[Webinar Recap] Tooling Agile: Part One

Veracity’s very own Damian Dingley wrapped up 2020 with Part One of his two-part series on how to select the right tools for your Agile organization. We’ve made his slide deck available as well as a full transcript

He’s kicking off 2021 with Part Two on January 14th  and we’d love to see you there.

If you missed Part One you can watch the recording or keep reading for a recap so you’re caught up for Part Two.

There was a great Q&A session at the end of Part One and we’re going to post a Q&A recap later this week (so stay tuned for that!). 

Throughout this two-part series, Damian will cover the following categories of tools to support your Agile culture:

  1. Go-To’s: Everyday Essentials & Must-Haves
  2. Planning: High-Level Visioning, Road-mapping, & Oversight
  3. Distributed Teams: Communication & Virtual Office Space
  4. Knowledge Share: Team & Organizational Well-being
  5. Value: Measuring the Value Delivered by an Agile Platform & Culture

In Part One, Damian covered the first two categories: Go-To’s & Planning.

  1. Go-To’s: Everyday Essentials & Must-HavesCharacteristics of a go-to backlog management tool: Hierarchical breakdowns Initiatives Releases Features User stories Tasks Good visualization Ease of use Boards Cards Trends Metrics Metrics Velocity Burndown Release progress Bug management Integrations Source control CI/CD chain Planning Big picture Enterprise & Scale Multiple products Multiple teams
  2. Planning: High-Level Visioning, Road-mapping, & OversightCharacteristics of a go-to product management tool: Hierarchical breakdowns Portfolios Releases Features User stories Tools What if? Dependencies Timelines Metrics Progress Risk management Integrations Backlog management Development Visualization Big picture Dashboards Progress metrics Enterprise & Scale Multiple products Multiple teams

Let’s break these categories and characteristics down further.

Go-To’s: Everyday Essentials & Must-Haves

These are the tools we need every day. They are the key to our Agile day-to-day operations, support our stand-ups, and manage backlogs. The ideal tool has hierarchical breakdowns, good visualization, metrics, integration options, planning features, and the ability to scale with your organization.


video of three different colors of sticky notes cascading down on one another

  • Sticky Notes: They’re collaborative, engaging, versatile, and simple. You could quite effectively run a whole Agile organization using sticky notes. It’s not the most efficient way to run an organization, but you could.
  • Trello: The Digital Sticky Notes! Trello is simple. There are additional add-ons, especially for Agile, but you can use Trello out of the box. There’s a free version of it. You can transfer those sticky notes if you’d like. You can create your progress lanes, and backlog lanes, move sticky notes around in real-time, and share with whoever you’d like. It’s nice, very effective, and easy to use.

Damian’s Top Picks:

Planning: High-Level Visioning, Road-mapping, & Oversight

These are the tools dedicated to planning. The ideal planning tool has hierarchical breakdowns, the ability to create dependencies,  metrics, integration options, good visualization, and the ability to scale with your organization. You’ll notice there’s some overlap between these two categories, but it’s still important to consider and evaluate features using each category as a lens in your decision-making process.


  • Broadcom Rally
    • With Rally, you can break down a user story into sub-user stories or even sub-sub-user stories if you’re feeling particularly wild. If you’re in a planning exercise you can have somebody typing away, capturing ideas and information inline without needing multiple clicks. The fact that you have an infinite capability of breaking that high-level story into smaller chunks to make it easier to understand is so nice. You don’t have to reconfigure anything and it provides hierarchical capability without too many constraints which is a win/win.
  •  VersionOne
    • Similar to Rally, VersionOne is another classic example of surfacing some metrics to help improve predictability for a team in assessing how long something’s going to take. That’s a big challenge with software. VersionOne has nice dashboards and makes it easy to surface important metrics for transparency which is useful for the team, scrum master, product owner, and useful for the organization overall.
  • Jira:
    • Jira does a good job. In every iteration of the release, it gets better and better. When Damian first worked with Jira, he struggled with it. Jira started as a trouble ticket support tool for technical support. Atlassian is growing this fantastic ecosystem of tools for our development teams, development tools, testing CICD, DevOps, and knowledge sharing. In terms of market leaders, they’re right up there. Damian is happy to use Jira; however, he finds it a bit clunky. giphy-3
      The other challenge with it is the fact that there’s almost no limit to the customization.  You can create some fascinating, streamlined, custom functionality for your particular organization. But, at the same time, you can get yourself in a right old mess, because eventually, nobody will understand how it works anymore. It’s really powerful, but you’ve got to be careful with what you do with it.

Damian’s Top Picks:

And that wraps up Part One! You’re all caught up for Part Two on January 14th!

Part Two Preview

Damian is positively thrilled about Part Two. Part One is your go-to, everyday tools. Part Two, we’re going to tackle some slightly more interesting sides of what we do under the Agile platform. 

What kind of tools do we have out there to improve communication between remote teams, and virtual office spaces?

If you’re doing an Agile inception that requires real hands-on interactions how do you reproduce that feeling of all being in a room together virtually? Will it keep people engaged? It’s difficult!

How do we engage people again as we’re living through the pandemic and working remotely? How do we replicate that feeling of being in the same room? 

In Part Two, Damian will answer these questions as well as focus on knowledge sharing and measuring value.


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