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Launched by Econsultancy co-founder Matthew O'Riordan, easyBacklog is a time saving backlog management tool for Agile practitioners working in or with agencies.
I've been asking Matthew about easyBacklog, the challenges involved in building the tool, and his target audience...
In one sentence, what is easyBacklog?
easyBacklog is an Agile backlog management tool designed for agencies and agile teams working with "fixed cost Agile".
What problems does easyBacklog solve?
Managing Agile projects with a fixed budget is hard, and many will go as far as saying it's impossible, but easyBacklog addresses this head on by providing a simple backlog management tool that can be used throughout the lifecycle of a project, from initial estimation all the way to delivery, with cost control in mind.
We have a feature called snapshots that allows you to compare your backlog at any point in time against a new version, turning the laborious task of change control into child's play.
Another common problem we found was that teams trying to implement agile using one of the many agile tools available, found that these tools actually took them away from their agile process, particularly the manifesto "people over process".
easyBacklog is not a replacement for Agile processes, it's a backlog management tool that streamlines agile methodology, and is primarily designed for scrum masters, project managers and product owners. As an example, we don't replace the physical task boards with digital versions, we augment the board with easily printable cards and tools to help save the project manager time.
When and why did you launch it?
We've been running a closed beta with a few clients since March, the feedback has been extremely positive and we can see our clients are literally using easyBacklog daily.
Now that we've reached a milestone in terms of functionality, we decided to launch into public beta last week. We're now looking to attract Agile agencies and agile teams who work with fixed budgets to start using easyBacklog, and providing us with feedback.
Who is your target audience?
- Agencies working with Agile, specifically trying to address the problems of "fixed cost agile".
- In-house teams implementing agile yet expected to deliver on budget or with fixed resources.
- Anyone working with agile looking for a backlog management tool to help them with estimation, planning and delivery.
What are your immediate goals?
We need more users signed up to easyBacklog. The feedback and usage of easyBacklog so far has been incredibly encouraging, however we recognise that we need a wider audience to tell us what they need from the product, and how well it works with their current processes and systems. So more users and more feedback is what we're after.
What were the biggest challenges involved in building easyBacklog?
Simplicity and agility in the interface. If you look at the other Agile products out there, they're overwhelming in terms of features, the interface, and general usability.
Our primary goal from a development perspective when building easyBacklog was to create a tool with a clean interface, and a user experience that was as fast as using Excel or Google Spreadsheets.
Fortunately, based on feedback from our current users, I believe we have achieved this.
How will the company make money?
We will be introducing a subscription model early next year. We have not decided on pricing as yet, but we'll definitely be competitive in the market.
Who is in the team and what does it look like?
I'm the founder of easyBacklog, as well as being co-founder of Econsultancy, a partner in Aqueduct (an agency that implements agile development effectively), and a partner in United Studios (a digital product agency).
There are currently two other members in the team who are involved in product development and marketing.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s time?
In one year's time we'd like to have made an impact in the agency market globally.
In three year's time, we'd like to have a solid revenue model with a good combination of direct clients and agencies using what I am sure will be a considerably evolved version of easyBacklog.
While we recognise that the product will need to grow to meet the requirements of our clients, we want to ensure we don't move too far away from what we set out to achieve and end up with bloat-ware. Simplicity and clear purpose will win in the end as we've seen with the many great online services such as Basecamp and Wufoo.
In five year's time we'd all like to be in the Bahamas checking in to our servers occasionally to make sure the ubiquitous easyBacklog is still running smoothly ;)
No seriously, it's early days for us and we're not planning that far ahead. We're serious about building a great tool, and we'll be around in five years' time, but what exactly we'll be doing and how the product will look in five years is impossible to predict.