Trello Vs Sprintly, Blossom.io, Jira As an Agile Scrum Management Tool

Last Sunday @alexp and I(@alexb) spent several hours discussing and figuring out what project management software to use on our new iteration of one of the clients' projects.

At Smart Cloud we tend to go Agile on our projects.
http://agilemanifesto.org/ http://agilemethodology.org/
We needed a tool to help us with Scrum.

Initially we shortlisted these candidates:

  • Trello
  • Sprint.ly
  • Blossom
  • Jira

We used all of them on our projects(except Blossom but more on this below) once or twice and here are our thoughts:


Trello

https://trello.com/

Advantages:

  • Super Responsive
  • Customizable
  • Simple
  • Markdown Support

Disadvantages:

  • Limited features
  • Free

Trello is our go to tool for organizing team/project information, thoughts, priorities, etc.
The main thing to understand about Trello and how to use it best is that Trello simulates a real physical board with stickers. Treat it as such and organize things in "stickers" manner(the way you'd do on a real board with real stickers).


Sprint.ly

https://sprint.ly/

Advantages:

  • Focused(built for) user stories
  • Has story size/complexity measures
  • Can estimate/project deliverables time based on previous stories completion speed/time

Disadvantages:

  • Slow
  • Complicated
  • Has points system(which is a disadvantages for us)
  • Focused too much on user stories
  • Pricy

We used sprint.ly before and had mixed feelings about it. On one hand it is a great tool for defining user stories and following them through the process(Someday, then Backlog, then Current, then Completed, and finally Approved). On the other hand it's fixed on stories too much, we couldn't fit some technical/internal development tasks(like setting up heroku or building an abstract class interface, etc.) in it.

Another thing is points - we found it daunting to go back and reassigns points to stories when we gotten more knowledge about a feature. But this our issue with Scrum/Agile points in general.


Jira

https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira

Advantages:

  • Built with Agile Scrum and Kanban in mind
  • Has good charts and sprint retrospective reports
  • Has a lot of features

Disadvantages:

  • Too complicated
  • Has too many features that you'd actually need
  • Slow
  • Huge(difficult to do even simple tasks like adding users to your project)

Jira is a great solution for a big team(10+), especially if it has a dedicated "project manager/scrum master" to set it up and maintain it during the project.
But in our case we have 2-3 people and don't need all the functionality it offers. Plus it is very slow("on-demand cloud" at least).


Blossom.io

https://www.blossom.io/

Advantages:

  • Has interesting analytics charts
  • Shows card's cycle and time/days it took it to become completed

Disadvantages:

  • Not super responsive(unlike Trello)
  • Slow

In the beginning we actually thought we'd go with Blossom but when we started to fill up Backlog it turned out that even this process is much slower and much less user friendly than any other app above.
I'm sure Blossom team will improve it eventually and we'll try it again but as of the time of writing it isn't ideal.


Conclusion:

We decided to go with Trello.

Of all four it's the only one free which bothers me a bit(we all know that if a software isn't profitable it will eventually either go with ads of some kind or will be acquired).

Update: it actually has a paid business plan with some extra features.

It works pretty well so far for our sprint. We'll share the details of our Scrum Sprints setup with Trello in future posts.

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Alex Bush @alex v bush

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