Pivotal Tracker is a “lightweight” project management tool. Users can create a virtual room and invite everyone to participate in it to streamline and simplify collaboration. Pivotal Tracker also provides an automatic prediction system for milestone completion dates. The application uses project progress, team performance and work that still needs completed and uses the data to calculate estimated finish dates. Built in color charts and diagrams help users monitor each element of their project at a glance while a full text search feature lets the user seek out specific entries quickly. Labels can also be added and mockup files attached so developers can find them right away. The system can do a lot, but doesn’t overwhelm the user through a simple, clean interface.
Pivotal Tracker was created by Pivotal Labs. Much like many other applications, this one was born out of a personal need by its creators. The Pivotal Labs team found that there was no good way to manage projects and collaborate as much as they felt necessary. They constantly felt as though they were developing new tools, essentially working “for” the product rather than the project. In 2006, the team began working on Pivotal Tracker. Its original intent was to act as a backlog tracker that could be prioritized. It has since grown to include numerous features many users find extremely useful.
Pivotal Tracker combines all the features a project manager could need with an easy to use interface. The overall neat design goes far when learning the application. A number of innovative features have also been included, such as the completion date estimator that uses real data from the project and projects an estimate for milestone completion. Although this should still be monitored by the project manager, the projected dates can help reduce the amount of time needed to check progress and update schedules.
The look of Pivotal Tracker is another element in its favor. The application uses vibrant colors in a subtle way. The overall application is very professional and feels smooth. Organization is key, which is always important for this type of project management application. The best part is that almost anyone can learn to use Pivotal Tracker quickly because of the logical layout and user friendly design.
A new user can become a Pivotal Tracker member by clicking on the dark red “Sign Up for Free” button found along the left hand side of the dark header. The registration form asks for a name, email address and account name. Pivotal Tracker recommends that the user enter their company name as the account name, although this is not the required format. After clicking the blue “Get Started” button at the bottom of the short form, the user is advised that a confirmation email has been sent and must be accessed to complete registration.
Pivotal Tracker has another great benefit: free access. Anyone can become a member and begin using Pivotal Tracker without paying a dime. The FAQ states that while Pivotal Tracker is free now, this may change later on. The creators also state that they will keep Pivotal Tracker budget friendly and comparable to other similar applications. Pivotal Labs can do this because they are a development company, which means their income comes from elsewhere.
Pivotal Tracker is a great tool for anyone who has a project to manage. The price tag is great, although this could change at any time (so anyone falling in love with the application should keep this in mind if they intend to use it long term). The system is intuitive and very easy to understand.