Scrum Tools | ScrumDesk | Review

ScrumDesk is high visual tool created by Torin, a company from Slovak Republic, to help us manage projects with Scrum. Torin brougth to us a very distinct tool, with different ways to organize the features and as said earlier with a special care to visual solutions.

Getting Started

ScrumDesk organizes the features on a bar at the top, on the left side you can access the main features, on the center you can find options to maintain the objects like, stories, task, etc. Then you can find viewing options to the current feature. At first it can looks a little bit confusing, but as soon as you understand their mechanics you can enjoy a fast access to almost everything you need to do in ScrumDesk.

Backlog 

ScrumDesk provides many views of your backlog, you can see it as a grid, as a desk with cards, etc. The desk view is really good, to create a new story, just click on the New option on the center menu and Scrum Desk will show a new card for you, and you can edit it the way you like, Story Name, Detail, Card color, etc. To estimate your stories ScrumDesk uses the Fibonacci based scale to define the Effort property. This scale is most used to Planning Poker Cards, if you don’t have the cards the ScrumDesk comes with a Planning Poker module to help the teams to achieve some collective estimates. The prioritization can be define by the Importance property, the importance is a numeric value with no limit. It’s an easy way to define the prioritization and makes possible to define a different number to each story, but if you have a long backlog it can become a slow and confusing way to define the prioritization.

scrumdesk-1

Planning
 

Once you have your backlog in place, estimated and prioritaized, it’s time to plan your sprints. To create a sprint you just need to define a name a start date and end date. At the planning feature you can access all story cards from your backlog not assinged to a sprint and just drag them and drop in the new sprint area. Very quickly , very visual way, it works fine. Once you have define your Selected Product Backlog for the sprint, it’s now a good time to create your task, you could have created it anytime before that, but it makes more sense to worry about the tasks on this moment of the sprint. To create new tasks just go to a story card details and use the Tasks area, you can estimate the tasks if you like or assing to someone, as I said on prevous reviews, I don’t recomend any of this two features. ScrumDesk also provide a small burndonw chart for the story. This can be a little unusual for mos teams.

Running a Sprint

After the planning phase is done, the team starts working and ScrumDesk comes with a cool taskboard where drag and drop the task to update their status. Instead of the three usual columns (ToDo, In Progress, Done), they choose to use four (ToDo, Checked Out, Solved, Completed). This chance doesn’t bring any kind of improvment, just create a additional step to complete a task that many teams will skip. During the sprint you can register the impedments that came along on the Impediment Backlog anytime you need, the problem is the impediments are deeply connected with a story, so to create a new impediment you have to do it on the Story detail feature, witch may not be the best solution if you a have a more general impediment, but once they are created you can access them all on a single view.

scrumdesk-2

Tracking and More
On the Reports screen, ScrumDesk provides a lot of tracking features, like the Burndown chart, a Velocity Chart, a Parking Lot chart, and a TimeSheet. All this are very well build and can provide some good visual help to track the projects. There’s a Restropective tool as well, but is more of a poll tool where people can present ideas and the others the vote for that. Besides all this ScrumDesk cames with good extra features like a BugTrack Integration, Communications tool team members and more
.

Conclusion
ScrumDesk is a big tool with many details and it’s not possible to cover them all on this review, but
you can see that it’s a tool that can compete with the most known ones in the market and for the amount of features they provide the price it’s not high as some people may expect. ScrumDesk have a good set of features that covers the basic needs a scrum team. That’s some good ideas that came up a little short, like the Impediment backlog and Restrospective tool. But if you look for a high tech tool, ScrumDesk is one that you can consider. Btw – did I say, that I like the colors ScrumDesk uses?

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I got some very good comments from the makers of ScrumDesk:

Usability notes
A new story can be created in Desk view simply by double-click. Story will be created on the clicked place.

Fibonacci  scale

ScrumDesk is using Fibonacci scale, but it is not tied to it. You can enter your own value of course.

Prioritization
You are right about problems with manual entering the priority. We have to make this feature better.

Story burn down chart
It can be unusual. Maybe it is against the agile principle (as I understand it) – „do not track the story, track the result“.  But, top priority client requested us to see the progres of the story.

TaskBoard – Solved state
When I have been thinking about the task board, I studied many real task board pictures  available on the web. Many of them contained column „Ready for Acceptance“, „Ready for Test“.
We made a small research and named this state as „Solved“ – story is developed, it have to be accpeted or tested now.

This state can be skipped, so you can complete task directly. It is an optional state.

Impediments
The release developed currently  doesn’t connect impediment with the story.

Retrospective
We are understanding the retrospective as a board containing ideas (what was good, what was wrong,…). The poll for best ideas is similar to poll in Mike Cohn’s book.

 

 

 

2 responses to “Scrum Tools | ScrumDesk | Review

  1. Pingback: Scrum Tools | List « Scrum 4 You

  2. ScrumDesk is still a very young tool. We tried to use it in conjunction with the TFS synchronisation and finally stopped using it. It is simply not mature enough and has some annoyances. The thing which impressed me most was the direct contact to the product owner who tried to help us get it running in many live chats. But at least we canceled the usage of ScrumDesk.

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