GitHub + ZenHub : Project management where your developers are

For a while, I used Zenhub and githubs to do my project management where my developers where. While I am currently using Atlassian tools, like bitbucket for my code repositories and JIra to manage my roadmap and my product backlog, I still find that zenhub and github are great options if you are working with teams that use github to store their code repositories, specially if the organization isn’t very large or if you are working in an open source project.

Where’s my board?

I am a believer in tickets and boards (check my posts ‘no ticket no party‘ and ‘pm tools: the kanban board‘ if you missed them) and also believe that project management should be as easy as possible for developers.

Some months ago I stumbled upon a blog post that suggested using GitHub for project management. Repositories have issues that developers already use to plan a lot of their work or for discussions within the team, we can even host the documentation in a repository using files or the wiki… so why not take advantage of that, a tool that they already seem to enjoy and where they already spend a lot of time, and make it usable for project management?

While GitHub lets you assign tasks to people and to milestones, lets you know if a task is complete or open and you can use labels to hack some other things you need, it is not a project management tool and sometimes falls short.

Or as I would put it: where is my kanban board??

Doing research I found ZenHub. And I loved it.

Shopping for boards


I loved it because ZenHub is a simple plugin you can add INSIDE github, and that displays tasks in a nice kanban board. It uses labels to define states, sure, BUT you can also just drag and drop tasks as you go, and it automates the change of state for pull requests. Glorious.

By the time I discovered ZenHub there was a big BUT that made it impossible for us to use it: multiple repositories per board were not allowed, so while it was more or less ok for developers it was a big pain for project managers in our team to have to check many different repositories to see how the project was doing.

In the end we decided to go for waffle, another tool that integrates with GitHub and provides a drag and drop kanban board. Unfortunately waffle displays this kanban board outside GitHub, in a separate URL, so it is not as seamless. Nor as nice.

ZenHub 2.0

Yesterday I heard the news that ZenHub has now a 2.0 version that does support multiple repos per board. And not JUST. They have also included burndown charts or feature time estimation – growing up to be a real project management tool. You can read the whole story in this blog post they wrote.


I am looking fw to using ZenHub for my projects, and as always remember that I’d love to hear what you think about ZenHub and what your experiences are using GitHub for project management and this or any other plugins or workarounds.

10 responses to “GitHub + ZenHub : Project management where your developers are”

  1. […] favorites. If you are not convinced, there are other tools you can check. In the past I wrote about other management tools. Remember: the Product Backlog is the important thing, the tool is just a mean to an […]

  2. […] with this blog post. Remember my love for Kanban boards and how I am an advocate of GitHub and the ZenHub plugin for project […]

  3. […] GitHub + ZenHub : Project management where your developers are […]

  4. […] you follow this blog you probably know of my love for Kanban boards and you may have even this blog post about how I use GitHub and ZenHub together to stay organised. I won’t repeat myself – […]

  5. Glad to help! Let me know if you decide to go for it and have any comments or tricks.

  6. Many thanks for the review ZenHub, you helped me a lot.ё

  7. Yes it seems interesting. Definitely worth a try for teams who are already using github. What are the downsides of it that you’ve found so far?

  8. Hi Joshua, thanks for your comment! I can only advice to give it a try. Would be great to hear what it feels like to you.

  9. Thanks for recommending Zenhub. I’ve never heard of it before. It looks like it’s worth a try.

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