ZenHub adds advanced multi-repository boards into GitHub. Inspired by kanban boards – a flow-oriented approach to development – ZenHub's boards present a simple yet incredibly robust picture of your software projects.
Think of task boards as rich information broadcasters about your entire software organization. They allow you to track GitHub issues and pull requests end-to-end through the release cycle.
Instead of tickets or sticky notes, ZenHub's Boards are made up of your existing GitHub data: issues and pull requests. Let's look at the anatomy of a ZenHub Board:
The ZenHub Board can be described as an ‘information radiator’, but more than that, it provides a compelling point of focus for teams to answer important questions: “What are our current priorities?”, “What are our highest priority issues?”, “Do we have any blockers? Are we on target?”
A great task board provides immediate visual cues and feedback to these questions. By keeping all priorities organized with GitHub Issues and the ZenHub Board, teams get an immediate visual representation of every project’s status.
When you create a ZenHub board, each “card” on the Board represents a GitHub issue. Each card sits within a column, or Board pipeline. Issues can be dragged-and-dropped between pipelines as they get worked on. This movement represents how tasks and stories get completed within your workflow.
ZenHub makes it very easy to change the layout so as issues move throughout your workflow, where they sit within your workflow can also be visualized on the Board.
ZenHub Boards come with six default pipelines to start with: New Issues, Backlog, To-Do, In Progress, Done, and Closed. It's a standard kanban-like setup that suits most projects, but can also be customized to suit more unique workflows.
Regardless of how you customize a board, GitHub issues and PRs should move left to right as they get closer to completion. But it's not only the job of a project manager: in a high-functioning team, everybody participates by dragging issues as they progress through the development cycle. The key to making it possible is a well-organized board.
Here's a quick overview of what each default pipeline means.
A well-organized task board can help you uncover bottlenecks faster and provide more information for other stakeholders on the team. While the default board structure is a great starting point for any project, you should consider customizing it to suit your workflow.
When thinking about how to customize your task boards, take an audit of your team's workflow. Look at your boards and ask yourself these questions.
Multi-Action eliminates the onerous process of performing certain actions over and over again. Selecting multiple issues on the Board will trigger the Multi-Action action bar allowing you to get to a functional Board quicker.
You can select multiple issues in two ways. First, you can simply click a profile picture to select the first issue:
Once your first issue is selected, you can continue highlighting additional issues by clicking on them. Once you've selected all relevant issues, find the bulk action you want to perform at the top of your task board:
You'll notice that the issues remain selected so that you can make additional updates if needed. Click either “Done”, “clear all” at the top-left corner of your board, or unselect all of the issues by clicking on them again to exit selection mode completely.
This is also a handy way to start organizing your work and standardizing your workflow. You can update labels, assignees, milestones, Epics, and make movements between pipelines to issues and pull requests at once.
Bonus tip! If you're viewing a board that contains multiple repos and you apply labels or milestones to a group of issues, ZenHub will attempt to create those labels or milestones in repos where they didn't previously exist.
If you're seeking a GitHub issue tracker, Boards can be one of your most powerful tools – but they're only as useful as you make them.
A product backlog represents feedback from multiple sources, like other developers, sales, business development, but most importantly, your users. It's your job to take in that feedback, prioritize it, manage it, and work it into the future of your product.
Without a process, your Boards can become clogged with inactionable feedback and a lack of focus. In contrast, a well-managed backlog leads to a more efficient and focused team. The result is a better product, and one that your customers actually want to buy.
Here's our recommended sprint-based workflow that can help bring clarity to your product.
Note: “Product owner” refers to whoever makes the ultimate call as to what is built and when. Typically, it's a project or product manager.