John Lafleur

@jeanlafleur

Can GitHub Be a Powerful Project Management Tool?

Every large company is a software company — the world HAS been eaten by software. And pretty much every software company is now using Git. When you consider GitHub as the leader in Git repos, no wonder it has 2.1 million organizations on its platform!

However, GitHub has a few shortcomings in terms of project management features and interface, as suggested by a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey of 129 companies, assessing their satisfaction about the way projects and priorities are handled in the engineering organization. GitHub is indeed well appreciated by contributors, but less by managers (score of -22) and even less by executives (score of -50).

That explains why executives and managers (often product managers) introduce issue management tools such as Atlassian’s Jira to compensate for GitHub shortcomings in project management.

But, what if GitHub could be enhanced in such a way that it becomes a better interface to manage issues and keep track of project progress? That’s what Anaxi, a startup co-founded by serial entrepreneurs and veterans of Apple and Docker, offers through its newly-launched web app.

Fixing project management-related shortcomings

One of the biggest complaints about GitHub is the end-user interface it offers to browse tasks. Indeed, GitHub lets you input labels as text. While it offers significant flexibility, you have to know the structure of all your labels, there is no label categories to make them more digestible. You can’t monitor the tasks associated with a label, either, or browse easily from one task to the next. This is very problematic for large projects, as is often seen in both the enterprise and the open-source worlds.

Anaxi does offer all this for GitHub projects. While users can finally filter their tasks based on their labels and switch easily from one task to the other, they will also see the tasks in a new light with the categorization of their labels. area/networking becomes a category area with a value networking. You don’t need to know them anymore to manage your projects. Anaxi gives GitHub users the ability to benefit fully from its label flexibility. It’s important to note that Anaxi does not modify any of the data in GitHub — or create other hidden data. Anaxi is fixing some of the shortcomings of GitHub by enhancing the user interface and navigation.

You can track the filters that matter to you too

Metrics to understand and improve the team’s output

Anaxi adds a complexity indicator to pull requests, based on the number of lines of code changed, of files touched, the nature of the code change (refactoring, new code or other). Users can now more easily choose how to allocate their time for code review. Kubernetes has more than 1,000 pull requests open for review. So pull request review prioritization has become an impactful issue for those kind of projects.

Anaxi also computes the number of lines of code added and removed, the code churn and the effort in refactoring for the past week, per project, per user or per group of users. This helps users understand their team’s work pattern, as well as how much goes to pay down technical debt, which is an important metric to grasp in the enterprise world.

The missing high-level view of your multiple projects

One of the common issues GitHub and Jira users face is the difficulty in managing several projects at a time. Anaxi solves this problem by enabling users to add several projects and to organize their filters / metrics — what they call “reports” — into folders. Both reports and folders have configurable color indicators according to the state of the current situation — for example, red being alarming. Users can get a high-level view of the state of their projects at a glance.

The mobile app you needed

Developers have been looking for a GitHub mobile app for a long time. Anaxi comes with an iPhone app that allows you to access your reports and folders, and manage your issues and pull requests. The Android app is still in development.

Data confidentiality

Anaxi founders understand the need for confidentiality around access to GitHub issues, so the Anaxi app is designed to work without connecting to any Anaxi servers. It connects directly to the users’ Github repositories and builds the reports from the app itself. All data remains secure and inaccessible, even from Anaxi itself.

Users can use Anaxi freely without asking their teammates to use it as well. Any action you perform on Anaxi is written back on GitHub, so you can manage both your GitHub issues and pull requests directly from Anaxi, while your teammates continue using whichever tool they prefer.

Anaxi targets both the enterprise and the open-source worlds. The company has announced that its service will remain free for open-source projects, its goal being to enable communities to better manage their open-source projects, in order to benefit the whole ecosystem. With this first version, Anaxi aims to help teams better manage their GitHub projects.

Before You Go…

Learned something? Don’t hesitate to share it to help others find it!

If you are interested in articles about engineering and product leadership, productivity and how to scale a team, subscribe to our newsletter!

Or join our Engineering Leadership Community.

You can also check out my latest articles:

You can also follow me on Twitter to stay connected. Thank you!

Originally published at anaxi.com on December 12, 2018.

More by John Lafleur

Topics of interest

More Related Stories