New Tools Integrate Agile Software Development with Traditional PPM

Given the widespread adoption of Agile software development practices, project management leaders are struggling to redefine their roles. Many are trying to focus less on planning and controlling, and more on creating an environment that allows Agile projects to succeed.

However, even with this willingness to adopt Agile, integrating Agile projects into a project portfolio management (PPM) framework is often fraught with difficulty. Typically, project management offices (PMOs) are faced with reconciling different (and often conflicting) methodologies, metrics and controls. Furthermore, the rise of “best-of-breed” Agile development tools has led to islands of information being created outside of PPM tools used for executive decision-making.

Seeing the need to provide tighter integration and greater visibility across project portfolios using traditional and Agile methods, some vendors have recently stepped up to the challenge. Those vendors include Daptiv, Planisware and Rally Software.

Daptiv and Planisware are leading PPM players. Daptiv claims its software is used by more than 80,000 people worldwide, while Planisware claims to have more than 250,000 users worldwide.

Rally is the recognized leader in Agile application lifecycle management (ALM) and currently supports more than 2,600 corporate customers, 94,000 projects and 170,000 users in 60 countries.

Both Daptiv and Planisware have integrated their packages with Rally’s ALM software.

The goal of the integrations is to enable customers using both traditional and Agile methodologies to create a “single source of truth” for executive reporting and decision-making, without disrupting the culture and work practices of an Agile team.

“We are committed to partnering with other leading independent software vendors to ensure our customers realize the maximum value from their investment in our award-winning Agile ALM platform,” said Todd Olson, vice president of products at Rally.

Sign of the Times: Agile Software Development

“Perhaps the clearest sign of the mainstreaming of Agile is the abandonment of orthodoxy: teams are puzzling out the mix of methodologies and combining them to fit within their organizational realities, blending Agile and non-Agile techniques and practices to create a hybrid methodology that fits larger organizations”, stated the January 2010 Forrester Research report titled “Agile Development: Mainstream Adoption Has Changed Agility.”

The report continued, “Other changes, such as new team dynamics and the redefinition of roles such as the business analyst, show the genuine force behind Agile adoption.”

Daptiv claims to solve the challenges posed by different methodologies as it enables PMOs to work with a mix of project types and development methodologies.

Using Daptiv, companies can build project portfolios that leverage traditional waterfall- and Agile-based methods based on the needs of a project. This flexibility delivers visibility into project health without disrupting the culture and work practices of an Agile team.

“This integration with Rally is a direct result of customer feedback for a flexible PPM solution that accommodates best-of-breed Agile development tools,” said Ian Knox, Daptiv’s vice president of marketing.

From project managers to the executive suite, this PPM solution empowers teams to manage their projects more effectively, he added.

“The integration of Planisware 5 PPM with Rally combines the best-of-breed solutions from both worlds,” said Pierre Demonsant, CEO and founder of Planisware. “The two-way Planisware-Rally integration combines the value and benefits of a structured approach to project and product portfolio management with the flexibility of Agile-oriented software development processes.”

Planisware 5.2 expands the scope of PPM functionality, providing the business intelligence and decision support needed to better manage the full product lifecycle within NPD and IT organizations.

Integrating Rally data with Planisware gives all stakeholders insight into when a particular feature or bug fix will be implemented, improving transparency and allowing for more accurate planning. When software project management leaders update project and release information within Planisware, the data is synchronized on-demand or in real-time within Rally.

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