Scrum is a very popular agile software development framework. And rightly so – it is simple, flexible and powerful. And helps team self-organise to build innovative products. While managing risk and coping with uncertainty.
But what about good project management tools? There are a lot of great free tools out there for helping coordinate the work of your Scrum teams.
Let’s go through them and see which might be a good fit for you.
Jira is probably the most well-known and successful Scrum tool in the world. It is the flagship of software behemoth Atlassian and is found all over the world. Jira normally costs quite a lot but has a free version that supports up to 10 users.
So if you have a small team and need project management software, Jira could be right for you. It supports multiple issue types, custom fields and workflows, and you can choose between a Scrum or a Kanban board. Depending on whether you are working in sprints or not.
It also has the powerful JQL (Jira Query Language), which lets you create custom queries for filtering issues. Things I don’t like about it are the UI, which is a bit clumsy and out of date. And the limited options for reporting and planning. It can do Cumulative Flow Diagrams and (if you dig hard enough) lead time and cycle time, but they are not done very well.
Overall it is a pretty good tool though, so if you have 10 or less people in your firm, might be worth checking out.
Trello is a simple and lightweight tool for managing work across a board. It was bought by Atlassian (who make Jira) in January 2017. One interesting thing that came out of that is that you can have easy integration between Jira and Trello projects.
Trello is a much easier tool than Jira to configure and use. You can have a board up and running in no time. You can define work types, work states, and create your board with columns. It does not support a lot of the full features and configuration options that tools like Jira have, however.
If you have a small team with a simple workflow, Trello could be for you. And it is 100% free.
Scrumblr is a free and open source Kanban board. It is a very simple tool with extremely limited customisation. In fact, I would not really recommend it for anything more serious than a personal kanban board. If you want to use something like that to just track your own day to day tasks.
I don’t think it would really work for a real Scrum team. That is, one doing actual software development. It is one of the open source Scrum tools but is very limited in what it can do. You can’t define projects, issue types, or run any reports. It just a board you can drag cards around on.
Nevertheless, it is an open source project management tool, so you might want to have a look at the codebase. You could even fork it and customise it yourself, if you have those skills. So it could be worth a look, if you want to do personal Kanban, or you want to play around with the code.
IceScrum is a Scrum project management software that is used in small and large scale firms. It currently has over 100,000 users.
According to IceScrum, it has strong compliance with Scrum and agile principles, and is based on an open source engine. It also has integration with many common tools such as Git, Slack and Jenkins. Which could be valuable for you, depending on your tech stack.
It does have a free version, but it is only limited to a meagre three users. (As opposed to Jira, which supports up to 10). So unless you have a tiny team, it is more like a trial than a free version. Anyway, it could be worth a look.
MeuScrum is a simple and lightweight tool for Scrum Agile management. It doesn’t have a lot of features but has enough to get you going. It is and always has been completely free! You can create a board, customise the columns and workflows, and use estimations and priorities to help plan your work.
It doesn’t have a full set of tools and integrations like some of the bigger commercial tools, but is completely free for teams of any size. So you can’t really complain there!
Samepage is an online Scrum work management software. However, as of writing (2021) they are not accepting new signups. I’m not really sure why. So there isn’t much I can say about this tool.
Yodiz is an online agile project management tool. It has a free tier that supports only three users (like IceScrum). They support both agile and traditional project management approaches. You can create a backlog with epics, stories, tasks and so on. And plot them along a timeline. Or move them along a Scrum or kanban board. So a similar set of functions to Jira or Trello (though not as feature-rich as Jira).
It offers integration with some popular tools like Github, Trello and Slack, which is nice.
Yodiz could be a good tool for a very small team of developers. Though being limited to three users is probably going to be a problem as you scale up.
KanbanTool is a lightweight tool for viewing and managing work items on a board. It is mainly focused on Kanban, though it could easily be adopted for Scrum too. They boast some big name clients like Cisco as their customers, which is impressive.
While it is mainly a web-based tool, they offer mobile apps too, for both iOS and Android platforms.
There is a free tier but it only supports two boards and two users. So that is going to be pretty limiting for all but the very smallest of software teams.
Zoho Projects is a popular online project management tool. It is aimed more at the big business / enterprise market, and features issue and task tracking, Gannt charts, incident management and SLAs, and so on.
The good news is that there is a free version that supports up to three users. The bad news is that it is more focused on project management (or Waterfall type approaches) rather than Scrum.
There could be a way to adopt it for a Scrum team, but out of the box it might not be the best tool for a Scrum team. You would probably be better off using one of the simpler tools that was created with agile, Scrum or kanban in mind. Like Zoho Sprints for example (see below).
Sprints is the software management tool by Zoho that is more aimed at the smaller business market and with agile in mind. So this could be a better choice than Zoho Projects for you. It has a similar free tier to Zoho Projects, allowing five projects and up to five users.
Zoho Sprints is much more focused on agile or Scrum practitioners. It lets you build up a backlog of epics and stories, move them into sprints, assign them estimates and priorities, and so on. It integrates with Jenkins for those who are moving down the DevOps road.
Clickup is a pretty scary and formidable suite of tools for collaboration and workflow. It offers everything from document management, to task boards, to workflow automation, design management, and lots more.
It’s a pretty astonishing set of features. And what’s more, they have a free tier with unlimited users! The main limitation is 100 megabytes storage. Which might be fine or might be a problem, depending on how much data you are going to need.
While it does offer “Kanban boards” and “sprint management”, I feel that Clickup is too spread out to do a particularly good job at those features.
If you have a need for many of the other features of Clickup, then it could be a good choice for you. But if you are just looking for a Scrum or Kanban board, I would probably go with one of the tools that are more specialized at that job.
In summary, there are a wide variety of online Scrum tools, and many good ones with a free tier. Jira and Trello are probably the big heavy hitters but IceScrum and Yodiz could be worth a look too, depending on your needs.
Have you had experience with some of these tools? Let me know what you think in the comments!