As a software development team, one needs a good project management tool to keep track of their projects, issues, new feature requests, and bugs. We don’t have a big software development team here at Beebom, but we do have our own app and website, both of which are managed by our in-house team of developers. Even a team as small as ours (5 members) needs a good tool to keep the tasks on track and make sure that the members know their assigned duties. Of course, it can be done using the usual channels of communication like emails and messages, but that’s not an optimal solution. Hence, we are always on the lookout for a service which can complement the workflows of our developers and provide them with the necessary tools to get things done in a fast and efficient way. If the problem which I just described resonates with you too, I have a solution which you might want to look at. The solution I am talking about is an online project management and bug tracking tool called Backlog.
Backlog is an online project management tool which has been created while keeping the needs of developers in mind. It provides necessary tools to keep tracks of ongoing projects, reported bugs, new feature requests, and more. In this article, we are going to take a deep dive and figure out if this can be the solution we are looking for. So, let’s get into the details of the software, shall we?
As always, we will start with the key features of the software which should give you an overall idea of what the software can do for you.
We will first start with different categories of users that can be created with Backlog. Like most of the project management software, Backlog provides members multiple levels of permissions depending on the user category they fall in. A member can either be a Space Owner, an Administrator, or a User. Now, these are backlog’s terminologies, so let me explain them in a little detail here. A Space Owner is basically the owner of the main Backlog account and has the overall control. For example, he can change the universal settings of the account, create new projects, manage members and their permissions, and so on.
An Administrator is just below Space Owner and has more or less the same functions as Space Owner like managing projects, assigning members, creating issues and so on. However, he cannot change the universal account settings. Think of an administrator as a project manager and you will get the idea. Lastly, there’s Users, which are the members of your development team which can be assigned to different projects. They can comment on issues, log their progress, create Issues, check project status, and more. So, as you can see Backlog provides you with a hierarchal structure where everybody can be assigned permissions based on their work profile.
Backlog provides you with four main functions which are Project Management, Task Management, Bug Tracking, and Version Control. All the other tools are housed under these four main tools. We will start first with the Project Management.
Backlog is a very good project management tool as it provides a single place for all your project related needs. You can create new projects, assign members, assign due-dates, converse with the members, give and take feedback, visualize the the project timeline using Gantt charts, visualize progress with burn down charts, track overall progress, and stay updated anywhere with Backlog’s mobile apps for Android and iOS. As you can see, Backlog provides with all the tools you will ever need to create and manage a project, all in a single place.
However, a project management software is worth nothing if it can’t give you a good way to manage tasks. Thankfully, Backlog nails this feature. First, you get a clear view of all your due tasks at a single place on your dashboard. You can also assign and view priority attached to all the tasks. However, my favorite task management feature of Backlog is the ability to assign members to a task which also notifies the members. This helps in clearly defining each team member’s responsibility so there’s no confusion.
I also like the task status buttons which inform you about the status of every task at a glance. There are four different status types; Open, In Progress, Resolved and Closed. The best part is that all of them are color coded hence you don’t even have to read to know the status of a task. The color coding also helps in viewing the status in Gantt chart mode. Basically, Backlog takes care of all your task management needs without hampering the team’s workflow.
Bug discovery, tracking, and resolving is one of the most important parts of software development and I am happy to report that Backlog brings a ton of tools to handle this work. Backlog allows you to report, organize, discuss, and track bugs, all in place. Since Bugs at the end of the day come under Tasks, you get all the features that I mentioned above along with some extra features. The extra features include a comprehensive search to find duplicate bugs, the ability to view change-log history, custom fields to match the workflow, and more.
One thing which makes Backlog different from any other project management software and especially good for developers is the feature which they call Version Control. The feature allows you to keep track of all the code changes, commits, and pull-request. It does that by directly integrating with Git and SVN thereby allowing you to easily manage source code next to your projects. It also lets developers compare changes between branches and help them get an overview of the changes that can be merged.
