Agile Project Management Tools

5 Best Agile Project Management Tools (2021)

27-May 2021
Screen Shot 2021 04 12 at 3.56.03 pm
Kirsten McNeice MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

What is an Agile Project Management Tool?

Agile project management tools are popular for their ability to improve team efficiency, financial performance, and customer satisfaction. 

The goal of agile project management is to be able to move quickly and easily through a project in increments. The method involves breaking projects into smaller builds that can be developed and tested concurrently by self-organizing and self-managing teams. Agile software tools are developed specifically to harmonize the constant buzz of activity by allowing team members to collaborate, focus on bite-sized problems that can be solved quickly, and track upcoming tasks and work in progress.

As a professional service provider, you may need to coordinate your role with different teams working on simultaneous projects. That extra level of complication makes it imperative that you find agile project management software that is a good fit for your work style. For instance, having an integrated platform like Accelo that runs in the cloud serves as a single source of truth where you can manage your projects in addition to sales, quotes, projects, tickets, retainers, timesheets, billing, and scheduling all from one place. However, if you're looking for a stand-alone project management tool, here are five that are proven to help manage agile project teams.

 

1. ActiveCollab: Best for Tracking Billable Hours


ActiveCollab includes a diverse variety of tools ranging from task management to time-tracking and invoicing features. 

Tasks can be assigned and tracked at all points in the workflow, and the entire team can view everyone’s roles on a system-wide calendar, so everyone can see their position in the project’s progress. ActiveCollab checks real-time task progress against the accuracy of time estimates as well. 

A built-in writing tool allows collaborative work on written documents. ActiveCollab also integrates with your email tools.

ActiveCollab is meant to be a workspace hub for your entire organization, but since it’s priced per team member, you can test it with a single team and expand it throughout your company if it turns out to be a good fit for you.

Features: 

  • Task management: All task updates and progress are at your fingertips in the dashboard
  • Search and filtering of tasks helps you find what you need
  • Integration with email tools
  • Holistic calendar view
  • Collaborative writing tool
  • Built-in timer for tracking billable hours
  • Time tracking reports and invoicing

Pros:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface
  • Solid, reliable performance
  • Reasonable price
  • Time-tracking and invoicing features

Cons:

  • No built-in sprint features for Scrum

Pricing:

  • Offers a 14-day free trial
  • Cloud: $7 per member per month for the basic functionality; $4 per member per month for expanded features
  • Discounts for annualized payment

 

2. Jira Agile: Best for Software Developers


Jira is used primarily by software developers and is still best-suited to that project model. The software supports a variety of workflows, including Scrum and Kanban. 

Users create roadmaps for projects, which gives you a visual method of tracking. You can manage each project with a drag-and-drop interface that lets you plan sprints and assign tasks to team members. 

Software development teams give Jira excellent reviews for its flexibility and range of features, which are closely tailored to their needs. Although it's been developed over time for a wider range of applications, the software was originally built as a bug-tracking tool for software developers. 

Features:

  • Scrum boards
  • Kanban boards
  • Tasks & subtasks
  • Dependency management
  • Custom workflows
  • Roadmaps for long-term planning
  • Detailed reports
  • Gantt charts
  • Collaboration tools
  • Milestone tracking

Pros:

  • Solid bug-tracking tool for issue management
  • Customizable through a variety of integrations and plug-ins
  • Built specifically for Agile and Scrum
  • Desktop and mobile versions 
  • Charts and graphs give a strong visual representation of work
  • Easy to use if you're familiar with Agile methodology

Cons:

  • Non-developers find the user interface complicated
  • No collaboration features for teams
  • No timeline for tracking progress

Pricing: 

  • Offers a 7-day free trial
  • Jira's free plan supports up to 10 users and is fully functional
  • $7/user per month for 10 users or more
  • Premium plan is $14/user per month

 

3. Pivotal Tracker: Best for Transparency


Pivotal Tracker is a story-based project tracking tool that helps you manage tasks from inception to completion. Each task is conceptualized as a story and can be ranked according to its complexity. This feature makes it easy to monitor workflows and communicate with clients. 

A clear view of team priorities and individual objectives helps everyone manage their role in the project. Pivotal Tracker offers a project monitor for viewing the status of the build, a whiteboard for discussions, and daily tracking of completed tasks. 

