Sunday, June 15, 2008

Quick Poll: Scrum Management Tools

Back in January 2007, a poll went out on the scrumdevelopement mailing list, asking its members how they managed their Scrum projects.

Scrum has come a long way since then (there are now some 25'000 CSMs worldwide) and judging by attention in the mainstream press, seems to be picking up steam in Europe as well.

So I thought it would be interesting to revisit the poll taken by the scrumdevelopment group:

Which tool / software do you use to manage your Scrum projects?
  • Paper (Cards, Sticky Notes)
  • Paper with a Webcam
  • Excel or OpenOffice Spreadsheet
  • Google Docs Spreadsheet
  • Jira
  • Microsoft Project (or other "classical" PM software)
  • Mingle
  • Rally Dev
  • Scrum for Team System v2.0
  • ScrumWorks
  • TargetProcess
  • VersionOne
  • Other Propietary
  • AgileTrack
  • XPlanner
  • Other OpenSource
  • Own Tools/Other
  • Don't know/don't care
As usual, I will post the results on the blog.


Jay Conne said...

Peter, thanks for doing this poll. I marked 'paper', but wish you had more than one choice selectable. I use paper as my default - the simplest, most visceral experience I can give my team - plus it brings all stakeholders to the information radiator where they can have real conversations! I use a spreadsheet for release and project burndown or burnup of stories and points. If I have a distributed team, I use the spreadsheet and auto charting for the Sprint burndown. If a client uses an expensive product, of course I'll use that if they insist. We also have Product Owners use spreadsheets for the product backlog with posting and completion dates as well as points and Spints where it was committed and completed. This provides a nice historical record and for stakeholder/sponsor/governance auditability. We photograph our paper artifacts and post them in an easy to discover directory format - typically by project overall and by Sprint. Could you expand the survey to have more choices? How about tagging as preferred for a purpose - as I described above. and then 2nd and third choices - again for a purpose as it needs context - as I gave here.
Thank you, Jay

Anonymous said...

It seems like your survey should allow multiple tools to be selected. For example, on the project I'm on, we use Paper with a Webcam, Excel, and JIRA. How can I boil that down to a single radio button selection?

Peter said...

Hi folks,

A very legitimate question. I debated long with myself about whether to allow multiple choices, because I figured this would be the case.

I decided to only allow one choice so the results would be comparable with the scrum development poll from January 2007.

The polling software on is fairly limited. There is no way to ask more than one question in a single poll or to say "vote for at most three items". Once the poll has started, it is not possible to change it any more, not even to fix typos. So to change the poll, I have to through away the 65 results that have already come in. :-(

So I think I would be best to let this poll run to the end, but then to rerun it next week allowing multiple choices.

Peter said...


A question: how do you use the pictures. Does anybody actually refer to them, or are they more for archiving purposes, "just in case"? Are the pictures readable? How much resolution does it take to get a usable picture?

I must admit, I am skeptical, but curious about the approach and am wondering what your experience is.



Michael Sahota said...

I found the results very surprising and wonder if a vendor made an effort to skew the results. Might be better to create the poll for scrumdev members so that people need to register to vote.

Peter said...

Hmm. Interesting issue. If these results trully reflect actual usage (and if the results of the scrum development poll from 2007 did as well), then a tremendous shift towards purchased automated tools has taken place or the newcomers are less convinced by paper than the early adopters. I know of 1 team which recently adopted agile (or at least they said they did) but continued to use jira to manage their tasks.

Unfortunately, neither poll is a "representative sample" in the statistical sense, so add salt liberally when evaluating the results.

I've been checking the results regularly. The trends were clear after about 20 votes cast and the growth since then seems organic, (at least to my eyes). So I don't think any mobilizing or cheating has taken place -- but I wouldn't want to use this polling mechanism to hold elections either! ;-)

I think the best way to get better results is to have more people vote. As I write this, scrum development has over 5800 subscribers but just 80 people have voted (vs. 125 in 2007).

I think it would be be great if we could get 10 or 15% of the scrum development readers to vote, it would give the poll a different credibility and limit the impact of concerted measures.

Anyone want to to be the beat the drum and get out the vote? A reminder or two on the list should do the job.