Agile: To Automate or Not, Does it Matter?

There are raging debates over using pen, paper and whiteboards to track agile projects versus a software tool. The agile purists eschew automation and rely on simple, manual implements.

I admit to being a computer advocate. If it was up to me, pens and paper would be banned.

But it’s not about what I like. It’s about what the agile team likes and what works for them. There is one important point about any software tool — it must be unobtrusive. Computers should make things simpler and faster. If the software gets in the way and forces you do to things in a manner you don’t like, it’s the wrong tool!

If you’re starting out using agile techniques, try the old-fashioned approach first. Good old pens, paper and whiteboards work just fine in many cases.

If you insist on capturing information electronically, spreadsheets work well to capture and track activities. They are good enough to get you started.

Once you feel more comfortable with the agile process, scope out available software tools and try a few. If you find one that works for you, use it.

You can go manual or automated. Either approach can work as long as it works for you.

Updated: December 31, 2010 — 5:18 pm