As the work platform of choice for developers all around the world, GitHub inevitably gets associated with endless lines of code and, let’s be honest, geekiness. The tool empowers companies of all sizes to create great products by hosting their code and enabling teammates to review and collaborate on it.
In September 2016, GitHub announced it has added Kanban-style project management functionalities. The platform is making a bold step toward solidifying its position as the central place of work for tens of thousands of software teams – and improving its interface and features.In September 2016, GitHub announced that it has added Kanban-style project management functionalities. Click To Tweet
The new capabilities enhance project management options for GitHub users, building on the code repository hosting with task organization similar to Trello. Outside of GitHub’s own project management additions, a number of apps that integrate with it also enable task organization within the platform.
Whether you opt in for its embedded features or you choose to use an integration, you can use GitHub to keep track of your development projects and take them from zero to done.
Why manage your development projects with GitHub?
There’s barely any need to praise GitHub as a repository of code where developers can easily go over and collaborate on code. But what makes the platform so suitable for managing your software development projects?Learn why GitHub is the best way to manage your development projects. Click To Tweet
Team members can review code together straight in GitHub. Within comments, you can lead conversations around lines of code to clarify issues and move your common work forward. In these exchanges, you can directly discuss features and implementation details before altering the source code. You can also propose changes by initiating a Pull Request or ask for peer reviews.
Diffs allow you to see new versions right next to the original code, so you can easily compare them. GitHub provides you with a detailed timeline where you can follow consecutive comments, references, and commits. It also provides you with a ‘blame view’ where you can trace the changes to a part of a file instead of checking its whole history.
Besides code review and collaboration capabilities, GitHub now also offers project management options embedded right in its structure. In this way, the platform enables better coordination between developers and project managers, as well as any other team members. This ensures transparency and boosts teams’ productivity. Let’s see how.
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Best practices for GitHub project management
With the newly added features, GitHub might well turn into your one-stop shop for managing your software development processes. Here are the top tips for organizing your team’s work alongside your code reviews in the platform.
#1. Use the advance search for browsing your commit history
GitHub offers a number of possibilities for searching your commit history. You can filter the query by
- Author or committer
- Repository of a user or an organization
- Date of authoring or commitment
- Merge commits
- Hash, parent, or tree
The extensive search capabilities allow you to keep track of your common work and access information seamlessly.
#2. Trace changes in files with ease
If you want to follow up on changes in a file, you can use the blame view. It allows you to check the history of how lines of code evolved over different revisions. You can also see who made the change and when they did it.
#3. Start an issue dedicated to a bug or a new idea
An issue is a unit of work within GitHub. It can contain a new idea, a bug that needs to be fixed, or any other task your team has to handle. The list of issues appears next to the pull requests in your dashboard. If you have recurring issues, you can create an issue template. This will save you time the next time you have to set one.
#4. Create tasks within issues, comments, and pull requests
You can create lists of markdown tasks in pull requests, comments and issues. This allows you to break large chunks of work into smaller bits. Then you can easily keep track of the progress on each task.
#5. Assign and mention team members
The new GitHub features include assigning tasks to team members, as well as mentions. Each person can see the tasks they have to handle, while others can be kept up to date with conversations around tasks by being mentioned. You can also choose to get notifications when a colleague posts a comment.
P.S. One of the new features allows team members to reply to inline comments on the go. They can also react with likes and other emoticons to your comments, which makes GitHub FUN to use on top of being quite practical.
#6. Label issues and pull requests
To help you organize long lists of issues and pull requests, GitHub allows you to create color-coded labels. You can assign labels and then search through your work by label name.
#7. Track progress with project milestones
If you have to keep an overview of your project, it’s a good idea to set milestones against a quarterly or yearly goal or the completion of a certain feature. When you switch to milestones view, you’ll see how many pending issues and pull requests there are before you achieve each milestone.
#8. Set relationships between issues and pull requests
Tasks your team has to execute are often closely interconnected. In GitHub, you can associate issues with pull requests and commits to reflect their dependencies. When, say, a pull request is merged, the linked issue will be automatically completed. To achieve that, reference keywords and issue numbers.
#9. Use project boards for full visibility
Creating boards is one of the most important new features that GitHub offers. The Kanban-style board functionality enables you to move pull requests, notes, and issues between columns of lists. You can name the lists as your project requires, but typically they include columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Done.
In each of your code repositories, you can set as many boards as you need. Each board is associated with a project, so you can easily identify where it belongs. GitHub allows you to organize your projects according to their current status, share task card via their unique URLs, and add task cards from already existing pull requests and issues. You can switch to activity view to review the progress you and your team have made on the project.
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Top apps that make GitHub project management easier
Project management with GitHub has never been smoother thanks to its new features. Several project management tools integrate with the platform for those of you who need more advanced capabilities. Here’s a list of the top integrations.
ZenHub is a top choice for a project management integration that you can use together with GitHub. It is based on the Kanban and Scrum methodologies. ZenHub allows you to visualize your common work in boards, from which you can conduct agile planning and run sprints. The tool also provides you with reports where you can predict delivery dates and track your production velocity.
Pricing: ZenHub is free for teams of up to five people. For larger teams, the monthly fee starts at $5 per user.
Codetree is a lightweight project management tool you can add to your GitHub. You can create projects that pull issues from multiple repositories, track dependencies between tasks, and prioritize issues with drag-and-drop. Codetree allows you to create Kanban-style boards and review work via quick inline updates.
Pricing: Starts at $24/month for up to three users and 15 projects.
Zube is another preferred tool for project management with GitHub. It provides you with agile epics and allows you to run sprints. You also get functionality to manage customer support tickets. You can link multiple repositories to one Zube project, and they’ll always be in sync. The tool also gives you detailed reports, so you can track your burndown, burnup and velocity charts.
Pricing: Free for teams of up to four people working on up to four projects. The business plan for 5+ team members starts at $10 per user per month.
Waffle offers automated project management for teams using GitHub. It allows you to connect issues with pull requests to minimize your effort organizing work. The tool provides you with burndown and throughput graphics, so you can keep track of your progress. Waffle offers a highly customizable workflow, so you can set it the way it best fits your team.
Pricing: Free for open source. The personal plan is $5/month. Business plans start at $49/month with unlimited users and projects.
If you’re used to managing your work in the popular tool Asana, you’ll be happy to know that it integrates with GitHub. You can get the best of two worlds in one – and you can work directly from either of the platforms. Asana tasks synchronize with issues in GitHub, so you’ll never miss any step in your team’s progress.
Pricing: Asana is free for up to 15 team members. Premium plans start at $9.99/user per month.
Shipping code is easier with GitHub project management. Whether you use the new built-in features or you opt for a handy integration, you can handle your development team’s task organization on the platform seamlessly.
What’s your favorite project management hack on GitHub? We’d love to know your insights! Please share them in the comments below.