to be integrated with "go faster" tools, but primarily they help growing teams expand and help larger incumbent teams manage synchronization. To enable this coordination, the iteration teams use these tools to reflect status and enable roll-up of task, story, test, and defect status. To reduce the collaboration burden on iteration teams, AALM tools work to make it easy to round trip from white boards and cards to tool and back again. These products serve a critical visibility role that is almost impossible to achieve when you try to roll-up white boards.
I do agree that larger teams need the kind of tools you describe. In addition, there is always a need to communicate upward and outward, and those external communications often need to be more fancy, better formatted, more "corporate."; However, even though in a sufficiently large situation I might well use such a tool myself, I still don't feel comfortable recommending that an organization start out by using such a tool. The reason is that I fear that they will never get back down to putting their hands in the soil and working the garden. They won't have the opportunity to develop the kind of intimate teamwork that is possible, and as such they'll never really get the benefits that we spoke of when we wrote about "individuals and interactions."
You begin to see the pattern, I hope. I think that people and how they interact on a project are the most important thing, and I think that they need to create a way of working--a process--that works best for them. Because their interactions are critical to project success, I suggest that teams begin the work with an approach that will bring them together as people, not one that will let them remain apart, communicating electronically.
I live by and teach your perspective. I know it to be the best way to adopt agile and run iteration teams. For me, the debate is around the value and alignment of AALM tools for bringing the benefits of agile to medium and large teams.
I'm with you on that. agile-focused tools are far more appropriate than the previous generation of tools. They understand the agile cycle and support the agile ideas. While I would like everyone to start with cards, pens, and white boards, many teams are going to wind up using tools. When they do that, they should use the best tools out there, and today, those are the ones that are focused on agile.
[i] Agile Project Management Tooling Survey, Pete Behrens, Trail Ridge Consulting, December 2006.