September 19, 2017

What to Look for in an Agile Project Management Tool

Written by
Jessica Barrett Halcom

Agile project management tools aren’t ideal for organizations with a history of belaboring decisions so long that mullets have come back in style, or that deliberate by a committee of 52 senior leaders who prefer to “wait and see what happens in the market” before moving ahead. The concept of agile management is to enable teams to quickly make decisions and move projects forward.

The overarching benefit of adopting an agile project management tool is its ability to respond to issues immediately as they arise during the course of the project. Not only does making changes or course correcting at the right time save time and money, it’s also become an ideal way for a remote workforce to stay on track without being in the same location.

Whether or not your workforce is remote, agile project management tools are ideal for keeping your teams on track with the project management methodology you’ve chosen. Here are some critical things to look for in an agile project management tool.

ALSO READ: 6 Customizable Software Tools for Agile Project Management

Facilitate Collaboration and Communication

Working to facilitate collaboration and communication within the agile project management tool should be simple. Team members should be able to conduct conversations with whomever they choose, publicly and privately. Any person with some skin in the game as it relates to a project should be able to observe and participate in communications as a project is moving through its various stages.

Track History and Accountability

For those moments in which someone says, “but I thought he was going to…”, having the opportunity to go back in history to look at past discussions and identify disconnects, or perhaps even just clarify actions and deliverables, can be invaluable. Tracking history is also a great way to report on how the project is going in certain stages.

Ability to Scale

While your project management teams may be the first groups to utilize an agile tool, other departments and teams may begin to recognize the value of the product, and want to utilize it within their verticals and on their team projects as well. Look for a tool that grows as the interest in the product grows, along with the size of your company.

ALSO READ: Benefits of Project Management Software for Every Department

Analytics

There’s nothing like cold hard facts, available both during a project and at the project’s completion, to ensure accurate reflection and planning. It’s critical that you’re able to measure results. That way you not only see how you did with regard to meeting expectations, but can dive deeper into the data to determine what worked and what didn’t so that you can bring those learnings into the setup of future projects.

Strong User Experience

User experience (UX) has become an important aspect of user adaptation. People not only need to feel that they can easily learn how to use the tool with little training, they need to enjoy it. Your agile project management tool should be intuitive and fun so that working within the tool all day becomes an asset, rather than a hassle.

Mobile Friendly

With a remote workplace, employees in several time zones, or just for those over achievers who work from home after hours, it’s important to have a mobile friendly solution. Choose an agile project management tool that provides apps that can be downloaded onto smartphones and tablets.

Import and Integration

It may feel like one more tool is overload, or that users couldn’t possibly have time to keep switching in and out of each of them all day to stay on track. Look for an agile tool that can import and integrate the tools you’re already using. You’ll want something that doesn’t require switching windows from action lists, messages, and files. Search for something that allows users to stay in the tool.

As you consider an agile project management tool, remember that its job is to make project management faster and smoother by improving team communication, providing data, and helping your business meet client deadlines. Find a product that helps your team have remote working options and a better user experience. In no time, your team members will be consistently delivering projects on time and under budget. Searching for the best project management software for your team? Use our Product Selection Tool to find software comparisons or contact one of our Technology Advisors if you have more questions about project management tools. 


Jessica Barrett Halcom specializes in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.