I am a lazy person, looking forward new tools that would allow me to spend less time doing unnecessary work and more time enjoying lolcats.
Few things that always seem to repeat themselves as problems in projects are collaboration and organizing work. I’ve tested numerous different tools on both areas and always seem to have come up with problems which could have been solved with more discipline from the team, but in the end just showed that much more lowtech solutions like real whiteboards and actually being in the same room kicked ass over applications.
I mean there are some really, really nice features in many applications – and to see burndown charts and everything is sweet, but if they at the same time make it harder to see the big picture, are cumbersome to use or otherwise limit your creativity and flow — then it is time to look for something better.
Whiteboards have been awesome and I have felt most creative as well as in control, when I have been able to look at large whiteboard and work on it with the team. Same functionality and ease of use has been tried to be copied in way or another in many applications, but it hasn’t been quite the same.
At the moment I seem to have found a perfect combination for my needs and my ways of working. I am still in the process of getting real world experiences in actual projects, but even with really small exposure I can say that these tools have improved our work already in two different contexts with different people!
Flowdock is an awesome discussion tool, like irc for the web era. We can connect and discuss issues over the web without vpn connections or different client applications. Messages can be tagged and marked to people with specific markers ( #tag and @huima for example ) – and everything is later on searchable on the Flow. Immediate benefits of taking Flowdock into use is getting away from constant email spam, as discussions and notifications can be made in the Flow — not in the email.
Flowdock also has a nice set of integrations to repositories and monitoring tools, as well as email — so you can integrate many tools to communicate directly to the Flow. That also is a huge benefit – as it makes possible that there is just one place for the team to keep an eye on.
If you haven’t already checked out Flowdock, do so: flowdock.com
Trello on the other hand is so far the best free implementation of scrum wall / Kanban board that does not force you to do things in one specific way. Just create as many columns ( lists ) as you like and add cards to lists. Move cards from list to another and change things as you like. Visual and easy to use. I like it!