Thursday 14 August 2008


Someone has recently posted a question on a Scrum forum, asking about the best software tools to enable the use of Scrum. Ok, they have some issues with remote teams, but they kind of missed the point.

Fortunately, plenty of subscribers have replied with the basic recommendations:
Index Cards (lots)
A whiteboard (but a wall will do)
and, if you like the finer things in life, a spreadsheet for generating the burn down graph.

That's what I like about Scrum. It's about doing the simple things (A.K.A "the bleeding obvious") well.

That's not to say I don't like tools though.
I have been trialling some pretty heavy duty tools, and I like them. As a company, we build on a Microsoft platform, and Microsoft have something call Team Foundation Server. It's a pretty nice collaborative development tool that can be used for source control and work item tracking. What's even nicer, is that lots of people are developing tools that sit on top of TFS, that provide templates for managing Scrum. My favourite tool is a "virtual whiteboard" with "virtual cards" that we can move across as we progress. We like this tool so much, we are even considering ditching the physical whiteboard.

But the really important thing is, that we can do this ONLY because we know our process works. The software doesn't make us good at Scrum. It just saves trees and allows us to keep all our information in one place.

The trouble with really neat tools, is that they can easily distract us from the really important thing, which is the process underneath. Don't buy a tool because the packet says that it will cure all your ills. It won't. But if your existing processes are sound, then by all means get something that saves you a bit of time.

Be warned!