It's nice when well-designed software works. It's even nicer when you find yourself actually using a tool instead of spending most of your time just figuring it out. Enter my new favorite project planning tool: Bright Green Projects.
The first thing to know about this tool is that you can sign up and evaluate it for free. And you'll want to. The first thing that struck me about Bright Green is that it isn't Scrum-specific. It can handle traditional Waterfall projects just as easily as sprint-driven Agile projects. It's terminology-neutral, appealing to anyone who has worked with requirements and releases, while lessening the learning curve to those new to Scrum.
The second thing that struck me was Bright Green's ease of use. The Scrum tool I'm currently using took several department-wide training sessions to reach about 40% acceptance. In contrast, every section of Bright Green has a link to a quick-but-relevant training video embedded in the page. The navigation pane is actually ordered top-to-bottom based on the steps you're most likely to take. And for a web application, the UI is refreshingly neat and clean, supporting an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Well done.
After watching the first few training videos I was creating stories with subtasks, planning my releases and sprints, dragging tasks into their relevant sprint, and moving them around on the virtual kanban board. And what else is there to Scrum, really? It's a matter of planning, assignment, execution, and monitoring. I find myself ready to get to work with Bright Green because I don't need to figure out any deeper, hidden mysteries.
Bright Green isn't free, it's a hosted service with a monthly subscription fee. It is also web tool that lives in the cloud, so I'm not sure if you can keep your data local. On the technical side, I didn't see any charts besides burndown charts, and I may want to see release- or product-level progress, user reports on task assignment and task completion, or others.
Overall, though, Bright Green manages to simplify project management into its bare essence, which allows you to actually get work done. At last.
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