When it comes to staying ahead of the game, most startups, marketers and SaaS companies find they need to be more agile.
Agile working can supercharge project management and delivery, and it has become one of the most popular and in-demand ways of working for teams and organizations across a huge range of sectors.
But even with the added benefits of an agile team, actually project managing the work is a tough task.
Leading an agile project management team is demanding, and project managers need to be totally up to speed on all elements of the workflow.
Guiding the team through the agile process alone requires focus and attention — and that’s before you even get on to doing the work of the project or managing client expectations.
And because it’s agile, everything happens so much faster.
Luckily for all the overworked agile project managers out there, the last few years have seen a boom in brilliant agile project management tools — each designed to make life a little bit easier.
An agile project management software makes it easier to plan the work and stay on top of the process, all the while ensuring that everything is prioritized and delivered using agile principles and values.
Agile tools can help spread the load a little, and address specific pain points in agile project management — particularly if you are working remotely.
Ready to supercharge your team’s agility, with the helping hand of agile tools and platforms?
Of course, you are.
Keep reading for our pick of the best agile tools and project management software around in 2020.
And, because we value your time, we’ve made it easy to see what’s so great about each piece of software — without you having to bend over backward!
Well, we’re glad you’ve asked — this is one of our favorite topics! Roadmaps are a fundamental building block for good agile project management.
airfocus offers state-of-the-art roadmapping software that gives project managers amazing control over strategy, development, change, and prioritization during project iterations.
With Kanban boarding, you can easily visualize your project priorities. And creating interactive timelines for every element of the project cycle is a breeze with Gantt chart roadmaps.
But where airfocus really shines as an agile project management software is prioritization. Creating visual representations of your priorities is a key part of the airfocus software, and the platform is constantly learning from your past projects to automatically predict your most pressing priorities — freeing you up to concentrate on other things.
airfocus combines the best elements of standard agile software with some genuinely cutting edge innovations — making it one of the best agile project management tools around.
airfocus starts at a reasonable $24 per month. The Starter package offers unlimited workspaces, all the key prioritization features, and Kanban roadmaps.
The most popular package is the Pro, at $79 per month. The Pro package includes 20 contributors and adds in key integrations with Trello, Asana, MS Planner, GitHub, Zapier, and Jira, as well as roadmap timelines and the Priority Poker functionality.
Larger organizations can opt for a custom Enterprise package that offers enhanced security and support.
airfocus offers a 14-day free trial package to get you started, with no commitment required.
Source Capterra: https://www.capterra.com/p/172674/airfocus/reviews/
airfocus comes with built-in templates that allow project managers to instantly prioritize using templates like the agile roadmap template.
The platform’s built-in prioritization algorithm automates your priorities, so you know which tasks are the most valuable to take on.
airfocus slots seamlessly into Scrum methodology, with its Priority Poker function allowing collective prioritization — with easy voting on items and tasks — allowing every team member to be included in the process.
Clarizen packs loads of features and agile tools into its platform and is incredibly flexible — fitting into agile methodologies just right. Its main focus is speeding up tasks and projects, using automation and time-saving workflows.
Clarizen effortlessly covers all the standard project management basics like scheduling, comms, and reporting, but its best functionality offers collaboration and real-time insights. Team members can work together on the dashboard and get a real understanding of how their contributions benefit the project overall, while real-time insights allow project managers to constantly test hypotheticals and make changes where necessary.
Clarizen is a fantastic agile tool for larger organizations, but it can be a little unwieldy for smaller organizations or those who don’t have as much experience, as it doesn’t offer much in the way of preloaded templates or processes.
Clarizen has two main products: Clarizen One and Clarizen Go. Clarizen Go is designed specifically for smaller, agile teams, and starts at $60 per month. Clarizen One is designed for Enterprise organizations and is custom built to suit your needs.
Clarizen Go also offers a 30-day free trial package.
