As I work to support teams evaluating TargetProcess I've noted there are several typical flows people take to make their selection of an agile project management tool. There they are:
1. 5-users community free pack. As we issued this edition a year ago, our primary goal was to contribute to the growing agile community and give our share of input to the spread of agile methodologies. We thought the free 5-users pack will be used only by small agile teams. As it turned out, this is not the case. Quite often some eminent companies start their evaluation of TargetProcess with 5-users free pack (maybe they want to hide their identity and avoid being chased for the purchase decision 🙂 The free edition is great, it comes with all the upgrades and updates - but it's only for 5 users! If your team is a lot larger, then it might make sense to get right on to the ...
2. 30-days on-site trial. With 30-days trials you can have as large an evaluation team as you want. By default it's 10 users, but the trial can be updated to accommodate unlimited users (let me know if you want the update).
3. 30-days on-demand trial. The easiest way to get down to TargetProcess evaluation real fast. No set up, no installation. The trial starts same instant as your sign-up request is accepted. The flexibility to allow as many users as needed for the trial is there as well.
4. Personal online demo. Perhaps we haven't announced that loud enough previously, but what we do - we provide personal 1- hour online demos of TargetProcess FOR FREE. Personal online demo does not mean that you will sit and watch TargetProcess webcast by yourself - this is a scheduled personal meeting with a TargetProcess product specialist, usually done in GoTo meeting or WebEx. You look at TargetProcess real time on a shared web screen and the product specialist gives you a guided tour answering your questions.
There's one more way of evaluation. Most hated by me. It's when people pick up several agile project management tools and send their Excel questionnaires to fill in. Grrr. I must admit that from the first sight this option looks like the most focused and fast for making a quick selection. And it really might be so BUT ... for the very first round of selection. You can't really rely on Excel sheets as an ultimate decision-making aide, and here's why: you have your own development process and names for the features you need, and in TargetProcess there're some other names and features to do the same. So once a questionnaire comes in, sometimes it'd take more time to exchange questions and answers to understand the essence of what actually people want to get from the tool. It's basically about giving different names to one and the same thing, as in languages - different words are used in different languages to designate one and the same notion/concept.
That's why, as in real life, we recommend to "touch and feel" the tool, to play with it and see how it works before taking any final decision. This stands true not only for TargetProcess, but for any agile project management (or any other) software tools.
What's your experience of evaluating agile project management tools? What are your best practices?