Overall Satisfaction with Pivotal Tracker
Pivotal tracker was used to manage our agile sprints. Our sprints were of 1 week duration. All the stories for that sprint were estimated and were put in the "Current" queue. In addition to this, we also maintained a "Backlog" which had all the stories that had not been prioritized yet. All the new feature requests had the label "Feature" and smaller tasks like re-imaging a server were marked as "Chore". Developers started a story by clicking "Start". When they were done with the changes for a story, they clicked "Finish" and it changed to "Accept/Reject". The story was then tested by the QA team. Bugs found during testing were entered separately into pivotal tracker. Typically, we included steps to reproduce the issue and attached screenshots if applicable. We used the "Bug" story type to mark bugs. Pivotal tracker allowed the entire team consisting of product managers, developers, testers and others like marketing to collaborate on new feature requests. Questions were posted in the comments section and answers were also provided there. It made collaboration easy. As a QA, by checking which stories had "Accept/Reject", it was easy to see which stories needed QA. Overall, a great tool for Agile software development teams!
- Easy to move a story to the appropriate person/team. The Accept/Reject was a nice feature which made it really easy to indicate the outcome of QA. When a story was "Rejected", it automatically moved to "Restart" and was picked up by the developers.
- Collaboration was easy. Product managers could post screenshots of specs in a story. QA could post screenshots of issues that were found. The comments section was easy to read and made collaboration easy.
- The ability to add Milestones was nice. We used this feature to track major milestones. We created a milestone and moved all stories to achieve to milestone before that and gave a date to the milestone. This made it easy to track milestones and made sure we were on track.
- Search feature could be improved. Right now it's hard to find an old story that was completed. The search could have more options like label, milestone, date range etc., to locate old stories.
- Brainstorming board or white board - most of the stories involve a lot of brainstorming. It would be nice to have a whiteboard where the team could brainstorm ideas and include it in the story. Right now, the team brainstorms ideas on a whiteboard, takes a picture of it and includes it in the story and sometimes people forget to do this.
- Ability to link a story to a CI build like Jenkins. In most software development teams, a story cannot be marked complete until a CI build has passed for those changes. It would be nice to integrate Pivotal with Jenkins so that a failed build will show up in Pivotal and could even change the status of the story to an appropriate status.
- Improved collaboration. Pivotal tracker serves as a single place where all discussion for that feature can happen.
- Hand-off was easy between teams. Dev to QA and vice versa. No time is wasted for someone to actually inform that the story is ready for QA.
- Has generally helped us stick to timelines and have a clear idea of what stories needed to be completed to achieve a milestone.
I have also used JIRA. I found Pivotal Tracker easy to use and it provided a quick snapshot of all that was happening in a particular project like what was being worked on, backlog etc. The status appearing right next to the story is a very nice feature. The ability to set milestones and track them was nice. I found these features were either missing or not very user friendly in JIRA.