Source Capterra: https://www.capterra.com/p/75768/Clarizen/#reviews
When it comes to templates, Clarizen falls down a little.
Sure, you can create your own templates from previously completed projects — which is great for repeat work — but the platform doesn’t come with a library of preexisting templates.
For larger, more experienced set-ups this may not be an issue, but it can be trickier for smaller businesses new to agile project management.
Prioritization of tasks is simple with Clarizen’s centralized view and project dashboard, but it does not offer built-in automated prioritization in the same way that airfocus does.
Clarizen has specific Scrum tools built-in, meaning epics, stories, sprint management, and retrospectives are all easily taken care of, with Scrum boards to keep track of project progress. Collaboration is easy with comments available on each and every task, meaning you can stay on track of project progress.
Kanbanize is designed specifically for agile project management, which makes it an intuitive and incredibly helpful tool for agile teams working with a Kanban-style methodology. Users can easily and simply structure their daily tasks, visualize dependencies, and combine multiple workflows on one Kanban board to enable multi-team projects.
Kanbanize offers great business automation features, and all boards and cards are fully customizable, allowing you to create bespoke working practices and timelines. It brings you a great way of visualizing all of your projects and is perfect for teams looking to be leaner.
Kanbanize starts at $99 per month for up to 15 users, scaling up to $529 per month for up to 100 users, with a custom Enterprise plan available beyond that. All packages offer unlimited Kanban boards, customizable workflows, built-in automation, and workflow analytics and reports.
Kanbanize offers a 30-day free trial package.
As you might expect from agile software specifically designed for agile teams, Kanbanize serves up all the features you need to make agile project management a breeze.
It has built-in templates for Kanban board views, and customizable boards and cards — so even if you aren’t a practiced Kanban ninja it is easy to get started.
Kanbanize doesn’t offer automated or crowd-sourced prioritization, but it does have built-in frameworks to support clear priorities, with swimlanes and color-coding offering two very visual methods of marking high-value tasks.
While hardly Montagues vs Capulets, Kanban and Scrum are two differing agile methodologies. Agile teams can use them together, but Kanbanize has planted its flag firmly in the Kanban corner — as you’d expect from the name! — and doesn’t support Scrum.
Redmine is considered by plenty of teams and project managers as the industry-standard agile tool, and it is popular with a huge variety of organizations in sectors around the world. It’s flexible, open-source, and full of project management features, as well as a great range of extensions and plug-ins that make it a great choice for agile project management.
It has to be said that it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing piece of software around, but it is important not to judge a book by its cover, right?
Easy Redmine’s Advanced Plugins provide superb functionality for agile teams, with test cases, Scrum and Kanban boards, workflows, and many other options.
The extensions offered by Easy Redmine go a long way towards making up for the lack of integrations with other tools, as most things you could want to do are covered within the tool itself.
Easy Redmine starts at $78 per month for Small teams of up to 25 users. It offers a Medium package for up to 50 users at $118 per month and a Large package at $238 per month including up to 100 users. Larger Enterprise teams can get a custom quote depending on their specific needs.
Easy Redmine does not offer a free version or a trial period.
Source Capterra: https://www.capterra.com/p/136070/Easy-Redmine/#reviews
Easy Redmine doesn’t come with built-in templates out of the box, although it does allow you to import and export previous projects as templates for future work.
Easy Redmine allows prioritization using color coding, and orders tasks accessible by priority and value. It doesn't automate prioritization, however, or provide a prediction or crowd-sourced value function.
Easy Redmine’s Advanced Plugins make it a great tool for a range of agile methodologies, and it comes with both Scrum and Kanban boards, as well as great collaboration and workflow functions. It works really well with Scrum in particular, and you can track, comment on, and rate tasks throughout the project.
Trello is really simple to use and offers an easy way into the world of agile project management. It is one of the easiest agile tools to get the hang of, as it’s incredibly intuitive.
