One challenge facing large agile development shops is keeping track of what individual teams are doing, and allocating developers, testers and other resources across an array of projects.
Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., said he’s observed organizations that run multiple concurrent agile development projects having difficulty applying a management process around all that.
“Teams may have a really good idea what they’re working on with their whiteboards and their glass walls with posted notes on it, but it’s really hard to bring the CIO down to see that when he asks what’s going on,” said Hammond.
Hammond is the co-author of a new report released early May about the state of vendor offerings in the agile management software space entitled The Forrester Wave: Agile Development Management Tools Q2 2010.
Basically, agile development tools demonstrate their true value only when they support the practices that teams are engaged in, said Hammond. Development teams typically use burn-up or burn-down charts to map progress against planned milestones, but if agile development tools don’t support that out-of-the-box, Hammond said the full value of the tool will not be realized.
“If it doesn’t (support that), we see teams reverting back to whiteboards and putting up their tasks on the whiteboard,” said Hammond.
The Forrester report lists IBM Corp. and MKS Inc. as having the best feature set among the available offerings on the agile development market. The ideal capabilities in a feature set, according to the report, include integration with other tools and IDEs, reporting capabilities, a flexible process, electronic signatures for an audit trail, and authentication and access to ensure developers are restricted to certain projects and not others.