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In my research study, I need to identify the key features of user story management tools that can be used to support agile development. So far, I identified the following general groups of features: User role modeling and personas support, User stories and epics management, Acceptance testing support, High-level release planning, Low-level iteration planning, and Progress tracking. Each group contains some specific features, e.g., support for story points, writing of acceptance tests, etc.

Which features of user story management should an agile team look for especially when switching from tangible tools (index cards, pin boards and big visible charts) to a software tool? Are some features more important than the others? Many thanks in advance!

  • Welcome to PMSE. If you can edit this into a process or framework question, great! However, list-generating and opinion-polling questions will be closed as "too broad" or "opinion-based." See pm.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask for details. – Todd A. Jacobs Oct 6 '13 at 14:51
  • Hi Sonja, with @Mark's edits, we'll take this off hold and see what kind of value we can provide. Good luck, and welcome to PMSE! – jmort253 Oct 8 '13 at 1:57
  • What's your POV here? Are you doing market research, and trying to design a survey? Are you managing a team, and trying to automate your process? Perspective matters! – Todd A. Jacobs Oct 8 '13 at 4:17
  • @CodeGnome: I am a PhD student and I am conducting a comparative qualitative study of a selected set of agile software tools. The study targets software support for agile practices based on user stories. The initial features for tool comparison were primarily identified based on relevant literature and the tools themselves. However, I would like to hear other suggestions and also get some insight based on experience. – Sonja Dimitrijevic Oct 9 '13 at 17:45
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High-level features of a user story management tool

Broadly speaking a user story management tool needs to help an agile team in four areas:

  • Manage a backlog of epics, stories and bugs: Should be able to prioritize and size them. Stories at the bottom of the backlog would be epics, while stories at the top of the backlog would be broken up from epics into more granular stories.
  • Sprint or Iteration Planning: Should be able to create sprints and possibly releases. Should be able to move stories from the backlog into sprints and should be able to split stories into tasks.
  • Sprint Execution: Progress tracking showing To Do, In Progress, Sent for Review, Done and so on. Should be able to close a sprint.
  • Historical reporting: Burn-down chart, Burn-up chart, Team Velocity chart and so on.

On top of these, the type of product being developed and how a business is organized may warrant other features:

  • One product being developed by multiple agile teams.
  • One agile team working on multiple smaller products.

Some of these features are essential for a minimum viable product. Beyond these, which features are important would vary from team to team.

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