In today's competitive software development landscape, many companies have come to realize the importance of embracing agile project management practices. These practices are not only relevant to product development but also extend to various aspects of their business operations.
Agile is a project management methodology used to break complex projects into smaller, more focused chunks so teams can work in short, incremental phases. As its name suggests, “agile” means moving fast and managing shifting priorities. With smaller projects known in software development as sprints, businesses deliver greater value to customers through an iterative approach with continuous releases.
To support the agile approach, there is a wide array of agile project management tools available. These tools help teams with planning, visualization, collaboration, process streamlining, and maintaining focus throughout the entire project journey.
If you're in the process of selecting the right agile project management tool for your growing business, this guide will introduce you to the top nine options. It aims to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision that will contribute to your team's success.
1. Best for issue tracking and sprint planning: Jira Software
Jira Software is purpose-built for software teams, who rely on agile ways of working. It keeps teams focused, motivated, and on schedule by breaking large, complex projects into smaller, more manageable sprints.
As a sprint planning tool, it supports refining product backlogs, generating and prioritizing ideas, documenting user stories, and defining the tasks required to achieve a successful release. Project managers can create a continuous delivery pipeline with agile project plan templates, as well as templates for agile collaboration at scale. And, it’s free for up to 10 users.
2. Best for aligning with cross-functional teams: Jira Work Management
Coordinating projects that involve multiple teams, such as software development and marketing, can be a complex task. Each team has its own way of working based on its specific discipline and focus. When non-software teams adopt agile project management methods, it’s especially important to recognize and address the differences in how each team works.
With Jira Work Management, agile project management is synchronized across the organization to encompass all resources and departments involved. Work management solutions allow cross-business teams to identify dependencies between business areas, manage resource allocation, and track tasks related to sprints, and even epics, in one visual workflow.
3. Best for sprint retrospectives: Confluence
Sprint retrospectives are one of the most important continuous improvement tools available to an agile development team. They provide an opportunity for everyone to share what went well and where there’s room for improvement. The most successful teams look beyond a single sprint and instead, view trends across multiple projects. An anomaly observed in one sprint may actually be a recurring issue that becomes more apparent when examined across projects.
Confluence provides a real-time, centralized knowledge management platform for collaborating on everything from customer feedback to sprint retrospectives. With the sprint retrospective template, Confluence gives agile project teams the tools to capture important feedback for both immediate and future improvement.
4. Best for backlog management: Jira Software
Ongoing agile project management involves effectively managing the product backlog. This involves organizing work into logical groups, prioritizing tasks based on the project roadmap, and documenting requirements to ensure the team understands what to build and why. This is often referred to as Scrum backlog refinement.
Think of Agile as the overarching methodology guiding your work and Scrum as the structured framework of activities that facilitates its successful implementation. Jira Software includes Scrum templates for backlog refinement, task prioritization, dependency mapping, and resource optimization, making backlog management easier. When the team is working from a well-organized and prioritized backlog, sprint planning is easier and delivery is faster.
5. Best for project tracking and reporting: Jira Software
When it comes to real-time insights, Jira Software provides what you need when you need it. During sprint planning, insights into the backlog help teams plan smarter sprints. During the development process, agile metrics, dashboards, and insights are available right on the board, giving teams the information they need to make real-time, data-driven decisions. Then, development frequency and cycle time reports help optimize the delivery pipeline.
6. Best for daily standups: Zoom
Today’s teams are often highly dispersed. For agile teams who use a scrum standup as a daily check-in to discuss the sprint progress, address roadblocks, and collaborate, this can present a significant challenge.
Zoom video hosting brings the team together as if they were all in the same room. Screen sharing allows the team to discuss the project board or capture decisions, the recording feature allows absent team members to catch up on discussions at a later time, and the chat function allows for the real-time sharing of links and other essential information.
7. Best for collaboration and knowledge management: Confluence
Agile projects include their own internal documentation, which team members use to meet the sprint goals. Whether it’s capturing user stories, defining requirements and product specifications, or external information like product certifications, information must be linked to the project, readily available, and always discoverable by all stakeholders.
Confluence is a central repository that brings knowledge management into the product development lifecycle. It houses relevant project information and supports easy collaboration. Contributors can add text, images, code, and tables and attach files for true collaboration.
8. Best for task and workflow automation: Jira Software
Jira Software is an effective tool for task management because it provides real-time visual status updates so agile teams can respond to changes as they arise. Jira automation lets people focus on what’s important by automating repetitive tasks. Anyone on the agile team can sync tasks across projects and products because it doesn't require special coding. Jira templates make it easy to get started quickly, and Jira automation integrates with other commonly used tools such as Slack, Open Devops, Bitbucket, GitHub, and more.
9. Best for async video collaboration: Loom
Task switching and interruptions slow down work. Informing team members about project status, roadmap updates, or new strategies doesn't always require immediate disruptions. Asynchronous communication allows team members to engage with new information when it best suits their workflow.
Loom lets agile project managers turn statuses and other information into videos, allowing team members to view them at their own convenience. This tool is especially helpful for geographically dispersed teams to remain informed and included, no matter what time zone they are in.
Try the #1 agile project management tool used by agile teams
Jira Software is customized for agile software development. It helps teams break complex projects into manageable work and supports sprint planning, backlog refinement, prioritization, and collaboration.
Together with Jira Work Management, Jira Software standardizes and strengthens agile project management across the company, connecting teams, managing resource allocation, and tracking tasks in one visual workflow.
Agile project management tools: Frequently asked questions
What tools does Jira Software include for sprint planning?
Agile software teams choose Jira Software because it’s designed with agile planning and project management in mind. It integrates with commonly used tools to extend its flexibility and brings dispersed and cross-functional teams together to achieve a common goal. A few of its sprint planning features include:
- Interactive timelines: This feature allows teams to map work items, dependencies, and releases on a timeline.
- Scrum boards: Scrum boards help agile and DevOps teams break large, complex projects into manageable chunks of work to ship products faster and more frequently.
- Kanban boards: Kanban boards provide visual project flows that help teams optimize resources and streamline dependencies.
- Reports and insights: Out-of-the-box reports and dashboards support data-driven decisions during and after project completion.
- Customizable workflows: Customizable workflows map processes to suit any style of work.
Integrations: Agile teams can extend the power of Jira Software with over 3000 available apps and integrations.
What are some other project management tools that integrate with Jira Software?
When it comes to agile project management, there is no one-size-fits-all tool. Jira Software integrates with a wide range of project management tools for this reason, including:
- Trello: Trello provides visual collaboration for teams of all sizes.
- Figma: Figma is a collaborative interface designer for developing wireframes and prototypes.
- Slack: Slack provides real-time communication to keep projects moving.
Google Sheets: Google Sheets provides spreadsheets for teams to collaborate in real-time.
Whether it's a small, one-off project or a large, complex development effort, additional agile project management apps are available to bring existing and new processes together.
Is Jira Software easy to implement?
Yes, Jira Software’s flexibility makes it easy to implement and use. With ready-made templates, agile teams can get right to work without extensive ramp-up time, and then customize as they go. Jira Software integrates with a variety of commonly used tools to allow teams to configure and scale the implementation to their unique needs.