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Program or Project Managers in the federal space are likely well-versed in the use of Jira, a tool used for tracking and managing project tasks. Jira is to PMs as GitHub Projects is to developers. Many developers prefer to live and work in GitHub due to direct access to code. In this post we explore how GitHub Projects can be used like Jira and why a switch may be beneficial for your team.

Understanding what Jira and GitHub are

Jira is a comprehensive project management tool that allows you to create tasks, assign them to team members, track progress, and generate reports. It can be used for a wide range of project types due to its highly customizable features.

GitHub’s Projects is a lightweight project management tool designed specifically for software development. It’s integration with GitHub repositories allows developers to easily track issues and pull requests.

How can you make GitHub Projects work like Jira

Like functionality in Jira, GitHub Projects allows users to:

  1. Set up columns: GitHub Projects is based on a Kanban board approach where tasks are organized into columns that represent various stages of the project. Users can set up columns to represent the same stages as Jira workflows. For example, you might have columns for “To Do”, “In Progress”, “In Review”, and “Done”.

  2. Create issues: Users can create issues in GitHub Projects to represent tasks or bugs. Users can add labels to issues to help categorize them and assign them to team members. GitHub’s @mention feature can be used to tag team members or other stakeholders in comments.

  3. Use milestones: Milestones in GitHub Projects can be used to track progress towards larger project goals. They can be used to group related issues or to mark important project milestones. Users can set due dates for milestones to help keep the team on track.

Why you should consider using GitHub

While Jira offers more features and flexibility, GitHub’s Projects feature has some advantages that make it a compelling alternative.

  1. Use of automation: GitHub Projects has a powerful automation feature that can help streamline workflows. Actions allows developers to automate many of the repetitive tasks required during the development process such as running tests, building packages, and deploying code. Users can create rules that automatically move issues from one column to another based on certain criteria. They can also create alerts that notify team members when issues are created or updated.
  2. Accessibility: Many users find GitHub to be easier to understand and use. Developers can easily access the tool and quickly create and track issues directly from their code repositories.[AB1] [MB2] Codespaces provides a cloud-based development environment that can be accessed from anywhere, making it easy for teams to collaborate and share code. Additionally, teams do not need development machines as any coding can be done in real time on a web browser environment for ease of setup and getting up and running.
  3. Traceability: With a simple, visual interface, GitHub Projects makes it easy to see what tasks are being worked on and who is responsible for them. Developer actions are tied to ticketing outcomes via an intuitive process.
  4. Risk Management: Dependabot gives developers the ability to automatically check for security vulnerabilities in dependencies and create pull requests to fix them, reducing the risk of errors and saving the government valuable resources.

At zCore Group, we strive to improve the software development processes of federal agencies. One of the ways we accomplish this is by empowering federal workers to become more efficient with tools. zCG works with our clients to identify opportunities for improvement, streamline workflows, and create a more efficient software development process. Our passion for software development and our experience working with government agencies uniquely positions us to help our clients achieve their software development objectives whether it’s utilizing development tools like Jira, GitHub, or others. Learn more about how we can help your agency improve its project management practices.

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