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Ask Mr. Agile®: Which is the best agile lifecycle management tool?

I don’t know if I would say there is a best ALM tool out there. If you think about it, all of the ALM tools are essentially a database with a user interface (UI) on top of them. Having said that, the main thing that we are looking for is this idea of "barely sufficient." Tactile tools happen to work great because they physically engage people, they are accessible, and people are used to using them. As much as possible, we want to work with low fidelity tools so people are focused on doing the job as apposed to managing the tool itself.

As part of our training we happen to give away a free Excel template that allows our teams to do enterprise status reporting in less than one minute a day. If you want to purchase an ALM tool that allows your team to do enterprise status reporting in less that one minute a day, I like that tool. If it is taking two minutes a day, I no longer like that tool.  If you have to hire a full-time administrator just to administer that tool, I hate that tool. And the later one is usually the most common. So, the main thing we encourage teams to think about is, “Why don’t you work with the tools that you already have?” (e.g. physical cards, Post-It notes, Poster-Its). These are things people are used to using, they are comfortable using, and we can start using them immediately. We don’t have to go through training.  If you have to go to training, I’m already skeptical about it. Focus on low fidelity. Focus on producing product.