As a big fan of ZenTao , I have understand in my practice that ZenTao is appropriate to manage Scrum development but not limited to it.
ZenTao is a complete professional Application Lifecycle Management tool.
Then I realize immediately that ZenTao is appropriate for webmasters, bloggers and publishers who maintain a website. ZenTao is not necessary only for development. In this case that the QA module is not used, neither are plan, builds, releases, etc... But stories, tasks, projects and products are quite usable. And the Doc module too.
ZenTao VS other management tools
In my work in mainframe industry, developing in COBOL, we are trying to do Scrum and we have worked with:
- Jira Software
- Confluence (Atlassians)
- Quality Center
Confluence is complex and the interface looks bad and not very intuitive. It is for IT developers who know a lot about html and wiki. Business Analysts prefer writing in Microsoft Word and use Excel, Powerpoint, etc...
ZenTao offer a DMS Tool (Documents Management System) similar to the Windows explorer of your hard disk., which is very intuitive. ZenTao is the best DMS Tool I have seen forever !!
Jira Software is expensive and very complex and the roles are not clearly identified. You can set parameters for everything and then it becomes very complex. Sometimes, people prefer Trello because it is simple and you don't have to set "a million" parameters. However, Trello has cons, because it is too simple and you can not use it for project management. ZenTao is quite right. It has just the right number of parameters necessary to do a specific work. So you understand it immediately if it's your work. If you know a little of AGILE method you understand product, project, sprint, story, task and you understand immediately the help ZenTao can bring to you.
If you work in the construction of houses, you have no need to use a hammer that can be transformed in multiple forms. You just need to use a hammer. Period.
Quality Center is complex and it takes a lot of time to use it properly. Teams have no time to use it properly so Quality Center is often used to transmit testing documents from one team to another and is not really used for test requests. It become a giant tool to do very simple things. Some company use it like a DMS Tool.
It seems that ZenTao is simple to be used for testing. It doesn't offer features you don't need because the roles are clearly defined in ZenTao, as well as what a tester have to test.
More than a tool just for development projects
And now I realize ZenTao can be adapted for every kind of projects with just minimum changes.
If you imagine a V-Model Project a Scrum Project with only 1 iteration and a sprint duration of 1 or 2 years, you can use ZenTao to manage it. There is just a lack in the analyze phase. But to be scrum, it must be simple and reactive, short and quick.
For all projects, you have requirements and constraints. But sometime you have new requirements and constraints that appear during the implementation of the project. Then, you have just to analyze and give new rules to integrate in new stories, link to a sprint, and made new single tasks to respect these new requirements and new constraints, which is not a problem, really.
For webmasters and publishers, there are not such need. You can use ZenTao without the QA module. But when you get a new customer to develop a new website, you have to take notes of what your customer tells you, his needs, his requirements, etc. After that you can analyze the data and comment them. You finally write a document with all the requirements and mock-up of the project (like screen shot, etc...). The document must be validated by the customer and you can put it in the ZenTao Doc module. You can start creating stories, tasks, sprints... The before-project stage is a part of the job.
Manage projects using ZenTao
With some simple changes, you can easily transform ZenTao.
- for V Cycle Project with hours->day, days ->weeks, etc
- to « Zentao for publishers » with hiding QA, Plan, Build, Release, on a simple parameter. Publishers don't need that. They just publish articles on a blog.
- to « Zentao for webmaster » with hiding QA, Plan, Build, Release, on a simple parameter, but choose a level of hiding, because a webmaster has development to do but it's not like developing a software. Some data is not useful for webmaster, so just hide them and ZenTao will be very adapted to this job. I am now working with the help of the ZenTao Dev Team to develop a ZenTao Extension to manage before-project stage (expression of needs to rules books supporting requirements and constraints). With my future extension, it will be a complete management tool for webmasters and for traditional methods (V-Model projects and others).
You have a parameter like this when choosing the concept:
- Product / Project
- Product / Sprint
- Project / Sprint
It can be a parameter like this for:
- V Cycle Projects and maintenance
- ZenTao for web publishing
- ZenTao for webmasters
Note: a V Cycle Project can be waterfall or not.
Maintain a project
Maintenance is a never-ended project. It affect software patrimony (fixing bugs and do evolution of what is exist). Maintenance is not really a project with a begin and an end. It's a product and you can create stories in it. Stories are integrate in 2 or 3 annual releases. So you have to link them to a Project. Maintenance become a project, but it's a special project. It's an evolution project and not a new project beginning from nothing. When you have an evolution in an application, it affects often the same components. You can start the project from an ancient project and clone an old story and its tasks.
With little adaptations, ZenTao can be used to manage all these kind of projects because I think ZenTao now is mature to do it. A few years ago I think it can't unless a lot of evolution. Now I think ZenTao is ready to be extended to all kind of projects.