One of the best features of this tool is that it supports inline discussion in the code. Developers can review the changes and comment right there to make it easier for the other team members to implement change requests. Other features include keeping track of commits, documenting project details, and more.
Backlog’s user interface is very modern and intuitive. You will get used to the interface within a few hours, and start using it like a pro in a day or two. All the buttons are easily accessible and you don’t have to really look for anything. That said, there are many advanced settings which a user can utilize to make their workflow faster if they want to.
The UI is divided into a few main areas, each with its own set of controls. First, there’s the Dashboard, which basically gives you an overview of all the projects and issues which are either assigned to your or created by you. There’s also a Recent Updates section on the Dashboard which shows all the recent comments and changes that has happened inside the projects or Issues you are a part of.
On the Dashboard, you can click on the name of any project to see its details. The Home page inside any project will show you all the recent updates. You can click on the Issues page to see all the issues which have been created inside the project. Just to clarify, an Issue is any task you create inside a project. It can be a bug, a feature request, a task and so on. Coming back to the Issues page, I like the fact that most of the details you need about an Issue can be seen here including the Issue name, date of creation, due date, its status, and more. However, If you need more information about any Issue, you can always click on it.
Then there’s the “Add Issue” button using which you can create an Issue of you own and add members to it. Backlog gives a lot of contol while creating an Issue. You can create an Issue either under a project, or under another Issue itself. Then you can assign members, set priority and milestones, add due-dates, and more.
I would also like to give a special mention to Gantt and burn down charts features of Backlog. The software basically allows you to just hit a button and see a timeline of all your projects and task statuses in a form of Gantt chart. Basically, you can use the Gantt and burn down view to see if your project is on time or not.
To conclude, when it comes to the UI of the software, Backlog has knocked the ball out of the park . The UI feels modern, intuitive and is easy to get the hang of. I also like the fact that the main areas and controls are same for every user and don’t depend on their user category. Whether you are a Space Owner, Administrator, or a User, you all get the same user interface. The extra features that come with the higher level of permissions provided to Administrators and Space Owners are integrated by adding extra buttons on the same user interface. So, if you learn it once, you won’t have to do it again from scratch even if your user hierarchy is upgraded.
Ease Of Use
I personally found this software really easy to use and so did our development team. According to them, the software is very well made and easy to get used to. All of the things that I mentioned in the user interface section is me paraphrasing their findings, and their bottom line was that the software did help them a lot in streamlining their workflow. Speaking from my time of using this software and their feedback, I can surely say that Backlog is a powerful yet easy to learn software.
However, I did find difficulties getting the notifications to work. Apparently, notifications are sent when an issue or comment is added and when you add members to “notify comment to” field. It’s not a big deal really. Apart from this minor niggle, I can say that Backlog is one great for project management, bug tracking and task management. The extensive options and integrations, along with the beautiful UI make Backlog a must try.
Pricing and Availability
Being a web-app, Backlog is available for all the desktop platforms including Windows, Mac, and Linux. They also provide free Android and iOS apps to keep track of your projects on the go. There are multiple pricing plans available for teams depending on their size. The pricing starts at $20/month for 30 users and 5 projects. You can always upgrade if you have a larger team or want to create more projects. There’s also a free forever plan for small teams which lets you create 1 project with up to 10 members. All of their plans come with a 1-month free trial period, so you can use the software extensively before you plant to buy it.
- Project Management software focusing on developers
- Bug tracking and task management
- Extensive options while creating a task/Issue
- Gantt and burn down chart integration
- Beautiful, modern, and intuitive UI
- Git and SVN integration
- Inline Comments
- Native notification options difficult to find
Manage Your Development Projects With Backlog
Backlog is one of the few project management tools which solely focuses on developers. It has a modern and beautiful UI with features which will fulfill the needs of any small or large team. But, I don’t want you to take my or rather our developer team’s words at face value. The software provides a completely free 1-month free trial, so use it, and then share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Try our Backlog here