At a glance, everyone can see a real-time view of the shared work, team status, responsibilities, and next steps.

Features:

  • Story-based task management 
  • Tasks can be assigned points based on complexity
  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Allows multiple teams
  • Rich integrations
  • Multi-project workspaces
  • File Sharing
  • Dozens of integrations

Pros:

  • Transparency and total visibility of projects to all team members
  • Clear lines of communication 
  • Optimized, efficient workflows

Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve (you must learn the Pivotal agile framework to benefit from its tool)
  • Less flexibility to impose your own workflows on the software
  • No automated task flow

Pricing: 

  • Offers a 30-day free trial
  • Free for 1-5 collaborators, with a 5 project limit
  • $10/month flat rate for 6-10 collaborators
  • $6.50/month per team member for 11+ collaborators

 

4. Trello: Best Free Solution 


Trello is one of the most well-known and widely used project management tools on the market. That means many people are somewhat familiar with its interface, and Trello integrations are built into many of the tools you may already use. For instance, there are Chrome plug-ins to connect Trello with everything from Pomodoro time management tools to G-mail.

Trello’s structure is based on the Kanban framework of agile project management. However, it's easy to use Trello with the Scrum framework as well. 

Trello represents each project visually with a board made of drag-and-drop cards organized into lists. Trello cards allow you to write comments, attach documents or notes, apply due dates, create checklists, and integrate with other apps. The software is managed by Atlassian, making it a sister program to Jira.

Features:

  • Simple drag-and-drop interface
  • Organize with labeling, tags, and comments
  • Upload from Dropbox, Google Drive, and local devices
  • Deadline notifications
  • Automated email notifications
  • Information encryption, backup & retrieval
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Task assignments for groups or individuals
  • Voting and discussion options

Pros:

  • Free version available
  • Well-organized and user friendly
  • Widely used and well-known format
  • Makes editing on the fly a breeze
  • Highly collaborative tools
  • Power-up calendar makes it easy to prioritize tasks
  • Free for many users

Cons:

  • No project bar chart (Gantt)
  • Each task can belong to only board or project
  • Comments can’t be edited

Pricing: 

  • The free version has limited features, allows a maximum of 10 boards per team, and limits users to 10 MB per file attachment
  • $9.99/user per month for full functionality
  • $17.50/user per month for Enterprise version with enhanced features

 

5. Axosoft: Best for Direct Customer Interaction 


Axosoft is an agile project management solution that uses the Scrum framework. The interface allows teams to create plans, plot process steps, and collaborate effectively to tag and solve issues as they arise.

A Help Desk feature turns emails into support tickets. Customers have their own portal, which lets them communicate their requests and feedback directly with the team. This direct communication can save your team members a lot of time while helping customers feel involved in the process. 

Axosoft also features a team wiki, which gives you lots of space to share detailed information and specifics related to the project. 

Axosoft brings together all the details and information into each product’s backlog and gives an overview of which team member is handling each task and how they are progressing. The Release Planner lets users drag and drop tasks, bugs, and user stories to assign them or mark them finished. Burndown charts show you how quickly the team is approaching the project's goals. A Kanban-style card view is also available.

Features:

  • Client portal supports customer interaction
  • Tracks cost-to-completion, time, expenses, and milestones
  • Collaboration tools
  • Gantt charts to track progress
  • Intuitive board interface
  • Budget, portfolio, and resource management features
  • Flexible support for agile or traditional methodologies
  • Team wiki for sharing information
  • Help desk/incident tracking

Pros:

  • Highly customizable and well-organized workflows
  • Precise time-tracking and clear schedule views for sprint management
  • Burndown charts give you a clear image of team progress
  • Strong data visualization features

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • User interface feels dated
  • Less time-tracking capability

Pricing: 

  • Offers 14-day free trial
  • Cloud-based pricing starts at $105/month for 5 team members
  • Installed option starts at $1,250 for 5 team members

 

Conclusion

Each of these five agile project management tools has a unique set of features and benefits that could be a good fit for you. If you’re new to agile project management, read up on its guiding principles before you try to use any of these tools. 

While you’re evaluating tools and resources, why not test-drive Accelo for 30 days? Accelo can boost productivity and profitability across your service business by allowing you to connect all the moving parts of your business into one cloud-based platform. It’s designed to manage your entire business, from prospect to close and everything in between! Check out this 2-minute demo to learn more. 

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