How do you handle issue tracking?

My cofounder (Andy Johnson) and I have been building Harpoon together for a few months, and since we are pretty close friends, we just text or talk in person about building features. We’ve recently reached out to a back-end developer on oDesk to help us accelerate some new features, and now realize that getting into issue tracking is going to be more important to staying organized, especially if we bring in another contractor down the road.

So my questions to throw out to the forum are:

  • What do you use for issue tracking, new features, etc.?
  • While we’re at it, any other tools that you use that help you stay organized on product management?

I’d love to hear what has been working or not working for you.

I use FogBugz…been using it for years, on their free plan. I got into it back in the Cult of Joel Spolsky days, and it has always been sufficient.

There so many good products out there for this: Jira is excellent but in my opinion TOO configurable, in order to meet the demands of their enterprise clients. Back when I did consulting I’d introduce this subtly to clients and they’d usually be instantly won over from their current issue tracking software.

YouTrack from JetBrains takes a nice new fresh approach, very light-feeling, and keyboard-driven. I’d probably use this if starting fresh. It’s heavily dog-fooded by JetBrains, an outstanding development team.

GitHub + Trello is what I use to keep track of issues/code and prioritize work with my team.

I completely concur

Trello -> branch in git -> pull request -> code review and merge

Thanks for the responses. We are currently using for our git repository management, mainly because I like their FTP deploy option and we host a few projects on the same account. We are preferring a tool that already ties in with Beanstalk, so we can tag issue numbers to our commits and have them show up in the tracker. Right now the options that tie in with Beanstalk are:

  • FogBugz
  • Lighthouse
  • Sifter
  • Jira

At this point I think we are leaning towards Lighthouse as it seems lighter than Jira, but it is interesting to hear what others are doing.

For smaller projects, github issues works well. For larger projects and teams, Agile Zen or Trello are good.

Here at Cogeian Systems, we used to use hosted FogBugz until it got to the point where I had 6 or 8 subcontract developers rotating in and out of projects.

It bugged me that I had to pay $25/month per active user, even if some of those active users were just popping in to do a week of work and then wouldn’t work on anything again until the next month. And god forbid if that week of work overlapped the end of one month and the start of another.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t let my inner miser influence these things, but…there it is.

Instead, we ended up using BugTracker.NET, which is both free and excellent. Sure, it’s kind-of a FogBugz knock-off, but it’s a good one, and it continues to serve me faithfully even now.

Bitbucket is free for small teams and comes with unlimited private repos.

They have a nice Issue tracker and wiki. Obvious choice for small teams.

PS. also, I like Mercurial better that Git… But Bitbucket supports Git as well.

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I’ve been using Asana for tracking bugs, feature ideas and to-dos. It’s clean and elegant (and free).

I’ve used many systems over the years (Trac, GitHub issues, Sprintly, Pivotal Tracker, Basecamp, Trello) and have concluded that it’s a deeply personal decision. Different people like different systems. My advice is, try a whole bunch of these things if you can.

Here’s an overview of our all the apps our devs use…
Github repo
Github issues but is awesome too.
Pingdom but I’ve heard is good too.

Just a pen and a notebook works for me for new features! To use software for this is overkill in my situation.

Regarding bugtracking: There are so few issues that most can be resolved within a few hours as they are reported. In my approach, bugs are always resolved first before doing anything else. I couldn’t sleep knowing about a bug anyway :slight_smile:

Text file.

… and here are some useless words to allow me to post the above.


I love GitHub and used them for a good long time, for both their code repo and issue tracking. It’s very handy, especially when you need to tie an issue with a code commit together.

But I’ve since moved to Bitbucket because it’s tough to beat their price for the equivalent service - free :smile:

Here’s another vote for Trello. I’m not actually using it right now, but I know a lot of teams that do and love it.

My team and I didn’t quite take to Asana or Basecamp, but that was our personal preference. I often find the best tools are the ones that your team likes and can work quickly in, regardless of what others say.

For projects that only I am working on I’ve been using Things (Mac only). It has projects and Areas so I can organize a bunch of light-weight tasks and check them off as I go.

For multiple people, I’ve used PivotalTracker and more recently Trello. Of the two I prefer Trello.

I use GitHub for source control. For multiple devs, the pull request feature alone is priceless. GitHub’s interface is also great for browsing through previous commits.

Trello is nice to keep track of new features on one board and a second for what I am actually working on at the moment. Its easy to have it on screen for those “whats next” discussions.

We also have a board for issues (but it could just as easily be a list) and those get prioritized into the current development as well.

Its nice to have 1 tool for issues and features so you can gauge total work load. At the end of the day its all just stuff you need to just get done.

Thanks everyone for the responses! We ended up going with Lighthouse app due to the integration with Beanstalk, and have been pretty happy with it so far. It has a nice tight email integration for notifications and replies, so one can use it on the fly.

We also like the pages feature that it has, which we have been using to create wiki-style pages that outline the intended functionality of each part of our app. We can then reference these within issues if necessary.

After trying multiple tools we now use an Asana-Github integration tool, Unito. This way the team can manage company’s high-level projects on Asana and our devs can continue to work on the tool they love, GitHub.
It’s a 2-ways sync tool that link Asana projects with GitHub repositories so everybody is in the loop. It syncs issues, tasks, comments, assignees, tags/labels, etc.
It is very complete and very helpful!

I think it is
If you type “Unito sync Asana and Github” on Google you should find it!