Of course, with simplicity comes less functionality. And Trello’s free version out of the box works well for collaboration and task management, but not a whole lot else. With the paid premium versions you can start adding extensions and integrations that give you access to more features through Slack, GitHub, SalesForce, and others.
The great news? Trello’s standard version is free — forever. Trello also offers a Business Class package at $9.99 per month with priority support, unlimited boards and unlimited ‘power-ups’ or integrations, and an Enterprise package that starts at $17.99 per month.
Source Capterra: https://www.capterra.com/p/72069/Trello/#reviews
As we said, Trello’s free version comes with limited features. For example, don’t expect any built-in templates — you need to upgrade to the Business Class package for that.
Similarly, there’s no built-in automatic prioritization, although you can label and filter tasks by color. It is great for organizing simple sprints and for Scrum teams, although you can’t rate individual tasks.
Most features on Trello are accessible via the huge library of power-ups and integrations available, but you do have to upgrade to the paid-for version.
Zoho is a great project management tool — one that successfully finds the sweet spot between being feature-rich and being simple to use. It’s a great choice for smaller or boot-strapped businesses, offering a clean, intuitive interface and excellent project management abilities at a reasonable price.
Zoho has a range of tools on offer, but for agile teams, the most useful is Zoho Sprints: a planning and tracking tool developed specifically for agile project management. It is great for visualizing your project iterations, tracking feedback and progress, and customizing workflows.
Zoho Sprints offers a free plan including five users, five projects, and 500mb of storage space. But the most popular version comes in at $10 per month — giving you unlimited projects, 100gb of storage, and a whole host of features and integrations.
You can also take advantage of a free 10-day trial of the paid version, to see if it’s right for you.
Source Capterra: https://www.capterra.com/p/155928/Zoho-CRM/#reviews
The Professional paid version of Zoho Sprints comes with custom project templates, as well as custom layouts and fields, meaning it is really easy to get started.
Zoho Sprints offers multiple ways to categorize and prioritize work, with custom prioritization, tags and filters making it easy to stay on top of the backlog. They don’t offer any form of automated prioritization, but you can comment on and rate tasks throughout each sprint, and the tool is perfect for scrum teams.
Last but not least: Microsoft Teams is a powerful collaboration and remote working tool, that helps keep teams together wherever they are in the world. While communication is its main focus, it works well as an agile project management tool — largely due to its seamless integration with the rest of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of applications.
The Planner function allows teams to visualize and assign tasks, with a dashboard where team members can view team progress and be held accountable for their work. SharePoint allows transparent, easy access to all project files, data, and documents, while the ‘buckets’ in Planner stand-in for the backlog.
Microsoft Teams is part of the Office 365 subscription, so plenty of teams will already have access to it for no extra cost. Office 356 plans start at $5 per user per month for the Basic package, with the standard Business package available for $8.25 per user per month, and the Premium package for $12.50 per user per month.
You can take a free trial of Office 365 for 15 days with no commitment required.
Source Capterra: https://www.capterra.com/p/202376/Microsoft-Teams/#reviews
Microsoft Teams does include ready-made templates, but they’re largely based around team structure rather than projects. Still, they make a useful addition to a project manager’s toolkit.
As it’s not a specifically designed piece of agile software, Teams does not come with built-in prioritization frameworks, although the Planner function allows you to prioritize and comment on tasks.
To end on a high: Teams does offer some excellent support from Scrum teams, with the communication and collaboration functionality coming to the fore when it comes to daily standups and dispersed working. However, it is not as intuitive for Scrum as other agile project management tools.
Agile project management tools are fundamental for project managers. They allow you to set up seamless working processes and monitor every aspect of a project — liberating you from repetitive, mindless tasks so you can concentrate on making the project a success.
When it comes to Agile, being fast and effective is key. And the best project management tools can make all the difference!
Do you have a favorite agile or Scrum tool that we left off our list? Let us know via Twitter — we love to meet new platforms (as well as people).