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Phred (5358)


Fred is a Perl and PostgreSQL geek. He has made some very small contributions to a few cpan modules and mod_perl.

Journal of Phred (5358)

Thursday January 03, 2008
03:07 PM

Basecamp is not for software development

[ #35278 ]

You know, the project management software? Managers love it. Engineers hate it. Dear managers, please please stop using it for software development. Yes, it has todos and milestones, and messages. All nice fun things for managers to look at and move around to create a nice happy schedule.

But when it comes to identifying software features needed, communicating with other developers, and setting release milestones, it uc('sucks')! Ah yes, let me just add my notes on why this deliverable is going to be late into the little text box for the milestone. And then no one is alerted that the milestone has changed. Great, very helpful. If you want to use it, please let the engineers use a real bug tracking system. Identify business milestones and use Basecamp to track them, keep the engineers out of it. What, you have to constantly work to do that? Hey, that's what us engineers have to do with the bug tracking system :)

RT is not for software development either. RT is a ticket managing system. It is for customer support and issue tracking. Request tracking workflow does not work well for software development.

FogBugz is for software development. It looks shiny and neat, but it still sucks. Ever installed it? It's painful. Ever had their servers go down and all of a sudden you can't login to fogbugz because the license can't authenticate? It's painful. Ever try to customize just a little part of it by hacking the code? The code is php code, and is automatically generated. Run and hide!

Bugzilla is for software development. It's ugly. The controls look like something out of an airliner, and may make you go blind the first time you use it. Designer css types hate the way it looks. But I've got a secret I'm going to tell you - it works, and it works well. It's been refined over many years to suit the needs of software development. It has gateway engines for email and command line commit notes and actions. If you know a little bit of Perl, you can customize it. Granted, the code isn't that easy to read, but try customizing FogBugz, or RT (oops, got me there!), or Basecamp.

Trac is for software development. It's not as mature as Bugzilla, but it works well enough, and is an order of magnitude friendlier to use. It's lean and mean. It's generally pretty nice to use.

That's the end of my rant. If you're a manager and you are reading this, I'd love to hear your feedback on what has worked for you and your team. I am a big proponent of developers using tools which work well for them, and don't necessarily look good for the manager, or make his/her job easier. Make your developers' jobs easier, and you make your job easier.

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