A course attendee asked about Scrum Tools.
First, in the Agile Manifesto it says "Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools". Naturally, being geeks, the first the we want to talk about in or after the course is...[drumroll]...tools. We have to have a sense of humor about this.
First, I recommend that people learn Scrum (for the first 6 Sprints or so) using magnetic stick pins and cards on a magnetic whiteboard. Or similar. With maybe an Excel sheet to do some math. Very simple.
I have an Excel spreadsheet I give away. You can find a link to it at the bottom of this page. (BTW, there are MANY other resources on that page.) Pretty darn simple XLS. For example, it creates a graph for the burndown chart.
THEN...if you are distributed, then you likely need a tool.
The last thing to do is scale. And often one team is more productive than 100 people. But many of you will scale anyway. So you often need a tool if you scale (one meaning: multiple teams on the same effort).
Here are some tools:
The two best known are Rally and VersionOne.
Jeff Sutherland likes PivotalTracker for some applications.
I hear many good things about Jira with Greenhopper, an extension to Jira from the same source. (OK, a pun on 'open source', which this SW is.) Jira is a bug/issue tracker and Greenhopper is an Agile PM plug-in to Jira.
I know friends who use XPlanner. Even I have used it a bit.
Advice: All of these products (and many more) are changing all the time. NONE are perfect. Perfection to me would start to arrive if the tool could project "virtual" cards on a glass wall that one could touch and move on a visual scrum board just like 4x6 index cards.
Here is some more info from Boris Gloger...here. Boris is a great guy, a friend, and a very experienced agile coach.
Here is another "tools roundup" that Boris also links to. No doubt there are others.
Let me also suggest that tools are discussed frequently on the ScrumDev yahoo group. You might want to check there.
Last advice, usually worth twice the price: Don't get your knickers wrapped about the axle to find "the best" Scrum tool. The tool will not write code and will not make the team more creative. Spend more time doing Scrum (and your work) and less time "tooling up".
I seriously doubt if a Scrum Tool is your biggest impediment. In any case, don't let it be the impediment you work on for very long.