Friday, 12 October 2007

Tools for the Development Team

We placed Jira onto our live server and began using it for real about 2 weeks ago now. So how's it going? Rather well as it turns out.

(Jira is from Atlassian ( and is an issue tracker tool, see earlier posts for discussions.)

I did a demo for the Development Team and they took to it like a duck to water, now that they understood what it's used for and how. I did the same for the rest of the Management Team and they took to it as well, but in a different way.

Initially it was not used as well as I'd have liked so I put a little pressure on the team by being a bit of a pain in the neck for a couple of days..

Me: "What are you working on?"

Developer: "I'm updating xyz here that needs a new abc because Freda from WxyCorp has found a glitch with it"

Me: "I don't see this in Jira, have you added it?"

Developer: "Um... (ticidatacida) .. I have now (grin)"

Me: "Oh, OK then. You know that if you are working on anything, no matter what it is, it .."

Developer: ".. yea yea, I know, - ..'it needs to be in Jira' (sigh)"

The developers are good guys and they really understood the reasons for putting everything in Jira but being developers, they wanted to just develop. Now I note that no-one is working on anything without a Jira issue and they themselves police that nicely by suggesting that others create a Jira issue before they can start on any work. Nice.

This means of course, that all work is logged and reporting and reviewing can be carried out. Issues are assigned to others with questions when more information is needed, and they get an email to tell them when the issue is reassigned back to them with the answer. Once the have completed the work, they "Resolve" the issue and assign it to the QA Manager. Only the QA Manager and myself as Administrator, can "Close" an issue.

The Management Team has been impressed with Jira but they all have their own ideas of other tools that would work better for what they want to do. Some other tools that I have looked at are...

Other areas I have also look at with a mind to solving some other issues here, they include...

and I'll hope to have others added to that list soon.

I'll talk on each of those and our eventual decisions as I go along in other posts. In the meantime, I'd like to hear what tools you are using with your team or even on your own to help with development and running a software team.


  1. Please excuse as this post was a lot smaller than it was supposed to be. Cut short by the need to begin work. rest assured, I'll add more in the following week.


  2. Here using Mantis , an open source issues tracker made in PHP that use a MySQL db. Pretty good and works like a charm.

  3. Our team did a market review 3 years ago and settled on mantis as well. Its a great fit for our team of 6 devs.
    We did change some of our processes to fit the tool, but they were NEEDED changes anyway.
    I also like how straightforward it was to get under the hood and customize a few things. None of us had PHP experience before that and tweaking mantis has actually been a good intro to PHP for me and two others on the team.

  4. Our team uses Subversion and Trac. The post-commit hook is great -- all we need to do is commit our code to Subversion with "re#12345" in the text, and our comments are automatically added to the Trac ticket. We also customized the hook so that "fixes#12345" will set several custom fields in the ticket, like "ready for testing" (so that QA knows to review the ticket), "fixed in version", etc.

  5. Thanks for the comment. Mantis looks interesting, but the decision has finally been made. I think I could end up evaluating every system under the sun for the next 12 months.

    Jira just does what we want. I know my way around it. It works. I'll explain more as we go along, but I have most definitely seen some really good systems in the trials.

  6. I've created a page of links to pages like yours - first-person accounts of issue tracking systems comparisons.

    It seems a lot of folks like Jira because it is very comfigurable. Others are frightened off by the complexity that goes along with configurablity.

    (I'm the author of a free, open source issue tracker BugTracker.NET, which is also worth a try. It has Subversion integration much like Trac).

  7. We're using SharpForge for our team of 4 developers. It's got some nice features like the wiki is html and is stored in the repository.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.