Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm drowning in user emails and I'd like to implement a better way to manage all these requests I get and put them in a queue where those people on a team, as well as users, have access to them and can make common notes. I'm thinking about some sort of task management tool that would allow multiple tasks to be created under a project where emails, comments, ideas, etc. could be dropped/entered and easily accessible.

I need something that all parties can be involved in - users, managers, team leaders, developers. I'm looking for a tool that can allow:

  • Users to just drag/drop an email to submit a request for maintenance or enhancement.
  • Developers to just see their queue and the weighted priority of each task/project.
  • A team of developers to see what everyone is working on in real-time.
  • Management to keep a a log of time spent on each task.

I I am starting to look in more of a Agile/Scrum direction for solving this problem. I found list of scrum agile sofware project management open source tools. Since I am limited on time, has anyone used these? Which one should I test to see if it will meet my needs? TeamPulse is a good direction, but think it is a little too bloated. I need something simple for all parties.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Thomas Owens Sep 29 '12 at 10:17

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Should I even think about harnessing these emails that come through Microsoft Outlook or should I look at a third party tool all together? –  Adamizer Oct 21 '10 at 13:24
    
## Microsoft Project Server and Team Foundation Server 2012## –  Ryan Hayes Nov 1 '10 at 20:18
add comment

13 Answers

Redmine

...project management web application. Written using the Ruby on Rails framework, it is cross-platform and cross-database.

Redmine is open source and released under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2 (GPL)...

Some of the main features of Redmine are:

  • Multiple projects support
  • Flexible role based access control
  • Flexible issue tracking system
  • Gantt chart and calendar
  • News, documents & files management
  • Feeds & email notifications
  • Per project wiki
  • Per project forums
  • Time tracking
  • Custom fields for issues, time-entries, projects and users
  • SCM integration (SVN, CVS, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar and Darcs)
  • Issue creation via email
  • Multiple LDAP authentication support
  • User self-registration support
  • Multilanguage support
  • Multiple databases support...
share|improve this answer
    
+1. I've used Redmine and Trac, both work really well to manage requests. Both to keep track of your source code as well as writing down tickets which can either be feature requests or bug reports. –  Spoike Oct 26 '10 at 14:15
add comment

JIRA

$10 bucks for a standard license for 10 users (with proceeds going to charity). Worth every penny -- I use it to track features, bugs, releases, etc -- for multiple projects. It's extremely easy to use and setup. And Atlassian has a lot of other tools that integrate well with it (and the standard license for those are just as cheap!) -- GreenHopper, Bamboo, etc.

Based on your criteria:

I think I am starting to look in more of a Agile/Scrum direction for solving this problem.

See GreenHopper integration

Users to just drag/drop an email to submit a request for maintenance or enhancement.

Creating Issues from Emails

Developers to just see their queue and the weighted priority of each task/project.

alt text

A team of developers to see what everyone is working on in real-time.

See above.

Management to keep a a log of time spent on each task.

Logging work on an issue

share|improve this answer
    
This looks awesome. –  Stephen Nov 2 '10 at 12:36
1  
@Stephen - Even more than looking good, it just works. The only thing that I can recommend is that you do not go with the default file-based database, use a Postgre or MySQL db. –  Watson Nov 2 '10 at 12:53
add comment

FogBugz

an integrated web-based project management system featuring bug/issue tracking, discussion forums, wikis, customer relationship management, and evidence based scheduling developed by Fog Creek Software.

The feature tracker allows users to manage, filter, sort and navigate a tree-structure of tasks, that contain information, tags and attached files related to a particular issue. Discussion forums and wikis may be created around any topic and posts/pages may be added into the same. Users may integrate their email accounts into the system to send/receive email and create issues regarding the same.

Prediction of future tasks and completion estimation of future milestones are based upon past records of user performance. Users must manually input an estimated duration for every task, and state the task they are currently working on which builds a daily work log (timesheet) that may be reviewed later...

Honestly one of the best systems I've used. Plus you can have email addresses per-client which will automatically create a new task.

share|improve this answer
1  
Cute. Firefox reports a homepage of a bug reporting system as untrusted source ;-) Oh, the irony! –  Rook Oct 20 '10 at 22:05
    
The correct link is fogcreek.com/fogbugz. We use it too, and it's quite good at most things. –  Ben Hughes Oct 20 '10 at 22:11
    
Fixed the link, sort of posted and bailed. I copied the link from my FogBugz account. –  Josh K Oct 21 '10 at 2:39
1  
+1 for suggesting an issue tracker. I don't think it particularly matters which issue tracker (I'd probably use Mantis, because that's the tracker I use for my own stuff) you use. –  Frank Shearar Oct 21 '10 at 5:45
    
We use this and are looking for an alternative. I find the client facing portion nearly worthless (sending an email into the void) unless you want to shell out a bunch of cash for licenses. –  ScottE Oct 22 '10 at 19:31
add comment

TargetProcess


You can:

  • track bugs

  • track requests

  • track time-sheets

  • track user stories

  • track releases

http://www.targetprocess.com

share|improve this answer
add comment

Trac.

