Make it easier to work together
Sometimes it's not your job to move a card on the board. For example, maybe you're a graphic designer, working with a team of software developers on a website. You've finished the design work necessary for a story, but it's not your job to tell the developers what to work on next, or who out of the team of developers should take the story.
Instead, you can mark the story ready, indicating that it can be moved to the next phase. By doing this, you're saying that your work is done on the story (at least for now), and you let the development team decide the next step for themselves.
Call attention to problems
Even in the most efficient teams, problems happen. When trouble brews, it's important that everyone is made aware of the problem as soon as possible, so everyone can chip in to help fix the problem if necessary.
In AgileZen, when you encounter a problem with a story, you can mark it blocked, which draws attention to the story to make sure everyone is aware that something is wrong. This is our take on the lean manufacturing concept of andon.
Stay informed when things happen
Staying in constant communication with your team is important to getting the job done, but lots of conversations that happen between team members are unnecessary — things like "what's the status of feature X" or "I've finished working on task Y."
Zen aims to replace these status-oriented conversations with automated messaging. Every time something happens in your projects, team members are notified via an email or instant message, so everyone stays on the same page.
Since no one likes to be drowned in a deluge of automated notifications, each team member can configure how they prefer to be notified. AgileZen supports many popular IM networks, including Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, and ICQ.