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Project Management and Documentation Tools

The tools we use for managing software and design projects have evolved over the years. Last year
Scott added
Basecamp to our toolset. We've found its email based workflow easy to use, especially for customers. For small projects Basecamp is often all we need, but for larger projects we bring in
Jira for issue tracking and
Confluence for documentation. I was first introduced to Jira and Confluence while running R&D at
ValueCommerce in Tokyo. The systems group pitched it as, "Like
Bugzilla but secure and with a good UI." That turned out to be a very accurate description. We liked the system so much we did the Japanese localization for Atlassian in exchange for a free license. In the process of working with customers I've encountered numerous other issue tracking systems, but none that I like nearly as much as Jira. That being said there are a few features I'd really like to see added to Jira including an interactive
Gantt chart, perhaps implemented as a Flex component. A few years ago I tried a third party Gantt plugin, but it was display only. I strongly believe wikis are the best way to document systems for two reasons. The first is that they are easy to use, even for non-technical members of the team. Things that are easy to use end up being used. The second is that the wiki paradigm of inserting links in areas you wish to expound upon, and then using those links to create the necessary pages maps well to the way people think. People think like wikis - first the general, then the specifics. Although I'd like to use an open source wiki, I find that Confluence is still head and shoulders above
MediaWiki and the other popular open source wikis. It has simpler syntax, a good WYSIWYG editor, and a
sizable library of free and commercial plug-ins. If a company is going to invest the time in training every employee on a system, shelling out a few thousand for a better system is well worth the expense. Confluence and Jira can be configured to share users and integrate with other developer tools such as source control and build systems. If only they integrated with
Google Apps our developer universe would be near perfect :-)
Related Group: Project Managers
Ikayzo - Design • Build • Localize | Web • Desktop • Mobile


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Comment by Ken Mayer on February 12, 2010 at 1:17pm
We're big BIG fans of Pivotal Tracker. It's great for scrum / agile planning.
Comment by aaron kagawa on February 11, 2010 at 8:50am
jira and confluence is awesome.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on February 1, 2010 at 8:04pm
Matthew Faull: 10 user starter license is only US$10 - though it does ramp up pretty quickly from there.
True, but compared to other enterprise issue trackers it still compares very favorably.
Comment by Matthew Faull on January 31, 2010 at 3:54pm
10 user starter license is only US$10 - though it does ramp up pretty quickly from there.
(I don't work for Atlassian, but like using Confluence)
Comment by Ken Berkun on January 31, 2010 at 1:19pm
Putting in a plug for a local company, we have been using unfuddle (www.unfuddle.com) for source code management (SVN for us GIT also available).

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