  • Users can have accounts to submit tickets, view their status, and see any documentation you add as a support wiki. You can also give users a section of the wiki they can edit so they can document shared practices.
  • Tickets can be assigned to particular components, so developers can quickly see tickets that affect their part of the code in addition to being able to see their "queue" of tickets assigned to them.
  • Tickets can be assigned to releases or milestones, which is one way in which managers can see the overall "health" or "pulse" of the project. The custom reporting allows managers to view other metrics they may be interested in.
  • Trac integrates well with subversion, but I'm not certain about other SCM systems.
  • The price is right.
share|improve this answer
add comment

Mantis

...web-based bugtracking system (feature list). It is written in the PHP scripting language and works with MySQL, MS SQL, and PostgreSQL databases and a webserver. MantisBT has been installed on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, OS/2, and others. Almost any web browser should be able to function as a client. It is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL)...

I thought mantis was easy to use as far as bug/feature tracking goes.

share|improve this answer
    
We use MantisBT every day, and it works perfectly for our needs. Multiple projects, multiple reporters and devs. Roadmaps, feature requests, I love it. –  Stephen Nov 2 '10 at 12:34
    
would you mind explaining more on what it does and what it's good for? "Link-only answers" are not quite welcome at Stack Exchange –  gnat May 1 '13 at 10:16
add comment

Bugzilla (roa any ticketing system - Jira etc..) should be great here. It allows tickets (that will be tasks in your case) to be linked and finally, you can create tickets for your taskforce (engineers etc..).

Bugzilla supports products, components, ticket dependencies and the like - probably all you need for managing your task queue.

+1 for not letter customers send emails that will create tickets directly.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In my experience, you're hosed. The point of no return was when you let someone send you an e-mail in the first place.

In all seriousness, OnTime is nice and has the customer portal (the whole thing is wicked easy to setup and they have free online seminars that are pretty good) where users can create tickets, vote on things, etc.

No amount of software you put in place will be easier than your users clicking "send" though. I wish you good tidings trying to convert them!

share|improve this answer
    
Your system has to be able to handle the email request because like you said, they love send and are not going to go to your site to see a response. –  JeffO Oct 21 '10 at 2:30
    
It's not hard to convert them, YOu simply return each email with a standard answeer of you won't be working on it until it is in the offical tracking system. You'd be amazed at how many urgent things go away when they have to take teh time to submit an actual request. –  HLGEM May 1 '13 at 21:14
add comment

No where near as "formal" as Bugzilla or Fogbugz or any of those, but as a way to keep your clients more engaged, I've used Google Docs with great results. Certainly, it would be a good first step from the total chaos that is everybody just emailing you all the time.

It works really well when there's more than one person sending you requests as well. Because everybody can see what everybody else has written, you're less likely to get different people all sending in the same thing. And you can update the points one-at-a-time when done.

If someone sends me an "out-of-band" email, I'll just ask them to add it to the doc.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Pivotal Tracker

I've used it with many clients, many organization types.

It's 'made for agile/scrum'. It focuses on user stories, particularly features that deliver value.

  • It is free/very cheap.
  • It has drag and drop for doing ordering.
  • Makes sense and easy to use for non-technical end users.
  • Provides URL links for any given story.
  • Provides feedback on how much is really getting done during sprints to enable project management and time estimates that are based on the facts of past history.
share|improve this answer
add comment

TestTrackPro worked for us in my last job. I don't know how it has changed in the last 3 years.

At the time it was on a server, so everyone could add and access issues. I'm pretty sure it allowed files to be added to an issue. You could query by a lot of different parameters, so you could see just your tasks. Tasks had a status that you could change as you worked on them. It was a standard bug tracker.

If I were looking for a tool to manage requests from users, I would look at it (although I'd look first at the tools that got the most votes) to see how it compared to others based on my needs. I certainly wouldn't just use emails to track my tasks!

share|improve this answer
    
We use it a bit, its OK, its great for enforcing workflows, but the interface is very clunky. It looks like a widget library was ill on the screen. –  flamingpenguin Nov 2 '10 at 10:54
add comment

Used to use XPlanner, but it doesn't seem to be being maintained for several years. We now use a tool called "VersionOne". Its OK. The things it does not do very well are:

  1. reporting - to get its limited statistics to work properly you seem to have to fill everything in at exactly the right time
  2. adding custom fields, - it actually handles the fields quite nicely, but the process for adding them is convoluted
  3. UI niggles - its main UI is a web UI, its AJAX in places but there are 5 different ways of doing anything and none of them is quite what you intuitively wanted.
  4. Search - its search implementation is terrible. For instance, you can sometimes paste the exact title of a story into the search box and it doesn't find the story.

It does have a pretty good API accessible over HTTP though, so we have ended up creating a custom desktop app interface to display the stories/tasks/management-information in a more concise and useful way!

We couldn't find anything better for us at the time we decided to use it. It has a lot of features, but I leaves me feeling its UI could be much organised and implemented (and save a lot of frustration).

share|improve this answer
add comment

Sharepoint

is good for tracking issues and tasks.

share|improve this answer
    
within TFS? or Standalone? –  aggietech Oct 25 '10 at 21:02
    
We implemented ours standalone. –  user1842 Oct 25 '10 at 22:09
1  
Oh hell no. Maybe your experience is different but from mine this is such a heavy-weight and encumbered tool that there's got to be better things out there. –  wheaties Oct 29 '10 at 15:16
    
@wheaties, It definitely takes a little work to customize. –  user1842 Oct 29 '10 at 17:47
1  
This is really a comment, not an answer to the question. You can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. –  Matthieu Aug 22 '12 at 18:19
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.