Product Review: SonicAgile

September 26, 2012

If you are looking for an online tool to manage your Scrum projects, a new tool called SonicAgile may be of interest to you. And you can try it for free for 30 days before you buy.

SonicAgile allows you to create projects and invite collaborators to that project via email. SonicAgile is designed to leverage email by notifying collaborators when a new story is added as well as posting any replies by one of those collaborators to the discussion tab of that story – a nice touch. Since we are all busy professionals, replying directly to an email to add our two cents is less disruptive than linking to another site.

SonicAgile is configurable – you can use the default settings or create your own column names for your Scrumboard. There are also options to select your Units of Estimation (story points, shirt sizes, coffee cup sizes, or Fibonacci series):

Once you have configured your new project, you can immediately start adding items to your backlog by adding a new story. The supported story types are Feature, Bug, or Change. SonicAgile is a team-based tool, and you have to manually enter items into your backlog:

Someone has already made a request for the ability to import user stories from Excel, which would be a handy feature for product owners. The folks at SonicAgile appear to be very responsive, they tell me that they have scheduled the next release in early October and will have import/export capability from Excel in addition to making improvements to the Drag and Drop on the Product and Sprint Backlogs (allowing the user to drag and drop blocks of cards at once) and some improvements to the HTML editor.

I added my own suggestion to improve backlog management capabilities for product owners by adding Hierarchal stories and relationships:
The ability to group stories in hierarchal relationships (e.g., Epics – which would need to be added as a type – that can be broken out into Features, which in turn can be broken out into User Stories and then tasked-out in sprints) along with generating reports and/or tailoring views based on story types.
Somehow this got added as an Anonymous user and not me, but for those reading this post, you'll know where the thought came from!

SonicAgile does provide some nice touches in its current release, however, like the ability to relate stories and defining acceptance criteria using convenient check-boxes.

Relating Stories

Acceptance Criteria

Adding a new sprint is easy – click the New Sprint link and you will be prompted to provide Sprint Name along with your Start and End Dates:

You can then drag and drop items from your backlog:

Another nice feature that SonicAgile provides is that it automatically calculates your team’s velocity and displays a warning when you add too many stories to a sprint.

Once a story is added to the sprint, it can be tasked out, with each task showing up on the Scrumboard:

Tasks can easily be dragged from one column to another to change the task state.

SonicAgile also provides a few built-in reports to help your team understand its progress:
  • Release Burndown Chart
  • Sprint Burndown by Story Points
  • Sprint Burndown by Remaining Time
An additional report showing Acceptance Criteria by User Story is also available:

Finally, the folks at SonicAgile provide plenty of information to assist you with your use of SonicAgile, plus they want to hear from you on how they can improve their product. They provide an “I suggest you…” link to a community forum that provides voting capability (that I have already taken advantage of as I noted above):

If you want a brief tour of SonicAgile that covers many of the points I've made in this post, check out this short video:

For more information, visit