Sorry for the email length here. Here's my quick summary:
* Trying to figure out how to do good project management on Bugzilla,
working with the Bugzilla community to juice it up
* Failing that, we'd like to migrate off of it. Leading candidate: Redmine
* Wiki page: http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Tracker/PM_tool
And now, the (much) longer version:
As you probably recall, Priyanka has been investigating our use of Bugzilla,
and investigating whether or not it makes sense to keep using it, or migrate
to something else. I'm helping her out with that evaluation now, and here's
where we're at.
We really want to have well-integrated issue management (both feature
requests and bugs) along with project management.
We've informally narrowed the choices down to 1) staying with Bugzilla, or
2) migrating to Redmine. I say "informally" because it's not as though
there's been any formal consensus gathering process of any sort, and we know
we need to really need to involve everyone in this process.
Staying on Bugzilla would obviously be the least disruptive choice, and we'd
prefer to stay with the devil we know rather than find out what Redmine or
some other tracker doesn't have after a migration.
However, looking at Bugzilla, as currently configured, from the point of
view of a project manager, it really doesn't work very well. It's very
difficult to provide a birds-eye view of how a project is progressing
without building a separate manually-maintained wiki page with a project
plan on it. While it seems possible to *cope* as a project manager with
Bugzilla, it doesn't seem like the kind of tool that a project manager could
grow to love, at least not how it exists now.
Redmine has time management built in, and is pretty clearly designed as a
project management tool generally. By way of example, here's the roadmap
for the Redmine project itself:
It seems to favor old-school time management (with Gantt charts having
better support than Burndown charts), but it looks like a versatile enough
tool to adapt to many different project management styles. Most
importantly, it has sensible defaults that we can count on others also
Now, as I've alluded to, the problem may just be with our configuration of
Bugzilla, which is pretty narrowly focused on just tracking bugs. We
reached out to the Bugzilla developers on IRC, and I'm planning to follow up
on the Bugzilla newsgroup:
As with pretty much any mature piece of infrastructure software, it is
possible to extend it. For example, Max Kanat-Alexander pointed out the new
extension interface in the latest version of Bugzilla, and believes it would
be reasonably simple now to create a roadmap plugin. That's not the only
thing Bugzilla is lacking to be a really good project management tool, so
we'll need a little more than "add roadmaps" to get us where we ultimately
want to be, but having that functionality is a good start.
In order for Bugzilla to be a viable option for project management, the
Bugzilla team would need to demonstrate that they're serious about creating
something competitive in this area. Redmine isn't the only competition that
appears to do better; JIRA is also better in this regard. While we may be
the ones asking most directly right now, I've gotta believe that many other
Bugzilla users are either hitting the same wall we are, or know something
that we don't.
Here's what we're planning to do:
1. Engage the Bugzilla community much more seriously about project
management. Engage the Firefox developers to find out how they're making it
work for them, as well as other large projects (e.g. perhaps GNOME).
2. Simultaneously engage the Redmine community and generally evaluate
Redmine. Make sure we understand a lot better the good and the bad with
it. For example, it appears on the surface that the query abilities aren't
as sophisticated. We'll need to understand if that's going to be a problem
3. If it looks like Bugzilla is on a rapid enough trajectory to becoming a
great project management tool (with or without our help), then we figure out
how to make that process go as quickly as possible.
4. If it looks like Bugzilla is not going to get there without an
all-too-heroic effort on our part, or it looks like one of the alternatives
is SO compelling that we really should make a switch, then we'll be floating
a migration plan with you all.
Here's the web page that discusses this:
On that page, we get into some more detail about the pros and cons of each
of the tools.
I realize that most of the readers on this list probably are not project
management tool connoisseurs, and you're probably more interested in
Bugzilla for its bug tracking ability. That said, there's probably a
significant number of you that want to be more in-the-loop about what WMF
staff developers are up to. Having access to the tool we use for
scheduling/planning will give you more visibility.
So, here's what I'm hoping you all can help out with:
1. Take a really good look at Redmine, and see if you'd love/hate/be
indifferent to a migration to that tool
2. Help with the process of fleshing out requirements/nice-to-haves on the
wiki page above.
3. Help engage both the Bugzilla and Redmine communities if you've got an
interest in this topic.
Does this all seem reasonable to everyone? Let us know what you think.