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InfoQ Homepage News ScrumWorks Pro Announced

ScrumWorks Pro Announced

Danube Technologies this week announced the release of ScrumWorks Pro, an enhanced, commercially supported version of their free ScrumWorks product, designed by ScrumMasters specifically to support the Scrum process framework. ScrumWorks General Manager Victor Szalvay stated that the Pro product was created “to support the overwhelming customer requests for new features and professional support."  This augments the existing wiki knowledge-base and support forums for the free product.  The Danube site includes a comparison of the free and Pro editions.

In an introductory online demo, the ScrumWorks Product Owner walks visitors through an online web client session, using voice-over to point out interesting features.  Three additional demos show the toolset from the specific viewpoint of the Product Owner (focus on ROI), team members (focus on visibility of progress) and of the ScrumMaster (focus on productivity).

New features, available only in the Pro edition, include:
  • Business Value: complete cost/benefit analysis to assist Product Owners with prioritization. 
  • Web reports: publish project data and reports in real time to unauthenticated, browser-accessible web reports. Reports update in real time to provide stakeholders a bird’s eye view of data without having to log in to tooling. Bookmark the reports in a browser and check back periodically for updates. Drag-and-drop report editor with customizable report modules.
  • Web client completely re-written to resemble a task board, which updates project data in real time. Features a drag-and-drop AJAX based user-interface. Provides a visual representation of “doneness” for scheduled work.
  • User access controls: role based system allowing the product and global administrator to assign granular user permissions to every aspect of the product. Drill down on user-level access rights or broadly define system wide role templates.
  • Scaling: add multiple teams to a single product. Burndown data is aggregated for multiple teams to provide accurate forecasting.
  • Time Savers: open multiple products at once and drag-and-drop items between products. Keyboard shortcuts and copy and paste tasks are great time savers.
The Pro business value features are likely to be of importance to Scrum practitioners.  The tool allows teams to define and compare business value of different requirements, use ROI calculations to assist with prioritization, and report on "earned business value"  to identify the rate at which value is being added to the system.  Earned business value allows teams to track and report in terms of importance to their customers - different from traditional "earned value analysis" which tracks project parameters like % budget spent, which doesn't in fact guarantee that a corresponding % of value has actually been realized.

Information radiators provided by the tool reproduce drawings frequently seen on whiteboards in scrum teamrooms (though estimation in "headaches" is an unusual touch - a departure from the usual story points or "bananas"):

Taskboard (Pro edition only)

Product Burndown

ScrumWorks is one of the more mature dedicated-to-Agile toolsets on the market - the free edition, currently at version 1.8.1, has seen 20 public versions since its initial release, incorporating the most-commonly requested customer features along the way, though this has only addressed the very top of the list so far.  It is currently in use by both very small and very large teams.  Its creators aim to increase project transparency and visibility while reducing project overhead, with the final objective of helping agile development teams to increase product quality, lower project risk and ultimately lower development cost.

ScrumWorks Pro
is available for immediate download.

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