get Azure Boards, Pipelines, unlimited private Git repositories, Azure Artifacts (which enables developers to share their code efficiently and manage all their packages from one place) and 2GB free per organization.
The company also offers a Basic + Test plan, which includes testing capability. If you will be doing exploratory testing or user acceptance testing, this would be the right tier for you.
Axosoft was built specifically for software development teams using the agile method. The platform provides complete support for every step in the agile project management process.
For example, teams can begin by planning sprints using the Axosoft Release Planner. They can then track their progress using the built-in kanban board and reports focusing on burndown, cycle time, projected ship date and more (Figure G).
In addition to these tools, Axosoft provides help desk functionality for user support, which is unique compared to the other tools on this list. Teams can receive support tickets and respond from right inside the platform.
- Robust scrum and project and sprint tracking
- Easy to create projects backlogs
- Flexibility and simplicity
- Ease of data exploiting to Excel and other formats
- Easy to implement email and create groups and users
- Steep learning curve
- Crowded interface
- Difficult to filter columns
Axosoft offers a 14-day trial. Axosoft, at around $21 per user/month at all levels, starts at $105 per month for five users. It lets you do unlimited work items, as well as group, filter and summarize by project type. For that price, you can also track status and workflow per item; build unlimited workflow templates; perform hierarchical project tracking with endless levels of subprojects; set unique field templates for each project; and access full scrum and kanban features. You can also create unlimited field templates, custom workflows, fields and security roles; create live reports and more.
AgilePlace by Planview is a great solution for teams using the kanban framework; the solution provides flexible kanban boards for both agile and lean teams. Other capabilities with AgilePlace include the ability to visualize real-time work status, set WIP limits, plan projects and much more (Figure H).
For agile teams that miss the traditional sticky notes on a whiteboard experience, AgilePlace features Instant Coffee, a collaboration tool that uses virtual sticky notes.
- Easy to create assignable kanban cards in dashboard
- Good pre-build templates for things like resource allocation, planning and budget management
- Ease of remote scheduling and workforce management
- Elegant UX and graphical workflow
- Upgrades are sometimes implemented without users’ knowledge.
- Not clear how to subscribe through email to message boards or greeting cards
AgilePlace offers a 30-day free trial. Planview AgilePlace pricing starts at $20 per user/month billed annually. It includes unlimited boards, access to the board template library and custom board templates, and the ability to duplicate boards. It also includes multiple features for work structuring and planning, integration of work across the organization, tracking, analysis and reporting, active collaboration, security and integration with other systems.
Wrike is a work management platform that features standard project management tools such as automation, time tracking and reporting; the platform also delivers more agile-specific tools such as interactive Gantt charts and kanban boards.
Wrike’s Agile Teamwork template enables agile teams to hit the ground running as soon as they implement the platform. This template delivers simplified sprint management, progress tracking and bug tracking as soon as it is activated; however, this doesn’t stop agile teams from customizing the template further to fit their exact needs (Figure I).
Other templates found inside Wrike include a Kanban Project template and a Sprint Planning template.
- Robust customization for projects
- Numerous app integrations
- Good collaboration and task tracking
- Great forms functionality
- Limited filtering options
- Few customization options for UI
- Onboarding is more difficult
- Non intuitive, hard-to-follow email notifications
After a free tier with basic features for board and tables, as well as project and task management and apps, Wrike offers a Team plan for $9.80 per user/month with unlimited projects, tasks and subtasks, custom fields and forms. It also allows for 20 collaborators, Gantt charts, 2GB storage per user, and automations, among other features. At the Business tier, Wrike includes folder structure and nested projects, project blueprints, unlimited dashboards and reports, 5GB storage per user, 200 automation actions per user per month and more. Wrike also offers two custom-priced tiers for large teams.
Smartsheet is a flexible and scalable project management platform, providing solutions for virtually any industry. The platform offers a completely customizable interface and enables teams to manage all projects, regardless of complexity. This flexibility alone makes it an excellent choice for agile teams with rapidly changing needs. According to Gartner, Smartsheet is the number one project portfolio management software worldwide.
Smartsheet includes a wide range of project management features, including the ability to use Gantt charts to visualize projects. The software also offers automation to streamline processes, real-time reports for project visibility and third-party integrations for eliminating silos (Figure J).
- Highly customizable
- Powerful analytics and reporting
- Vigorous data protection
- 100s of prebuilt templates
- Spreadsheet interface can be challenging.
- Lacks built-in time-tracking and resource management
Smartsheet offers a 30-day free trial. Smartsheet’s Pro tier at $7 per user/month billed annually includes unlimited sheets and viewers, up to 10 editors, Gantt chart, grid, card and calendar views, dashboards reports, forms and 20GB of attachment storage. It also offers 250 automations per month plus integrations with Microsoft 365 Teams, Google Workspace, Slack Box and Dropbox.
At the Business tier for $25 per user/month, you can have unlimited editors, publish sheets, reports and dashboards, license management and 1TB of attachment storage among other features.
Smartsheet’s custom-priced Enterprise tier includes features like DocuSign integration, domain validation and unlimited attachment storage.
What is agile project management software?
Through the agile PM method, teams tackle projects in stages, also known as sprints. At the end of each stage, stakeholder feedback is gathered to determine where changes must be made.
