Agile Project Management Tools

5 Best Agile Project Management Tools

ChelseaWilliams
By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
May 27 2021 read
Share

When your team works on software development projects or similar types of client work, at some point, you’re faced with a choice: Which project management methodology will we use?

If you’ve decided to go with agile methods, it’s best to stay organized and establish full project visibility from the beginning.

Luckily, that’s easier than ever. Because agile project management has become widespread, there are now plenty of tools that can help perfect your team’s processes.

 Here, we’ll review:

 The Argument for Agile Methodologies

You might be familiar with the two most popular project management methodologies: agile and waterfall. While some types of projects are better suited for one or the other, there is evidence that agile methods are more effective, on average.

Studies have shown that the agile approach to project management results in a 64% success rate, whereas the waterfall method is successful just 49% of the time.

That’s partly because it facilitates continuous iteration and quick, incremental progress through project goals. Breaking projects into smaller builds that can be developed and tested concurrently by self-organizing and self-managing teams can reduce bottlenecks and help your business achieve more than it would with a linear approach.

Another benefit of agile project management is that you can test and deliver a product sooner, which is helpful for achieving business goals and demonstrating progress to stakeholders and clients. 

Staying on top of agile workflows means handling a lot at once, so you’re likely to need a centralized source of truth to make them work. The right software platform can allow team members to collaborate, focus on bite-sized problems that can be solved quickly and track upcoming tasks and work in progress without holding up the entire project.

What Is Agile Project Management Software?

Agile project management tools simplify the stages of project management, from project planning to development to testing and creating a long-term product roadmap. The best agile project management software improves team efficiency, financial performance and customer satisfaction.

Most software products in this category will include a core set of features:

  • Task organization and visualization boards or charts
  • Time tracking and other resource management tools
  • Calendars and project timelines to support time management
  • Collaboration tools to simplify team communication
  • Workflow creation and management options
  • A method for product roadmap development 

The Agile Approach in Professional Services

Professional services firms may use agile methodologies a bit different than software developers. The nature of a client-based business requires flawless internal coordination, so as not to overlook any critical steps and continue meeting client expectations along the way. That extra level of accountability makes it imperative that you find agile project management software that’s a good fit for your work style and industry.

Developing a truly agile workflow may also require a culture shift. Especially if you’re not in software development, your team could be in the dark about what being agile looks like. It’s a good idea to train them well in your chosen methodology before you commit to bringing on new software. 

Then, to help your team truly implement the agile approach, we recommend adopting a platform that operates in the cloud and integrates projects with sales, quotes, tickets, retainers, timesheets, billing and scheduling. 

However, if you're looking for a standalone project management tool, here are five that are proven to help manage agile teams. 

Top Agile Project Management Tools

The following five tools have different strengths and weaknesses, and they may not all work for your industry and type of project. Use the overviews below to get an initial sense of which could be worth a deeper look.

TIP: If you’re new to agile project management, read up on its guiding principles before you try to use any of these tools.

1. ActiveCollab: Best for Tracking Tasks and Billable Hours


ActiveCollab is meant to be a workspace hub for your entire organization. It combines a variety of tools ranging from task management to time tracking and invoicing, with simple ways for teams to collaborate in each area of the platform.

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 a 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.

Features: 

  • Task management: All task updates and progress are at your fingertips on the convenient dashboard
  • Search and filtering of tasks help 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 and Sprints

Jira is used primarily by software developers and is best suited to that project model. Although it's been developed over time for a wider range of applications, the software was originally built as a bug-tracking tool. The software supports a variety of agile methods, including Scrum and Kanban.

Users create roadmaps for projects — helpful visuals for 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 and support continuous improvement. 

Features:

  • Scrum boards
  • Kanban boards
  • Tasks and 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 for agile approach, specifically 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
  • Free plan supports up to ten users and is fully functional
  • $7 per user per month for ten users or more
  • Premium plan is $14 per user per month

3. Pivotal Tracker: Best for Workflows and 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 roles 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 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 for 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:

  • Steep 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 one to five collaborators, with a five-project limit
  • $10 per month flat rate for six to ten collaborators
  • $6.50 per month per team member for 11+ collaborators

4. Trello: Best Free Collaboration 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 Gmail.

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 and retrieval
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Task assignments for groups or individuals
  • Voting and discussion options

Pros:

  • Free version available
  • Well-organized and user-friendly
  • Widely used with a recognizable 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 one board or project
  • Comments can’t be edited

Pricing: 

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

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.

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 team members a lot of time while helping customers feel involved in the process.

 Axosoft also features a team wiki, which provides a lot of space to share detailed information and specifics related to a project.

Features:

  • Client portal supports customer collaboration
  • Tracks cost-to-completion, time, expenses and milestones
  • Internal 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 per month for five team members
  • Installed option starts at $1,250 for five team members

Why Project Managers Love Agile Tools

Agile project management software will likely be well-received by team members in various roles, but it may be most greatly appreciated by project managers.

Platforms built for the agile approach benefit project managers by:

  • Improving resource management: Tools that provide precise time tracking and calendars can help project managers continuously correct task allocation and ensure that they’re not overloading anyone with too much work.
  • Simplifying communication: For your project management team, clear communication is key throughout the design, development, testing and release phases of agile projects. Tools like the above, with collaborative features like file sharing, commenting and direct messaging can relieve a significant burden for your project managers.
  • Easing issue tracking: Because these software platforms are built to handle ongoing evaluation of how well a project is progressing, they can help project managers and other leaders hold task and product owners accountable during the project. This is much more useful than a postmortem review, since confronting issues in real time can help you avoid more in the same project.
  • Encouraging problem solving: Agile methodologies in general are great for helping teams solve problems together, but the right software can provide a historical record of solutions to help with future projects. It can replace unorganized notes from brainstorming sessions and provide visibility to other teams that need to know how an issue was resolved.
  • Supporting data-driven decisions: Some agile tools have the capacity to generate reports and timelines that can give project managers the information they need to prioritize continuous improvement for themselves and their teams.

READ NEXT: 5 Best Project Management Podcasts for Industry Insights

How Client Relationships Benefit From Better Tech

While it may seem like adopting new technology is solely for the purpose of improving internal communication, generating data and meeting business goals, having the right tech stack can also have profound effects on your connections with clients.

Guided by tech that’s built for agile teams, you can provide clients with regular, accurate status updates and generate deliverables without running into roadblocks or holding up projects as you wait for clarity about a detail. Over time, clients will come to rely on your team for quick, high-quality work and better communication than they’ll get from businesses that don’t use project management tools.

Couple project management software with an effective CRM and your team will find it easy to keep tabs on account history and provide first-rate client service. 

Share

About the Author

ChelseaWilliams

Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

Schedule a Live Demo
Tailored to your business All questions answered
Request a Time
Accelo uses cookies to give you the best possible experience - by clicking 'Continue' you agree to our use of cookies. Refer to our Privacy Policy for details. Continue