Can We Value Tools? Maybe..

We are in a transition here at the largest mortgage lender in the country, hereinafter CW – maybe you’ve heard about it 😉

That said, my boss is an avid supporter of agile techniques, as am I (ThoughtWorks to CW).  We are evaluating a couple of small, inexpensive options.  Those being (so far) ThoughtWorks’ Mingle (free 5 user license) and VersionOne (Community Edition). We currently have 3-4 interested parties in house so this level of license is okay for now.

If this catches on then we will need a significant number of licenses.

I am by nature and training leery of big management tools being called agile.  Remember the clause in the manifesto, “Individuals and Interaction over processes and tools“. 

I’m more comfortable with a story board, and an Excel spreadsheet for reports than a comprehensive software package.  That said, we are in a large mortgage company that’s been doing waterfall for years.  I have a feeling that seeing a tool such as VersionOne somehow legitimizes ‘Agile Development’ to those who aren’t ‘in the know’ already, so I’m willing to be flexible (or, as the title suggests, pragmatic).

Mingle has a cool feature that scans the comments in a Subversion repository and links Story Card references to the Revisions History. If you apply your comments properly, you can see which revisions affect the story cards. Nice.

Does VersionOne have an equivalent feature?

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2 thoughts on “Can We Value Tools? Maybe..

  1. Hi Jon, I develop a _lightweight tool_ for distributed agile development called Silver Catalyst – http://www.silverstripesoftware.com/

    I’d love your feedback on it. There is a three team member edition for download. Send me an email at siddharta [at] silverstripesoftware [dot] com if you want to try it out with a larger team. It’s also in very active development, with releases every 1-2 months, so if there is a specific feature that you would like, feel free to send me an email with a feature request.

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