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I have a problem: in my team we are currently using bug tracker for project planning, issues backlog and exceptions. It doesn't scale well. We have about 2000 issues there and it's unwieldy to manage them. The problems are:

  • We have too many exceptions. Probably they should be handled in a special way
  • We have high level milestone features. There are a few of them and they are main focus of the work of the team
  • We have user feedback features which we aren't going to fix in the near future but which we don't want to loose. (These are project backlog).

On my previous project we had quite a different situation. There were about 20000 issues and it were too hard to work in bug tracker on them so we had a special google docs document for milestone features.

Which light weight project management tool(s) will solve these problems?

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First, it sounds like you need to cleanup that backlog. Here's a concise article on that http://blog.mountaingoatsoftware.com/a-new-artifact-the-long-term-product-backlog

Doesn't seem like you need a very lightweight solution (ie your bugtracker, spreadsheet, or basecamp). That being said. It seems like you need something that at least has the ability to separate items into tyeps (bug, exception, feature, etc). I would argue that you simply need to prioritize them - but categorizing may help that.

It may be un-stack of me to say, but here are a couple I would recommend.

I would recommend assembla (tickets feature), jira, or fogbuz. Assembla is the lightest of these. I would also recommend trello, and pivotal tracker though they are rather workflow based (new, in progress, ready to test, done) and you didn't mention that.

  • We have separation into kinds, we use a great tool which is called YouTrack and it allows to do that. We categorized using standard kinds and tags but everything is so unwieldy anyway. We have a product with 5 people which has about 2000 isues, i.e. about 200 issues per person which is hard to manage. – Konstantin Solomatov Mar 3 '12 at 16:34
  • I have taken a look at the article and it describes one of the problems which we have that is a large backlog. – Konstantin Solomatov Mar 3 '12 at 16:38
  • After trimming, or at least prioritizing, I would recommend implementing some sort of team based, timeboxed chunks of work (eg a scrum sprint). This will let the team tackle issues taking the pressure off individuals as well as breaking this unwieldy backlog up into manageable, attainable pieces. If you even say something like 10 issues per week and make that a goal for the team, that should help remove this feeling of being overwhelmed. – Jody Mar 3 '12 at 16:46
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I would take a browse through the pm-software tag as there are many great Q/A within that relate to this topic: https://pm.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/pm-software

However, more specifically to your question I have had great success in using JIRA / GreenHopper for managing Bugs / Releases / Milestones.

It's not exactly "light weight" but it would be worth a review.

  • I used to work with JIRA and now I use YouTrack which IMO is much better, but unfortunately it's very hard for me to do what I want with the tool due to the problem I described in the post. – Konstantin Solomatov Mar 3 '12 at 16:20
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2000 issues for 5 persons (which means 400 bugs per person) to be fixed in the current project/release seems a big number either way you look at it. To me it seems more a process rather than a tools issue. A tool supports and optimizes your process, but cannot fix an inherently unoptimized or broken process. The best you can do is to have a tool that filters, searches and prioritizes the bugs decently so any team member can have effective visibility into what is in their backlog.

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