This process continues until the stage is accepted and considered complete. If you were to look at the agile method in visual form, each stage would resemble a circle as iterations are more than welcome. In any agile-based project, things can change rapidly. This is one of the hallmark differences between agile PM and other project management methods.
SEE: What is agile project management? (TechRepublic)
Agile project management software was designed to help teams manage this sometimes complex process. This software has built-in tools such as project timelines, Gantt charts and reports that are critical for agile success.
Benefits of agile project management software
According to the Agile Manifesto, the agile method prioritizes collaboration, interaction and response to change. Teams that want to be agile must prioritize the same. And in today’s distributed workforce, this is only made possible through project management software. Some benefits of implementing these tools include:
Simplified project planning
It’s true that agile projects don’t typically follow a standard linear plan. However, there’s much more to project planning than listing tasks with due dates. Agile project management software can simplify critical tasks such as resource planning and identifying dependencies.
Agile teams must be able to access all of the information regarding a project whenever it’s needed to keep projects moving forward. Project management software improves productivity by centralizing all of the information about a project, including project changes, relevant tasks and stakeholder feedback.
Easier feedback gathering
A critical part of any agile project is gathering stakeholder feedback at the end of each stage. Depending on the number of stakeholders involved, this process can be complex. Many agile project management tools integrate with other tools within your tech stack, such as those you use to gather feedback. As a result, all of your stakeholder feedback can be stored in the same place as all other project data.
Enhanced team collaboration
Project management tools enable efficient team collaboration by providing tools such as tagging, commenting, instant chat and more right inside the software.
Improved project visibility
Many agile project management tools offer visibility features such as dashboards and Kanban-style boards to help you visualize your current projects in real-time. You can see what’s going on with any sprint, at any time.
Agile project management software also enables you to take advantage of hybrid agile methods, including Scrumban, a mix of Scrum and Kanban. Completely adaptable to your workflows, these tools enable you to work your way.
Who uses agile project management software?
The agile method has long been hailed as the project management method of choice for fast-moving teams such as product and software developers. This is because these teams rely on stakeholder feedback and testing for a high-quality finished product.
Agile is now used across industries and niches, regardless of what the final deliverable looks like. For example, agile is a popular method for teams that work on projects without a clear scope or end goal as well as teams that prioritize product improvement.
Teams that complete projects like the above often implement project management software, tools and apps to support their progress.
Key features of agile project management software
The best agile project management software will include a wide range of features to help you manage your projects. Some of the features that are absolute must-haves in any agile solution include:
Agile project management tools should enable you to manage your sprints as well as their accompanying tasks, issues, assignees and more in one place. Bonus points if the tool does so intuitively via drag-and-drop functionality.
Kanban boards and Gantt charts
These are two of the most common project management tools for agile teams. Both are visual tools for depicting project status. Gantt charts are horizontal bar charts while Kanban boards are similar to sticky notes on a whiteboard.
Resource management tools help teams effectively budget resources such as cash, time and people. This ensures adequate resources are available to complete a project within a specified timeframe.
Real-time reporting dashboards
Agile project management requires real-time visibility into project progress. Reporting dashboards aggregate reports into a single, visual view for access to instant insights.
For software development teams, issue tracking is a critical feature. These tools track software bugs so teams can capture and resolve them in a timely manner on behalf of their users.
Any useful agile project management software should integrate well with the other software and apps within your tech stack such as those for managing customer relationships, sales, communication, development and reporting. Many tools have integrations built right in as well as open APIs for building out your own integrations.
In today’s mobile workforce, any project management tool should be available via mobile device. This way, teams can manage projects, complete tasks and report on progress from anywhere, at any time. Mobile apps are typically available for phones as well as tablets.
SEE: Project management software: What features are necessary for marketing teams? (TechRepublic)
How to choose agile project management software
There are literally hundreds of project management tools to choose from; while some of these PM tools were created with the agile method in mind, others are more general with a few agile-specific tools thrown in. To choose the right agile project management software for your organization, there are key points to consider.
Agile framework requirements
First, you must consider which agile framework you currently use or plan to use. The most common frameworks include scrum and kanban, but other frameworks exist such as Extreme Programming.
The software you choose should have features that align with your chosen framework. For example, to use scrum, you’ll probably need burndown charts.
Take some time to consider other feature requirements such as team collaboration tools, resource planning and time tracking. This is the perfect place to involve your team or the ones who will use the tool each day. Gather feedback to determine which features matter most to all stakeholders within your organization.
Software implementation takes time. For the best return on your investment, you’ll want to select software that fits your organization now and in the future. Consider your long-term goals and choose an agile project management solution that delivers tools to fit those goals. You’ll want scalable software that grows with your business.
Agile project management tools are available for various price points as well as free. Consider your budget, paying close attention to what your business can afford each month as many tools feature subscription-based pricing.
Current tech stack
Chances are, you use plenty of other tools within your organization besides your project management software. You’ll want to make sure tools such as your customer relationship management or engineering software integrate seamlessly with your chosen project management solution.
After considering these points, you should have a shortlist of tools to choose from. At this point, it’s important to take a test drive to see how it performs within your workflow. Allow those who will be using the software each day to join in, too. This list of some of the best agile project management tools is just scratching the surface of what’s available. Remember, the key is to select software that fits your needs now and in the future.
If you’re well organized and have the time, read more about the subject with these articles on the eight best practices and the five steps of project management.