Kanban scrumish tool(s) to get started


After investigating a little bit scrum and kanban, I finally read this answer and decided to start using kanban, picking something from scrum (note that I'm working mostly by myself, and I do have read this question and its answers).

Now, my question is: which tool would be best to get started?

  1. whiteboard and postit
  2. agilezen.com
  3. JIRA with greenhopper
  4. a spreadsheet (possibly on Google Docs)
  5. brightgreenprojects.com
  6. Agilo
  7. Target Process
  8. something else (please specify)

Notes about each:

  1. I would lean towards the whiteboard, but there are several drawbacks (e.g. cannot make automatic charts, time measurements, metrics, and sometimes I work from home – where I need it most – and it's not convenient to carry 🙂

  2. I don't want to remember another username/password (I promised to myself to signup only to OpenID-enabled services)

  3. My employer has JIRA but my group doesn't use it – I might ask for an account (it shouldn't require another password) and maybe later involve the rest of the group. But I don't know if they are using greenhopper and if it's a big deal installing it.

  4. I generally hate spreadsheets

  5. maybe overkill?

  6. I'd be happy to have a localhost instance, but it could be problematic to give access to the whole group (per network/firewalls) – not a deal-breaker but surely a concern

What I'd like to get from this?

  • being more productive
  • tracking how much time I spend in any given task, possibly discussing the issue with my supervisor
  • tracking what "blocks" me most often
  • immediately see where I am compared to my schedule
  • manage in a better way my long todo list (e.g. answering faster to the "what I should do next?" question)

Do you have any suggestion?

Note on the scrumish tag: read the Henrik Kniberg's PDF. He first introduced the definition of scrumish on page 9.

Best Solution

If I may, I think that you are on the wrong path. Anything else than 1. or 4. is overkill and pretty much useless for a non distributed team. So for a team of one person...

Seriously, if you can avoid using a web based application, just do it. First, unless you are already mastering Scrum/Kaban, you need to learn the process, not a tool. Don't let a tool dictate the process. Then most web based tools are just too much click intensive, less easy and fast to update, less transparent/visible than a spreadsheet and a physical board. They are really 2nd category options.

So, I'd go for a spreadsheet and a physical board combo. If you need some charts (I'm still wondering what kind of chart/metrics you want to generate and what value they provide), a spreadsheet is the ideal tool (but honestly, you don't need any tool to draw a burndown). If you need to work from home, take the spreadsheet (or use google docs) and post its with you. Let's be objective, the impediments you mentioned are actually not real.

Last thing, if you had chosen the simplest thing that can possibly work, you would already be doing Scrum, Scrumban or whatever. So, instead of looking for a tool, my advice would be to just start doing it.

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