Saturday, January 26, 2008

ScrumPad- an Agile/Scrum Project Management Tool

We are very excited to share with everybody that we are nearing our alpha release of ScrumPad, an Agile/Scrum software project management and collaboration tool. We are targeting February the 19th for an official announcement of ScrumPad alpha release at our Webinar on Scrum for NTEN (a non-profit technology network) members. We believe ScrumPad will be the best tool out there. We are not just saying this because we are developing it, but because we are using it daily to meet our needs. It all started with our dissatisfaction with tools currently available in the market. We said "there gotta be a better way." Here is a little history behind our ScrumPad initiative.

We use Scrum for managing all our software development activities. We started with good old Excel spreadsheet and emails for keeping track of our stories/feature requests, bugs, iterations (sprints), burndown charts, and times. However, in remote delivery environment, it soon became a major headache. We looked for a suitable agile project management and collaboration tool at a reasonable price. We selected Version One in 2006. Although it provided a lot of flexibility, but it took us a good couple months to learn how to use it. When we asked our clients to start using it, they also found it difficult to learn. So, we looked for another tool that is simple to use. And we found one called Basecamp. I am sure many of you are using it. We all including our clients picked up the tool in no time. Life became easy. However, since it was not designed for Scrum, we had to improvise how to adapt it for Scrum (If you are interested to learn how we are using it for Scrum, just give us a shout. We will be happy to share our adaptation of Basecamp for Scrum). One glaring issue though still remained with Basecamp. Its time tracking mechanism was not suitable for Scrum and so we had to continue to use Version One. But using two tools for managing projects became a hassle. So, we finally decided to build something that will make our life simple forever.

One sleepless night, Omar came up with the name ScrumPad and quickly laid out a basic outline/concept for the tool. We all liked the name and immediately got the domain. And now three months later, it took its own life. The team is hard at work creating the most simple, yet complete Web 2.0 Agile/Scrum management tool. For the geeks out there, we are building the tool on RoR platform. We will share our experiences with RoR on our site and in our blogs in the coming weeks.

We are currently looking for alpha customers. If you are in the same boat as we were just a few months ago, please write to us (respond to this blog) to express your interests in becoming our esteemed alpha customers. Please hurry while it lasts...:-)

11 comments:

  1. nice initiative, i am very interested to see how you guys are filling up scrumpad with your ideas.
    as i have been using agile (mostly xp though i have started moving on scrum) i would love to see how you have make it more feature rich, hope some details post with screen snaps or perhaps you could initiate a guest account.

    by the way, as i have mentioned here, i was doing lot more in xp. recently i found a very different process which is getting good in our company .

    1. we have been building xp team because we are strengthening our developers with most of practice from xp.

    2. recently i came over an initiative where we are choosing xp or scrum based on the state of the product.
    for example, while our team is initiating a completely new product, we kick start utilizing xp with short iteration, frequent customer feedback and strict development loop cycle along common sense.

    3. while our product raised from incubator, (or graduated, actually we say graduated product when it come up with at least a stable public release) we soon build scrum team. where we have bit longer iteration (sprint) and longer commitment and delayed customer presentation. which are applied through iterative maintenance release.

    in my experience it seems this plan is getting good and our product are coming up with in committed day.

    we mostly use FreeMind for visualizing our iteration, tasks status and issues. and for documenting and managing issues we have been using trac. it seems quite ok for us, since we have been using trac for most of our official purpose, including managing client support request by email to trac.

    and you guys are welcome to visit somewhere in... somedays :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tanveer:
    Thanks for your interests in ScrumPad. If "somewhere in" is interested in signing up as an alpha customer, we will be glad to setup an account. Please send us your request to scrumpad@code71.com.

    Great that you guys are using XP and Scrum. We would love to visit you guys sometime soon when we get a breather...:-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, its nice to know that you guyz developed such an interesting tool.

    Is there any demo or guest account to get a bit more idea about it..? Specially for people who are enthusiastic about scrum, and want to know how you get it into ScrumPad..?

    It would be really nice, if there is any such scope, I would very much like to know more about it.

    thanks
    Moim Hossain

    ReplyDelete
  4. Moim:
    Please send us an email with your request at scrumpad@code71.com. We will contact you with details.

    Thanks for your interest in ScrumPad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello...

    You had mentioned in your blog: http://code71team.blogspot.com/2008/01/scrumpad-agilescrum-project-management.html

    The following: "If you are interested to learn how we are using it for Scrum, just give us a shout. We will be happy to share our adaptation of Basecamp for Scrum"

    Would you mind sharing your adaptation of Basecamp for Scrum? Also, can we get a test login to scrumpad to check it out?

    Thank you!

    Arif

    ReplyDelete
  6. Arif,
    We will be happy to share how we used Basecamp for our Scrum projects before we started using ScrumPad.

    We maintained 1 task list as prioritized "product backlog." The items on the list were stories, not tasks. Each sprint, we created a sprint backlog (a new task list) by moving stories from "product backlog" task list. We kept the description concise. We added a link from each of these stories to a message that had the detailed description as well as any additional information as attachment. This way we could have discussion around each story. Last but not least, we defined our start and end of sprint as milestones. We optionally defined additional milestones (e.g., demo#1) as needed. Hope this helps.

    As for trying out ScrumPad, please feel free to signup from ScrumPad site. It is free. We will be curious to know your experience using ScrumPad on a project.

    ReplyDelete
  7. How did you track estimated hours and story points to see if your sprint was "full enough"?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good question. That's the issue with using Bascamp for managing Scrum project. We did it in Excel in the begining and then that got us started with ScrumPad. You could track actual time spent in Basecamp, but not initial estimate and remaining. You will have to do it manually. Or you could use ScrumPad...:-)

    ReplyDelete
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