What do Bootstrappers use for issue tracking?

We use Jira for issue tracking/bug tracking. But I feel there must be a better, lighter alternative for tiny teams.

What are you using for issue tracking? Or what would you use if you could? What are its pros and cons?

I have been using Notion for almost all the requirements of my project. Wiki, Issue Tracking, Feature Tracking, Notes, Raw thoughts.

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As most of my projects are software I use GitHub issues.

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I hate JIRA with a passion. I used to use FogBugz (or whatever it’s called this week), which was barely acceptable.

I recently switched to Linear (https://linear.app/) and I think it is fantastic. The more I use it, the more I like it. I wish it had more features (like auto-linking GitHub commits to tasks based on task labels in commits), but even now I think it is really, really good. And it works very well as a mobile webapp on a phone, too.

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I’m using BitBucket for free private git. Thus, I use their simple issue tracker which supports referring to issues in commit messages for auto-linking. It’s lightweight but has strengths that make it easy to build complex reports:

  • a simple #123 creates a link to that issue
  • linked issues like that are styled as struck-through when they are closed, so an Epic issue is easy to scan
  • attaching images is trivially easy
  • the URLs are stable and readable, good for copying into both code (as TODO) and discussions

I use PageProofer (https://pageproofer.com, some self interest there) for all website related projects and Trello for more development/app centric needs. Jira is too big for my needs. Trello offers a pretty simple setup that I can match to my workflow.

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I used to like Jira, long ago, when it was much better than the corporate alternatives I had been forced to use. But something went wrong over the years.

Now I tolerate it, only just.

I kind of liked the simplicity of FogBugz, but it seemed to have become abandonware a few years ago. I stopped using in 2014 because we exceeded the limits of the free plan and the paid plans at the time were remarkably expensive.

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What are the things that make people hate JIRA? I have my own pet peeves (primarily around permissions complexity), but I haven’t heard many other specifics around what people don’t like - I’d be interested to know what they are.

“Hate” is too strong a word for me, but I’ll answer anyway.

One thing I dislike about Jira is that I feel I need to take a course when I want to change anything about the way a project is configured.

eg. I recently wanted to add an additional status to the choice of issue statues in one project. I was confronted with “workflows” and “workflow schemes” and was never really sure if my changes would accidentally end up on other projects. So I decided didn’t really need the additional status after all…

This is my general experience when trying to configure just about anything in Jira.


Hello @SteveMcLeod, I was wondering if you have tried the Task Management feature of AXSAR Solo? It allows users to create tasks (which could be Bugs, Stories, Tasks), and easily search and track them on a visual pipeline. Do let me know if you need any help.

PS: I am the founder of AXSAR Solo - All-in-one SaaS solution for SMEs.

I use https://sentry.io/ for triaging crashy stuff and GitHub Issues / Trello for anything else or ones that will endure beyond the Sentry retention.

GitHub issues + integrations. Can’t beat the “#” mention in commit-messages and pull requests.

We have a special Slack channel that is connected to “Github” Slack-app (or whatever its called?) that announces new issues coming in, status changes, comments being added, even when someone pushes a commit that references the issue. Very handy.

The issues in GitHub are being created from helpdesk tickets in our customer service app that we’re actively dogfooding. Ticket received - “oh shit, looks like a bug” - click-click - issue in GH :slight_smile:

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Disclaimer. We are at 6-digit MRR. There are two active contributors to the codebase: my partner and I, independently working on two separate parts of the app - data integration engine and UI/backend. We release updates once or twice a month, most of them are driven by customer requests.

We use Zendesk to track support tickets and we use Feature Upvote for feature requests and public roadmap.

We don’t use any issue tracking tool for development. We used to have Kanban from GitLab but abandoned it about a year ago. I wouldn’t recommend it for every team, especially if you hire people to help with development, but it works pretty well for us, - a well-organized team of founders.

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We use ClickUp, fellow boot strapped company who got north of $1M+ in ARR and then raised to crush it. And they are awesome!

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We use Github issues and Trello. Anything that is posted on Github automatically gets imported. Love the overview that Trello gives!

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I use ClubHouse and it’s been a great alternative to something heavy like Jira.

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Trello all the way for both issue and feature request tracking. Each column reflects a future app version and there’s also a “Possible” column for interesting but low-priority ideas. Then there is a card for every bug/feature and its comments are used to store the important details picked from customer emails.

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I use Mantis, it’s mostly OK but its UI is dated and some operations require many clicks, while it could be easier. The good thing is that it can be hosted on premise so no dependence on external services.