Agile project management methods like the Scrum framework are getting more and more popular especially in software development. Usually pen, paper and a big Scrum board on the wall are the first choice to handle these projects. Using software is discussed controversially and some developers even consider it contrary to the Agile Manifest.
Especially when working on projects for a client it is necessary to document the whole development process comprehensively. From our own experience we have learned that this often leads to combinations of planning with pen and paper and software, which is adjusted badly or even not at all to the Scrum process. Redundant or inconsistent data is a common result. Additionally the team can be slowed down by the software and does not have any benefit of using it. This is getting even more serious when using several applications for planning, time tracking, ticketing and document management.
We took our experiences in past projects as reason to create a portlet for the Liferay portal, that is able to fulfill our own requirements for Scrum project management and also serve us as a replacement of the real Scrum board on the office wall. From a technological point of view, the integration of JavaServer Faces into the portlet standard was evaluated and several Liferay components have been included.
Our portlet gives Scrum teams a drag & drop enabled Scrum board. The columns of the board and colors for the task are fully customizable. Thanks to push functionality the board always shows the current status and has been developed to be displayed on a big monitor to replace a common board. Time tracking and commenting for tasks is included as well as uploading corresponding documents with preview and versioning abilities. From the project management perspective there are some reports of the sprint progress and the accuracy of task evaluations.
The portlet is available as free and paid plus version in Liferay Marketplace. Scrum Portlet Plus is the enhanced version of our original free portlet, offers several new features and will be developed further based on customer feedback and our own experiences with it. Feel free to test our Scrum portlet in your project. We are looking forward to hear about your experiences and suggestions via mail to ed.elatrop-gtr@murcs.