Rally Software Acquires Makers of Leading Kanban-based Project Collaboration Tool
BOULDER, Colo., April 14, 2010 - Rally®, the leader in Agile application lifecycle management (ALM), has acquired AgileZenTM, creators of a visual project collaboration tool that manages work using the Lean concept of Kanban. The acquisition strengthens Rally's position in the emerging Kanban market, and extends Rally's project collaboration and process improvement offerings used throughout the Agile business. The Rally and AgileZen teams will present their products and coaching services at the Lean Software & Systems Conference 2010 in Atlanta April 21-23.
AgileZen is a simple, elegant project collaboration tool that supports software development by providing a Web-based Kanban board. Kanban literally means "sign board," and in Lean it is the signaling tool for visualizing and tracking work as it flows through various stages of a process. A Kanban board does this by exposing bottlenecks, queues and waste in a process so that teams can deliver high quality, high value work.
"Since 2004, Rally has helped organizations adopt Agile development practices that bring innovations to market faster," said Ryan Martens, Rally's founder and CTO. "Last year, we supported Kanban and Scrum projects working side-by-side with the launch of our Kanban board mashup. Over the same period, AgileZen has fast become a favorite tool for managing Kanban projects. Acquiring AgileZen helps Rally meet the emerging need for Kanban in our core ALM market, plus brings the project collaboration advantages of Agile and Lean practices into all departments of the Agile business."
The Emergence of Kanban
In a recent independent report "Agile Development: Mainstream Adoption Has Changed Agility," Forrester Research Inc., January, 2010, Forrester noted that, "When it comes to selecting an Agile methodology, Scrum is the overwhelming favorite."
Scrum and Kanban support project collaboration and continuous improvement. Both methods focus on early value delivery, and both provide transparency into the work in progress. But Kanban can operate with a different planning and delivery cadence than Scrum and also emphasizes different metrics.
Kanban supports the simple Lean concept that Work In Progress (WIP) should be limited in each stage of the value stream. These limits establish a "pull" workflow system that promotes a continuous and predictable flow of value delivery. For example, a value stream for a software development team might have the workflow states of Backlog-> Ready-> Working-> Done-> Production. Kanban can be used in a wide variety of business processes, for example:
- An IT operations team that works on the most pressing issues each day
- An Agile development team that delivers individual features directly into production
- Marketing and legal teams that must mix work on longer campaigns with daily fire fighting
"Lean thinking originated with Taiichi Ohno, known as the father of the Toyota Production System, who believed that anything that consumed resources, but didn't create value for the customer, was waste," said Niki Kohari, co-creator of AgileZen. "AgileZen enables teams to create a pull system that matches their unique workflow, provides an easy way to see the status of a project at a glance, and helps organizations understand how their process can be improved to eliminate waste and create value."
Though Kanban use by software teams is an early market, AgileZen is growing rapidly with over 9,000 users and double-digit growth month over month since its launch in July 2009. Kanban's simplicity also appeals to teams outside of development - AgileZen has marketing agencies and law firms as customers - and so aligns well with Rally's mission of helping companies create an Agile business.
Rally will continue to promote the AgileZen product as a low-cost, Kanban-focused project collaboration tool through www.agilezen.com. Following the acquisition, Rally will begin migrating AgileZen's Kanban functionality to a platform more architecturally-aligned with Rally's high performance infrastructure. Rally customers can contribute to Kanban discussions and track the company's release commitments in its customer community at www.agilecommons.org.
"I've used Rally and AgileZen tools successfully in a variety of setups ranging from complex multi-team products to single operational non-technical teams such as legal or HR," said Christophe Louvion, CTO of CitySearch. "Rally's acquisition of AgileZen is incredibly exciting because it brings together two best-in-class solutions to help expand Lean and Agile practices from the team level to the entire business."
As part of its launch of AgileZen within the Rally product family, Rally will be sponsoring and exhibiting at the Lean SSC conference April 21-23 in Atlanta. Lean SSC is a global, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote professionalism and create awareness of lean science and associated competencies. Rally is a founding member of the Lean SSC.
Rally is the leader in Agile application lifecycle management (ALM) dedicated to making distributed development organizations faster and leaner by dramatically cutting the time, cost and effort needed to deliver high quality applications. According to a study by QSM Associates, software-driven companies that rely on Rally's Agile ALM products and services are 50% faster to market and 25% more productive than industry averages. Rally's products were honored with four consecutive Jolt awards (the software industry's equivalent of the Oscar® award) in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The company's end-to-end solutions for Agile development also include Agile University, the leading source for Agile training, and Agile Commons, the largest collaborative Web 2.0 community dedicated to advancing software agility. Rally currently supports more than 2,100 corporate customers, 58,000 projects and 96,000 users in 60 countries. For more information, visit www.rallydev.com.
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Press Contact: Lara Vacante