Do not under any circumstances rush out and buy a tool without figuring out what your process is and doing extensive review with the team that are going to be using the tools. Tools support your process. After that disclaimer, here are is a list of planning/task management tools for the agile project manager.
The simplest tool commonly used by Agile teams is the White Board and Index Cards. The tools have a major advantage over all others tools is they are tangible. You can grab an Index Card and move it into another place. You can stick post-it note Tasks on the lanes drawn on the whiteboard. This give you a big visible chart of current status. Consider whiteboards, markers pens, post-it notes, index cards and magnets first. Once you have worked out your process and have a distributed team and want to record more historical data on team activity, then you are ready to consider the advantages of the tools below.
See article on the power of the whiteboard
Sliver Catalyst is an agile project management tool that helps lean, nimble teams plan and execute agile projects. Per Project Pricing and you can limit user WIP across projects. And limit WIP per process state as well.
Pivotal Tracker is a free, award winning, agile project management tool that enables real time collaboration around a shared, prioritized backlog. Velocity tracking and emergent iterations - Make planning decisions using accurate projections based on past performance. Story-based iterative planning - Base your software project management on proven agile methods. Real-time collaboration -See what your team is doing and react to change instantly.
Agilefant is a free, open source web based backlog management tool. It strives to be as simple as possible but still scale from single team iteration management to large-scale multi-team development complete with long-term product and portfolio management. Agilefant is an advanced tool with a rapidly growing user base and a dedicated community behind it. Agilefant's development is coordinated by Jarno Vähäniitty of the Software Process Research Group at SoberIT, Aalto University.
Redmine is a popular free and open source, web-based project management and bug-tracking tool. It includes a calendar and Gantt charts to aid visual representation of projects and their deadlines. It handles multiple projects. Redmine provides integrated project management features, issue tracking, and support for various version control systems.
There are a number of plug-ins that can be used to enhance the basic task management functionality in order to support the common needs of Agile development processes.
- eKanban- Implements Kanban board for Redmine issues.
- AgileDwarf- Match progress against estimates, create and assign tasks in one click, know instantly who’s working on what in a clear kanban-like environment.
- Backlogs- Backlogs is a Redmine plugin that’s d esigned to do just enough so your team can work in an agile way. It’s still a work in progress.
With LeanKit you map your organization’s processes onto virtual whiteboards. On each board the process steps are represented as vertical and horizontal lanes. Cards represent work items, which team members update and move from across the board as they complete their share of the work.
Rally are one to the top Agile organisations in the worldḋ They provide great tools, consultants and educational materials.
Greenhopper - GreenHopper leverages JIRA's customizable issues and flexible workflow to provide an Agile project management tool that adapts as a team evolves.
Targetprocess provide a powerful tool and should definitly be on your evaluation list.
Trello is a free task management system that can easly be configured to be shared by a group of users to manage tasks. Clearly it lacks some of the features you would like in a full tool but for small teams its seems to be a winner.
Yodis provides some visual, interactive and intuitive planning and task boards. Their system integrates to many other systems including UserVoice, Dropbox. It is designed to help manage multiple teams and projects.
Here is a partial list of reading resources for the interm project manager. Over time I will enhance this list.