Agile development methodologies get a lot of praise for accelerating the software development cycle, facilitating greater collaboration, and improving software quality.
But Agile methods alone don’t get the work done. For that, you need a collection of reliable tools.
Let’s take a look at the top software development tools used by Agile teams for project management, build management, coding, testing, version control, and deployment.
Agile Project Management Tools
Confluence is a document management solution that goes hand in glove with Jira—which makes sense because they’re both made by Atlassian. Using the two together allows for greater transparency.
Confluence allows you to create wiki-like collaboration spaces for your team. In other words, it acts as a central repository for all your project documents.
The editor feature allows your team to create meeting notes, product requirements, research reports, and other documentation that they can then pass along to their managers for review and feedback.
With Confluence’s knowledge management module, your team can access and search relevant content according to project requirements. In addition, you can control access to confidential data and create closed groups for secure collaboration.
There’s also a task management feature that allows you to delegate, monitor, and track changes to tasks per team member. This feature alerts you when tasks are completed, impending, or overdue.
Most Agile software development teams rely on Jira for project management. One of the first agile-friendly tools, Jira’s user interface provides a Kanban-style overview of tasks and gives users a choice of Scrum, Kanban, and hybrid agile models to use for project management.
Jira allows you to assign tasks to specific team members and track individual and team progress. You can also identify and solve issues and blockers. When it comes to reporting, Jira gives you the ability to easily generate sprint reports, burndown charts, release burndowns, and velocity charts. Real-time data fuels each report, allowing you to get an up-to-the-minute view of your overall progress and productivity.
Microsoft Teams has quickly risen to lead the pack of workplace communication tools, knocking down giants like Slack, Discord, and Zoom.
Teams launched in 2017 as a collaborative workspace within Office 365. It brings together text and video chats, conference calls and video, document sharing, and seamless integration with the entire Office 365 suite of tools—SharePoint, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.
The sudden necessity for remote work solutions proved to be a massive boost for Teams, and it has become central to Microsoft’s workplace productivity and collaboration strategy. The company recently revealed that Teams is the fastest growing business app in Microsoft’s history.
Agile Build Management Tools
Jenkins was first created as a build automation tool for Java applications but has grown to become the standard for continuous integration servers. The open-source platform offers more than 1,400 plugins for easy integration with other platforms. Jenkins is easy to use, a breeze to install and set up, and provides a web-based dashboard for project management.
TeamCity is a full-featured commercial continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) server. It connects Jira to integrated development environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio and Eclipse. TeamCity also has .NET framework support and a build artifact repository.
Agile Coding Tools
Android Studio is the official IDE for Google’s Android operating system. Built on JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA software, Android Studio was designed specifically for Android app development.
Most Android developers use Android Studio to complete code quickly and evaluate the workflow. It provides a built-in emulator, but it’s slow and makes debugging difficult. Debugging on the device is relatively easy, however.
JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA is an IDE for Java development that supports and enhances productivity for enterprise, mobile, and web development in Java, Groovy, Kotlin, and Scala. It supports all the latest technologies and frameworks.
IntelliJ’s UI is easy to use, even for new users. The flexibility of the environment allows you to create many different types of projects.
Another JetBrains product is PyCharm, the leading IDE for developing with the Python programming language. Developers like its powerful array of features that support the latest development practices, including various forms of Agile. PyCharm features include smart code completion, code inspections, automated code refactoring, an integrated debugger, and a test runner.
PyCharm Professional Edition adds support for web development and working with databases and data science tools. It supports the latest technologies.
SonarQube is the leading code review tool for continuously inspecting the code quality and security of your codebases. It covers 27 programming languages and provides guidance that helps developers fix issues.
Development teams large or small can use SonarQube to solve code quality and code security issues within their workflows.
Microsoft Visual Studio
Visual Studio is Microsoft’s venerable IDE. It’s been around for over 20 years and has the muscle of Microsoft behind it. Visual Studio has a complete set of features and tools to help developers write, edit, and debug code. This toolset includes a code editor, an integrated debugger, a code profiler, a designer for building GUI applications, a web designer, a class designer, and a database schema designer.
While Visual Studio has been criticized in the past for being painfully slow, the latest release—Visual Studio 2022—is now capable of scaling to make use of all the system resources. According to reviewers, it is faster and more reliable, with user interface enhancements and more personalized options.
Microsoft Visual Studio Code
Despite the similarity in name, Visual Studio Code is a separate product from Visual Studio. Visual Studio Code includes only the tools you need for a quick code-build-debug cycle, with support for debugging, task running, and version control. It’s intended to be a lightweight alternative for simple workflows.
XCode is Apple’s own IDE for macOS. It’s used to develop software for Apple’s entire product line. As such, XCode is the only officially supported way to develop Apple OS apps.
