Tools vs Culture
One good news for agile tools community is that the long debate of "Tools vs Culture" will not be a one sided debate. Agile Manifesto certainly defines Individuals over Processes and Tools, however with organizations increasing focus on working with distributed teams, distributed platforms, SaaS/Cloud implementation, tools have gained equal importance to culture and will continue to do so.
ALM & Tool Innovation
Agile tools over time have gained prominence and are absolute must to manage agile implementation, specifically if its distributed teams and organizations are serious to define a sensible approach to manage agile artifacts and management. Orgnaizations will either focus to have one product to manage all activities in the development cycle, forcing to choose a tool providing either application lifecycle management (ALM) or atleast one that gives good integrations support.
Innovation will definitely give an edge to agile tools on how best and simple can the product be designed. One of my recent article for example lists a simple "Index Card" in ScrumDesk and how wonderfully its been designed so user can perform almost any operation on a backlog item from an index card itself. "OnTime" has almost redesigned the interface to make it more sleek and web centric. The trend of innovation for better UI/Navigation, Simplicity, Adaption, Customization etc will continue heavily.
Hybrid Trend (Scrumban? Scrum vs Kanban)
"Agile is built on the presumption that individual teams will figure out for themselves the many details of how to plan, build, and deliver technology," said Forrester Research, Inc
Until back end of 2009 there was a trend that we have seen where XP and Scrum were in contention of which was best suitable in most cases and to me Scrum has won the battle. This year i see Kanban is growing in prominence and hopefully will scale upto enterprise level. This will not be an easy ride and practically will leave teams to alter either the Scrum or Kanban process to fit thier purpose and some have actually started terming this hybrid as "Scrumban" as i hear. A few surveys also reveal that companies are following a mix of Agile and more traditional development methods.
Needless to say the Agile Tool vendors will be concentrating on being more adaptive and support Scrumban. RallyDev has recently updated its Kanban Board, TinyPM is about to launch its Kanban board shortly in coming months as per our chat with Marcin Neibudek, founder of TinyPM. Mingle and VersionOne have already put in enough research and efforts into thier Kanban Boards within their products. A good set of new tools like Swift-Kanban are gaining prominence. There is always "TargetProcess" putting continuous efforts into research and product development.
Mobile and Tablet Interfaces
With diverse platforms coming into play in form of Mobile and Tablets, all tool suppliers will concentrate on providing mobile/tablet version of products or apps for easy access and management.
Distributed Development Support
With the advent of Cloud and SaaS based implementation off late, there will be more foucs from organizations on which tool will be best suitable for distributed development. This had been a requirement from long time, however i believe is picking up pace rapidly and can see is becoming mandatory in an agile tool selection these days.
Agile tools so far have provided basic reports and metrics in terms of burndown, velocity and others. However organizations would want tools to produce further analytics and trends with their agile process and dare i term "Agile Intelligence". Pivotal Tracker has taken first steps to integrate the tool with "GoodData", a cloud based business intelligence platform to achieve this.