Agile in Action: Tools of the Trade
Agile is an art, one that comes only with practice. Agile is the current hot trend. Everywhere, scrum masters, project managers, agile gurus and even laymen speak about agile methods and their adoption. But how effective is agile without the tools to help? Agile does not involve people and processes alone. It needs the right tools to get things done as its amazing description promises. You can take a look at my previous posts about Agile in Action:
http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-62256 & http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-62257 give an overview of what agile is and how it works with the analogy of a ship crew. Keeping with the spirit of seafaring, this blog also follows with the analogy of all the functions of the crew in a ship. Read on matey!
Once you’re onboard, this post throws light around some of the useful tools out there that form the Swiss knife for any team or project that wants to practice agile. Agile is introduced to make the whole development cycle of a project easier. You’ll find that these tools that we’ll look at now, in turn make the agile easier!
|There are many more tools/services out there that do similar things or even much better. This compilation is based out of my experience in using them and is intended to start off easy implementation of agile and does not serve as any comparison between them.|
Source Control – The boatswain’s pipe!
Source Control is one of the important things in agile. How does a sailor in a ship know where to go and what is to be done unless there is a captain to collaborate the crew? Similarly, how would a developer collaborate when there is no source control? Thinking about merge conflicts and wrong code being pushed to master branch? You got it, it’s none other than our code repository – the virtual Captain.
Github – Free for personal use; Paid plan for private repo. Lot of integration options and clean to use GUI for code management. Go for this when your team size is high and you have less projects.
Bitbucket – Free for 5 users; Paid plan for more number of users. Bitbucket is offered by Atlassian, a company that specializes in offering tools for modern software development. Integration with other development tools. Bet on this when you have less people working on a lot of projects.
Gitlab – Open source (Rock on!). Want to implement your own Git Repository? Look no further than Gitlab. Developed in Rails, it is an easy to implement, community version of Git server along with support for Wiki and Issue tracker. Go paid when you want the enterprise version of it.
Issue Tracking – The quartermaster’s aid to supervision and distribution
Issue Tracking is an integral part of any development or release. Be it bugs or features, everything can be tracked with an issue tracker. Issue trackers can also be integrated with our source control so that both can work together.
JIRA – Paid. JIRA is one of the most popular issue tracking. Offered as a service by Atlassian, JIRA is not just an issue tracker, it also offers project management features like Agile and Kanban board. It has lot of customization and also integrates with Github and Bitbucket.
Axosoft Bug Tracker – Free; Paid version for more features. This is a another bug tracking tool offered by the competitor of Atlassian, Axosoft Bug tracker has a neat interface and also offers other advanced features like project management for premium users.
Mantis / Bugzilla – Open Source. For those who need an open source, on premise version of bug tracking, we have the famous Mantis and Bugzilla. Both are similar products with wide features that can take care of all your issue and bug tracking needs.
Collaboration – The Captain of course needs a squire!
Collaboration is very important for any team that is practicing Agile. Zero email policy, constant availability, scattered teams and remote work location makes this tool the need of the hour.
Slack – Free for Basic version; Paid plan for extended features. Slack is one of the best tool to use for the Team. Quick chats, file transfers, Apps notifications, integrations all in once screen. Sit back and relax as you see your builds information right in your slack room.
Hipchat – Free for Basic version; Paid plan for extended features. Hipchat is a similar system to Slack, it’s offered by same company that provides JIRA and Bitbucket. It has lot of integrations and also Video conference features for premium plans.
Google Hangouts / Lync – Sometimes old school wins! A simple hangout groups or a Lync messenger with video conference/ chat and file transfer would get things done.
Task Tracking – The sailmaker’s boon
Task tracking is very important, if you are handling multiple projects, or doing lot of things often things skip out of your mind. Task Tracking comes into aid.
Wunderlist – Free; Paid for premium features. Wunderlist has evolved more than a task tracking tool. It is one of myfavorite tool. You can track task, Assign it to your team members and also set due dates and reminders. Also it has apps for mobile that you can use to manage tasks on the fly.
Asana – Free; Paid for premium features. Asana is complete Task Tracking and communication tool. Project level tracking, comments, multiple project status, Analysis Dashboards are some of the cool features of the tool.
Documentation – What the boatswain does when he needs to keep account
What is special in documentation? You could just use your regular Microsoft Word of other Word processing tool to document, but documentation in the agile way is to use collaborative documentation where it actually becomes interesting.
Hackpad – Free. Hackpad is one the best tools I have used for documentation. Hackpad consists of collections of hackpads which contains informations. It supports concurrent users edit and also support Markup Document structure.
Google Docs – Free; Google docs is an easy to use collaborative documentation tool. It integrates with Google drive and has your document on the cloud to access from anywhere.
Continuous Integration – The Captain’s honour code
Continuous Integration (CI) is very important for modern age Agile Software development. All your release and deployment is now minutes instead of days thanks to CI. CI also has automated testing pipeline that could run test cases every time you are pushing to the repository.
Codeship – Free; Paid plan for premium features. Codeship is one of the easiest to setup and use CI. It has lot of features like deploying to multiple cloud platforms, custom scripts, test cases and also parallel CI. It also has direct integrations with bitbucket, github.
Travis-CI – Free for open source. Travis CI is another popular CI platform. It has huge features and is free for open source projects. All the build information about the open source projects are public.
Jenkins – Open Source. Jenkins is a well-known open source CI platform that can be implemented easily on premise. It has wide variety of options and integrate with other on premise repository or cloud based popular repositories.
Time Tracking – Especially made for the quartermaster
Wakatime – Free; paid for premium plan. Want to know how much time each of the developers work on each module or feature? Well now you can get your own metrics on the time spent on each programming language, feature of project as well as commit level information. And it integrates with popular IDE’s as well.
Start sailing your development in a truly agile way. We have lot of other tools as well. Have you used any other tools? Do comment about them below and also your experience. I will add them up in this list.