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Tools: Mingle – the new kid on the block


 

Mingle has received a fair bit of attention lately and the latest version, 2.1, has just been released.
 
I’m quite happy with Rallydev but as Mingle is made by Thoughtworks themselves and the guys at Silverstripe keep raving about it I thought I’d better check it out. Also, as much as I like Rallydev and VersionOne – they’re both a bit weak on the usability side. 
 
Below a list of what I like and dislike about Mingle:
 
Things I like:
 
1. Installation & Support

  • Free web/phone conference with a Mingle representative to guide you through configuring the system after you have received a free hosted trial. Very helpful!
  • A breeze to install the downloadable version
  • Runs on all operating systems (incl. Max OSX, Linux and Open Solaris) and most database systems incl. Postgres

When not to run Agile

People keep asking me whether I’d run all projects using an agile framework such as Scrum. 
 
When I answer “of course not” they often not only expect but gently try to steer me towards an answer that excludes certain type of projects: “You certainly wouldn’t use it for a mission critical system, would you? Or a compliance project? Or an infrastructure project? “
 
Actually, yes! I have used Scrum for business critical systems at a major mobile phone manufacturer, have implemented mission critical systems for a publicly owned European Rail Cargo company, a friend of mine has successfully delivered a compliance project and another one has even developed fighter jet control systems for a European Air Force using scrum. 
 
It’s not about the type of project. It’s not even about the size of your project. It’s about whether you’re willing and able to create a setup that allows agile projects to succeed. To me the rather vague terms of organisational and cultural readiness can be narrowed down to a list of primary show stoppers: 
 
I’d NOT run agile if …