Which tools do you use for managing specs/new features/your development team?

We’re growing a development team right now, before it was just me (I’m a designer), now we have two developers and it’s time to come up with a decent structure for tracking new product features / specs. Right now the tools we are using for team communication are:

  • Slack
  • Trello for basic todo / kanban board
  • Bitbucket

I am wondering what else we can use now to manage our development team. Specifically good ways to manage scenarios like: “Feature x needs to be developed. These are the user stories. This is the spec. These are the mockups, etc.”

Please note, we’re a startup. Tools that start with a free plan are preferred. I prefer using SaaS tools vs. stuff that needs to be installed on a server first.

Redmine is open source. Assembla is a serious commercial competitor.

Just my two cents after using Bitbucket and Github – it’s worth the $7/month for Github in my opinion. The bitbucket interface is clunky, and the fact that I have to hand-modify the url to get to the full source of a commit is annoying, to say the least.

Also, the ‘soft sell’ on slack can be tricky. I love just about everything about slack, but they leave you pot committed after you get to a point where your old messages/history are no longer available, so I’d recommend either budgeting ahead for that or thinking about a truly free alternative. Worth it in my book, though to plan to pay.

My $0.02:

  • Slack is great but the “let’s talk and share everything” overhead can really destroy team productivity. Don’t get me wrong it’s an awesome tool for staying up to date, brainstorming approaches/ideas, and generally building up nice “warm and fuzzy” team feelings, but it can also be seriously distracting. Be prepared to use the “do not disturb” feature …
  • Kanban boards (like Trello) are really great for brainstorming and big picture planning. They’re not great when it comes to tracking actual work. Using Trello as an example - let’s say you have a card that represents a requirement that needs to be implemented. You want several people to be in the loop on card updates by default, so you add them all as members. How do you then tell who has the primary responsibility for working on that card at any given point in time? I’ve seen this stall work several times. There are workarounds, but they’re not great.
  • After many years I still find myself going back to Basecamp when working with teams/clients. I still find it to be the best project collaboration tool out there, for one simple reason. It has one of the lowest barriers to entry of any project collaboration tool I’ve seen. People get it instantly, and can start adding todos, discussions, etc. right away, without having to really think about what they’re doing. Basecamp really promotes easy communication (like Slack), but everything is tracked, can be structured and assigned as needed, and can be referenced easily. It really is an awesome tool.

I’m a fan of Pivotal Tracker for project management - based on Agile Scrum or used as a todolist it has a tonne of features (and a free plan). Links with Github to track work on user stories which I find really nice.

I really love http://waffle.io, connected with github you get a simple project management system with no need to do double work on issues, todos etc.

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My 50 Cent:

Slack + Zapier + X is killing it.

I feel like Slack is really the way to go if it comes to Team Communication if you get used to it.
Zapier is integrating any Service you like into Slack for you.
X is a Project Management Tool you like. Just choose one and stick to it :slight_smile: some love Trello, some love Asana, some love Wrike, some love Podio.

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For collaboratively storming ideas and getting rapid consensus (especially around new projects) I can recommend mindmeister.

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Thanks for all, It is great tool… :blush:

Just like MDG we use waffle.io. You can see what MDG is doing here https://waffle.io/meteor/meteor.

Waffle is directly connected to GitHub, so there is always a link to the actual issues. PRs can be connected to issues again, so multiple people in multiple PRs can work on the same main issue/spec. Trello, sprintly and any other KanBan boards are quite useless when you want direct connection to GitHub. Waffle has been the clear winner for us and it’s even free…

If you’re using intercom.io for your support, then you can directly connect that to GitHub to so you’ll have a closed loop from feature request from your client until it’s actually available in the app (when the issue is closed).

We use Slack for internal communication. Again, also connected to GitHub.

I’m so glad to live in 2016 where this is all possible!