Home to more than 83 million developers since 2008, Github.com has served as the single source of truth for issue tracking and version control for millions of software projects. Now, it intends to empower developers to be more efficient with the right project management features built natively into the platform.
Github Issues provides an excellent way to track different developmental tasks for collaboration and teamwork. However, it struggles with displaying large amounts of data in an organized way and using automation tools to simplify project planning. That’s where Github Projects come in.
Github Projects is currently in public beta. That means anyone can just log in to their account and switch the old kanban boards for a much more comprehensive database view of their project tasks. They can then manage tasks, add custom metadata, track relationships, and have conversations with their team — all from within Github.
In this article, we’ll be taking a detailed look at Github Projects. What does this new feature mean for the future of development teams? And how can you make it even better? We’ll also be sharing some very useful project management tips for software developers using Github.
What Is Github Projects?
The thing about most project management tools is that they’re almost never built into your development environment, requiring you to access a separate interface to manage and assign tasks to team members.
Github Issues was the first step to changing that.
With project planning and issue tracking capabilities built right into your development software, Github wanted to give software engineers the tools they needed to achieve maximum efficiency.
But there was a catch.
Kanban boards may feel intuitive when the amount of data is small and manageable. But for larger teams with lots of tasks to switch between, a spreadsheet is much more useful. It allows for adding custom fields and metadata, makes it easier to filter and sort through issues, as well as gives you the option to switch between different views depending on your needs.
Github Projects is the latest iteration of Issues — Github’s own project management tool. It aims to solve all of these challenges by using a single toggle to switch from project boards to spreadsheets when managing tasks, issues, and pull requests.
Github Projects: Understanding the Top Features
With project management functionality built natively into your development environment, Github Projects aims to revolutionize the way you work. Here are some of its top features:
Your project management software works in synchronization with your development tools, ensuring that developers and project managers have access to the same data. When you alter an issue or pull request, it automatically changes the project description in Issues. Similarly, when a project description is altered, the issue or pull request gets automatically updated.
You can use a variety of custom fields to track metadata like ship dates, project complexity, iteration number, and more. You can even filter and sort your tasks through these custom fields in the spreadsheet view.
Use the GraphQL API and GitHub Actions to automate workflows on Github. For example, when an issue is closed, you can automatically mark the corresponding project status as Done. If you’d like to learn more about automation, Github also provides a handy guide for reference.
Project Planning Tips for Github Users
How to make the most out of your time using Github Projects? Here are some useful tips to help you get started:
Organize, organize, organize
Github offers lots of options to help you organize your projects and tasks. While the iconic kanban boards have been around since 2016, the new spreadsheet view offers additional ways to view and arrange data.
Project boards are fully customizable, making it easy to change everything from column headers in the overview to color codes for individual tasks. The spreadsheet view, on the other hand, lets you freely add custom metadata and switch seamlessly between various filters. You can also add people to teams and create custom project milestones to further streamline your project.
Make it conversational
Would you like to have spontaneous conversations with team members or collaborate with multiple people across different projects? Thanks to notes, reviews, and mentions, you can now take your collaborative workflows to the next level.
Notes enable you to leave reminders and tips next to project boards to offer guidance to your team members.
Reviews help users approve changes or leave comments on existing projects.
Mentions let you immediately call the attention of a specific team member by @ing them in a conversation.
Together, Github offers lots of ways to have conversations on work-related topics on the fly. Holding conversations directly in your development environment can greatly improve efficiency.
Use integrations to do more
Apps and integrations can greatly enhance the functionality of Github to make it a more well-rounded project management tool.
7pace is a time-tracking add-on that helps you track work directly inside Github. By combining seamlessly with the existing functionality of Github Issues and Github Projects, it lets developers stay on top of their billable hours and enhance productivity with better intelligence tools.
If you already use Slack at your workplace, its corresponding integrations can enable you to share projects and files easily on the platform.
Azure Boards now has a Github integration that lets you easily switch between the two platforms to manage pull requests and work items. It’s very useful if you migrated from Microsoft Azure recently.
There are lots of other integrations that let you enhance either the development or productivity side of Github. The quality of life features added by these tools can greatly improve your experience with the platform.
7pace: The Ultimate Time-Tracking Tool for Github Developers
Github Issues and Projects (Beta) are highly intuitive project management tools built natively into your development environment. But they both miss out on one crucial aspect.
A big part of the challenge for project managers working with development teams is tracking time and estimating projects. Most developers get paid by the hour, so tracking the number of hours required to complete a project is essential not only for getting paid but also for offering realistic estimates to clients regarding project costs.
7pace is a time-tracking add-on that works inside Github Issues (or Projects). It integrates seamlessly with the development environment to offer time-tracking and data estimation functionalities that look and feel native to the platform.
It doesn’t just stop at tracking hours for sending invoices. 7pace offers intelligent insights into your team’s efficiency so that you can take measures to improve everyone’s overall productivity. This also enables project managers to create better estimates for time and budget at the onset of a new project.
With 7pace, it’s a lot easier for project managers and development teams to make data-driven decisions when taking on new projects. Why not sign up for a free trial and see how this powerful integration can transform your Github workflow?