XCode includes a text editor, a compiler, and a build system, allowing you to write, compile, and debug your app. Its tools do a decent job of streamlining the software development process. Experienced XCode developers can create apps quickly, while beginners can build a great application without a steep learning curve.
Agile Testing Tools
JMeter is a performance testing tool from Apache. This open-source software is written in Java and used to test any web or FTP application that supports a Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
JMeter is used to conduct performance, load, and functional testing of simple web applications. It can also simulate a heavy server load by creating multiple simultaneous virtual users on a web server.
Qualys is the industry-leading cybersecurity testing platform. It acts as a commercial vulnerability and web application scanner that proactively locates, identifies, and assesses vulnerabilities in web applications.
Qualys finds vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), and URL redirection. You can then take preventative measures to secure your web app before these vulnerabilities get exploited.
Sauce Labs makes it easy to configure test suites, and the platform supports hundreds of browsers, devices, and operating systems. It enables you to automate the application under test on a virtual device, eliminating the need for the physical device.
Sofy is a no-code, AI-powered test automation platform for mobile apps. It allows you to create and run manual tests, automated UI testing, and exploratory tests without writing code. Sofy can be used to test consumer and business mobile apps but doesn’t support games, 3D apps, or VR apps.
TestCafe is a Node.js end-to-end automation tool for testing web applications. It can perform multiple tasks, such as starting browsers, running tests, collecting the test results, and generating test reports.
TestCafe is easy to install, configure, and get started creating tests. You can run tests on any browser without downloading separate drivers for each browser, nor do you need any external libraries or plugins. Tests can be run on remote computers or mobile devices.
WebdriverIO is a test automation framework that lets you run tests using the Webdriver protocol combined with Appium automation technology. WebdriverIO supports popular BDD/TDD test frameworks. You can run tests locally or in the cloud using Sauce Labs, BrowserStack, TestingBot, or LambdaTest.
Zephyr is Smartbear’s popular test case management solution. It integrates seamlessly with Jira or can be used as a standalone solution. Users have praised Zephyr for its ability to improve productivity, accelerate time to market, and reduce costs.
Zephyr connects and consolidates data from multiple Jira instances within your organization. It has strong privacy and security features, supports large-scale test planning, and aggregates test results from most popular automation tools and frameworks.
Agile Version Control Tools
Bitbucket is a code repository for Git. It’s a highly flexible, feature-rich solution available for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. Bitbucket comes with enterprise-grade security features that have made it compliant with cybersecurity standards such as SOC II, SOC III, PCI DSS, ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27018, and GDPR.
Bitbucket allows you to perform pull requests and code reviews, compare branches, view the commit history, and set up unlimited private repositories. It integrates with Bamboo, Crucible, Jenkins, and, of course, Jira. At the enterprise level, it provides smart mirrors for distributed teams, accelerated cloning and fetch times, and features to ensure your work is secure and synced.
Like Bitbucket, GitHub is a code repository for Git. GitHub makes it easier to use Git for version control and collaboration. GitHub’s user-friendly interface allows even new coders to take advantage of Git by reducing the technical knowledge needed and removing the dependence on the command line.
GitHub offers public code repositories for free, making it popular with open-source projects. You can also buy hosted private code repositories and other business-focused options that make it easier to manage your team and control security.
Agile Deployment Tools
Docker is a containerization platform that gives you tools to make it easier, safer, and faster to build, deploy, and manage containers. It is OS agnostic, so you can use Docker for Windows, Linux, or macOS.
Similarly, Docker containers can run on any desktop, data center, or cloud environment. Because each container can only run a single process, an application can run continuously while one part is being updated or repaired.
Docker handles smaller applications well, but larger enterprise applications can require hundreds or even thousands of containers. At that size, the IT teams who manage them can quickly become overwhelmed. Docker has a container orchestration tool called Docker Swarm to ease that burden, but many opt to use Kubernetes instead.
The Kubernetes open-source container orchestration platform delivers greater functionality than Docker Swarm. It is the more widely used solution for scheduling and automating the deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications, ensuring high availability during demand surges.
Designed for container orchestration in production environments, Kubernetes is popular thanks to its robust functionality, its thousands of active contributors, and its support and portability across IBM Cloud, Google, Azure, AWS, and other leading public cloud providers.
Docker and Kubernetes work exceptionally well together to manage large numbers of containers. In addition to running containers, Kubernetes provides load balancing, self-healing, and automated rollouts and rollbacks.
If you anticipate scaling your infrastructure at any point in the future, you might want to use Kubernetes from the outset. If you already use Docker, Kubernetes makes use of existing containers and workloads while taking on the complex issues involved in moving to scale.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what most of these tools can do, but this gives you a starting point to build out your collection of quality Agile development tools.
Every tool we’ve looked at may not be the best fit for you, but they are the top-rated tools on reliable review sites like Capterra, G2, TrustRadius, and SoftwareAdvice.com.