Wednesday, February 04, 2009


So I've been playing around with Scrumy lately. From the name I'm sure you've figured out that it's some sort of tool that helps you manage Scrum-based projects. It actually works for any sort of agile-ish project, so you don't have to give up whichever agile cult with which you may already be affiliated.

Scrumy lets you play around for free, although with the free version you'll be in one endless sprint until the end of time. That gets tiresome after a while, so I finally opened up my wallet, blew the dust off my credit card, and parted with a whole $7 (USD) for the privilege of using Scrumy Pro for a whole month. By the way, I'm positive that contrary to what the developers say about the name in their slick intro video, they affectionately refer to their product as "screw me" when we're not listening. But I digress.

My $7 obviously entitles me to deliver my demands to the developers and readily expect to have them fulfilled within two weeks. Anything can be done in two weeks, right? So obviously this budget tool has a few shortcomings, and who better than me to point them out? Ready? Here we go...

Can't see "to do" items in the backlog. There's a backlog (great). You can add stories to it (great). If your story has to do items that greatly enrich your understanding of the story, you're unable to see them when it comes time to assign the story to a particular sprint (utterly maddening).

There's no search. I can't possibly be expected to remember where I put things, that's why I'm spending all this time painstakingly typing stuff into someone else's web app. If there's no search, I can't find stuff without digging through everything and clicking around like mad.

Would be great if edits were pushed out. I'm working on a project with a buddy in Toronto. We often chat about how things are going, and play with the stories and tasks until we agree on the next sprint. It would be fantastically, over-the-top-mega-cool if he could see changes as I was making them. And vice-versa of course, sometimes he has good ideas too.

No obvious way to promote a "to do" to a story. Drag "to do" to story column (nope). Drag "to do" to backlog (nope). Open up "to do" and search for "make story" button (nope). Bang head against screen, open "to do", copy text, select "new story", paste, bang head again.

The Scrumy Scrumy board isn't public. I mean really, how cool would it be to be able to see how the Scrumy guys setup their own project, and what they have coming down the pipe. Read only, of course, except for respected, rational individuals such as myself who should be given full access.

Now don't get me wrong, Scrumy is refreshingly simple and I'm really enjoying working with it. It does just what it sets out to do (replacing sticky notes) admirably well. It doesn't lock you down to particular iteration lengths. It doesn't make you do a bunch of complicated category, project, user setup crap. It embraces the simplicity and flexibility of paper (mostly), while providing the many benefits of taking it online (oh crap, the cat destroyed our project tracking system AGAIN). I wish more products were this fun to use and had such wonderfully ambiguous names.

1 comment:

Jacob Rothstein said...

Hi Carl,
I found your blog via a twitter link to your CTO post. I liked what I read, so I poked around to see what else you had written. I'm impressed with your opinionated and honest review of Scrumy and would be honored if you would do the same for my product, We're focused on the brainstorming/planning part of product development, but the workflow takes patterns from agile tools. Please email me at if this sounds interesting.

Jacob Rothstein
Technical Co-Founder