Project Management

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.


      1. 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?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.