Agile approach to project management is on a rise of popularity. Elastic approach to project management is being appreciated by more organization every year. According to the last year report from VersionOne, 95% of organizations are highly satisfied with the implementation of Agile and its results. Today we want to show how you can use Redmine for your Agile projects, teams and how to apply best practices. .
As a word of introduction, we assume that you—Dear Reader—are at least aware of Agile, the basics of its methodologies, and tools or principles used. So, to start, even basic Redmine system can easily be adapted for Agile projects. It comes with great features, like storing conversation history to help all team members stay engaged in communication. It has very helpful and useful filters to sort out information and allows to use custom queries. It is also equipped with a roadmap and Gantt for planning sprints. But without some control on the higher level, Redmine might become a 'garbage can' for issues. But with few additional tools included in the Agile plugin, it can level up Agile project management with Redmine. Let’s take a look at tools that can be utilized for each of the Agile methodologies.
Firstly, we will take a look at Scrum framework. It is built upon the idea of splitting projects into smaller chunks that could usually are delivered every 2-4 weeks. The Bigger project is broken down into smaller parts called Epics, which are broken down into user stories(features) and tasks. The most important part of Scrum methodology is a chunk of a project called Sprint. To put in simple words, Sprint is a set of tasks(user stories) selected from the backlog that would be delivered in the future iteration. For software teams, it includes issues, bug fixes or features that need to included in next release of the product.
The crucial part of successful Sprint is a flexible planning and an appropriate selection of tasks. Agile PRO plugin comes with built-in Sprint planner that makes this task easy for the Scrum master. First thing firsts, version planner let you quickly rearrange issues on the lists with drag&drop. Secondly, for each sprint, you can see all the planned, opened and completed tasks and a progress bar that indicates the current status of Sprint.
Once Sprints are created, you need to be able to see the work the same way online as offline visually. Scrum board is your virtual representation of the real board.
It contains all the features necessary for your work. Firstly, the cards with the issues, that represents the user stories. In the primary set, each issue is assigned to one of three categories - Task, User Story or Bug, but you can extend them with custom types that are required to match your processes. You can assign Story Point (or estimated time) as a precise metric for estimation.
You can be displayed issue cards with various levels of details, starting from a basic view (Issue ID, Tracker, Priority, Assignee) up to enhanced view with all the information visible right on the board. This can be especially helpful for big projects or teams.
Each issue card has an option for adding inline comments and checklists that can be edited by the Scrum Board. We dedicated one of the Tip Tuesday articles to the topic how to fasten the communication with inline comments. Checklists are particularly useful to add small tasks or sub-tasks to the user story without creating dozens of separate sub-issues. To replicate the project states you have in your organization, we designed scrum board in a way it ccaan be divided into as many status—columns as you need. There are also customizable workflows build into Redmine, which let you set up the process of changing statuses. It defines how an issue can move between states. What’s worth mentioning board is fool-proofed and won’t let issues to move into conditions different that permitted.
What would make your everyday work as well as daily stand-ups more efficient? Yes, the data. Moreover, the more precisely, fast-served and visually they are presented the better. To serve you them in a convenient way, you can create custom board views for different needs, for instance, one for Scrum Master and the other one for a project manager. Set of task, filters, and arrangement of items on the board can be different, and you switch between them using the menu in the right column.
Also, daily scrums and retrospectives, as well as management of the project and tracking the status of current Sprint would not be possible without the detailed Agile charts. Light (free) version of Agile plugin comes with Cumulative Flow, basic Burndown and Velocity charts. PRO version is additionally equipped with Lead time, Average lead time, Trackers cumulative flow, advanced Burnup and Burndown charts—separately for issues, story points, hours. The user can filter all charts by tracker, priority, author, assignee, target version (Sprint version), subject, estimated time, and percent of a task done/finished. You can also add your own filters. All diagrams are described more detailed in the Help Section - about Agile charts .
Kanban is appropriate for a different set of projects that Scrum. This melody is better suited for organizations that are facing fast-paced environment, with variability in the priorities of development. As the core principle of Kanban is continuous delivery flow, it is more flexible for changes and easier to adjust for a new situation. Opposite to Scrum, it is about working with a limited number of tasks at the same time, and as soon as they’re finished, to take another one from the backlog. Crucial here is Work in Progress Limit that protect your team from overloading.
The main part of your executive panel is Kanban board with Story Cards that displays them with all necessary information you and your team needs. In basic settings, story cards are divided into three main phases (columns) - To Do, In Progress, Done. However, according to your needs, the cards can be divided into more Stages. You can also use swimlanes to split the task into assignees, projects, categories, trackers and other. You can also move the issues between the statuses and swimlanes. With WIP you can easily set limits for a number of issues on the boards. Crossing the limit with display warning as well as change the entire column background color, to notify about exceeding the limits.
Shortly speaking, Kanban board can be fully customized. Starting from the way the story cards are displayed (you can change colors, statuses, filter the views), how much information they show to the users (from simple basic overview into fully-detailed view). You can create custom views or custom boards for different roles, Epics or Stories. With prebuilt Workflow planner, you can configure flexible path through statuses for issues. It will not allow moving the task into forbidden state.
To better control the project use Cumulative Flow diagram. Exactly as for other Agile charts, it can be filtered or changed to display data by project, tracker, assignee, or other.
Some companies adopted mixed methodologies for their projects. In the approach they connect features from Scrum and Kanban in different roles. Two of the most popular are Scumban and Kanplan. The first one combines approach of ongoing development from Kanban, with WIP focus, to better understand, improve and monitor the way the team works, and pairs it with Scrum principles of working over tasks. The second methodology is based on Kanban and included the backlog and the of managing it from Scrum. There are also other variations as some teams took the features that suit them best from both approaches and combined their set. Also for periods of transition between Scrum to Kanban or otherwise where tools from both fields are in use, it is safe to say, we got your back.
We are using our mixed Agile board for example for marketing.
Share your insights with the community and let us know which tool or feature you find most useful in your project. Leave a comment with your feedback below.