Enterprise Issue Tracking for One Person: Me

Did you know that Things is made for personal task management with a focus on Getting Things Done. It’s $50.

Did you know that Jira is made for enterprise issue tracking and project management. It’s $10.

Well, it’s $10 if you have less than 10 users, otherwise it’s $1200! Luckily, I am only 1 person. I purchased it so fast it’d make you vomit.


Until today, I’ve been using Things for all of my personal tasks and projects. I currently have 18 projects that I’m working on, ranging from self improvement, to software projects, to this blog, to my wife’s cancer. Twelve of those 18 projects are software projects I’m working on to some degree. Projects like WPSearchMu, WelcomeToYourMac, it’s related and upcoming iPhone app, Columizer, etc. Because I have so many projects, it means I have to be exacting and purposeful with every spare moment. If i have an hour to spare to work on something, I need the vast majority of that hour to be spent productively and not spent just getting caught up on where I am in the project.

In Things, every task looks the exact same. There’s no difference between high priority blocker issues and low priority nice-to-haves. There’s no easy way to sort, filter, or graph my progress. Since Things isn’t web based, I can’t easily track any tasks I’ve delegated to other people. It doesn’t integrate with svn, so when a bug gets reopened it’s hard enough to see it’s svn history that I don’t even try. Don’t get me wrong, Things is great for personal tasks and todo lists, but for software management it sucks – as well it should, since that’s not what it was designed for! I generally take the path of least resistance, and Things has served me well until lately, but I need something bigger.


Some of my projects are hosted on Google Code, but their issue tracker is lacking, to say the least. It gets the job done and that’s it. It’s only¬†integrated with svn for mere months. It’s young and simple. Even better, only some of my projects are on Google Code, so it can’t solve my entire issue tracking problem anyways. Even if it could, it’s not even possible to filter my combined issues from all of my Google Code projects. Projects are too silo’d and the system is too young.

Bugzilla was another option. I’ve heard good things about it, but I’ve never used it to any meaningful degree, and I really don’t want to spend time setting up and learning a new system that might fit by needs but might not. The risk/reward/time-spent equation just didn’t do it for me.

Jira saves the day. I use Jira every day at Jive, and it’s a fantastic issue tracker. Until yesterday I thought it cost thousands of dollars to implement – which is true if you’re more than 10 people. But only $10 for 1 user for an enterprise level issue tracker that I’m already comfortable with? Done. I can setup projects, components for those projects, custom fields for tasks, custom filters, priority and status, and it integrates with svn so my checkins and and the bug report are all in the same place. It cuts down the time I spend organizing and tracking, and gives me a solid bird’s eye view into how far along my projects are and what tasks are next. Since it’s web based, I can make a project public so that anyone can file bugs for any of my projects. Best of all, it’s what I already use at Jive so I’m already comfortable with the system. This will undoubtedly make me more productive, and I’m psyched.

Take Away

If you’re an engineer, and you need an issue tracker for your projects, I highly suggest spending the $10 and installing a copy of Jira on your server. If you have non-engineering stuff you want to get done too, I highly suggest Things. I love Things – I dunno what I’d do w/o the iPhone app – and I’m absolutely keeping it around for my non-engineering task lists. Everything engineering is going in Jira.

Also, the currently selection of Jira apps for the iPhone makes puppies cry. I’ll pay good money for a solid Jira app. Someone please build it.

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