Agile Management Suite Grows Up

Agile management tools are maturing as the market defines its needs

Agile development requires more than just a change in mindset and process: it needs robust tools. That requires, of course, a maturing ecosystem with products that have gone through a number of iterations, as the market sorts out what dev shops are looking for.

Case in point is Microsoft development tools provider Telerik, which entered the Agile tools market about a year ago with TeamPulse, a project management suite with a Silverlight client.

TeamPulse provides visual tools to capture app requirements based on user stories and scheduling for iterations and sprints. Agile teams can sync TeamPulse with TFS 2008/2010 but the Agile PM doesn't require TFS. A free Community Edition of TeamPulse is available for up to five users. The Standard Edition is $249 per user and can support multiple teams and projects.

On Monday Telerik released its fourth update to TeamPulse. The 2011 R2 release adds a unified backlog management view, data views and drag-and-drop prioritization, e-mail notifications, tagging and commenting support, new reporting features and lots of bug fixes.

"A lot of organizations are starting to use Agile because most of the time they are able to get good metrics from the team in terms of performance, which helps you with estimation, planning and so forth," says Joel Semeniuk, executive vice president, Agile Project Management Division, Telerik. Agile software engineering practices are well established, according to Semeniuk, but often the project management aspect, which is based on a different paradigm than upfront planning and requirements gathering, is not as well understood.

In the May 2011 R1 release, Telerik added bug, risk and issue tracking capabilities to TeamPulse, and integrated the product with its Test Studio Web and desktop UI suite. A third update, TeamPulse 2011 is planned for later this year.

Developers requested an API for TeamPulse in September 2010 but it is still not part of the 2011 R2 release. For TeamPulse integrations, the company suggests using its TeamPulse data service, which is based on Open Data Protocol (OData). The TeamPulse data service, however, is not officially supported by Telerik.

This fall, Telerik plans to introduce an HTML-based "Feedback Portal" System designed to enable internal and external Agile project stakeholders (customers, for example) to comment on feature requests, bugs and other issues. The Feedback Portal is expected to have a server-license with a one-time activation fee of $3,000, according to Semeniuk. Portal users won't need a license to submit feedback. Telerik is also planning to offer Applied Agile training services starting in the early fall.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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