Replacing Waffle.io with GitHub Project Boards

Website development project management

It’s rarely easy to replace a piece of your daily process, whether it be an action or a tool that has become ingrained in your day-to-day workflow. That’s why when Waffle.io announced they were closing up shop we decided to think carefully about what our replacement project management tool should be able to handle.

Bluehouse Group started using Waffle.io as a basic Kanban Board to manage our Github issues for website and web application development projects. We were linking multiple repositories into a single board and using it to manage multiple client projects over the course of their full lifecycle. Its primary objective was to operate as a visual aid to our development workflow.

 Waffle.io Shutting Down

Sadly, with their announcement to shut down the platform, we began identifying what could work as a replacement.

Waffle.io Alternatives - GitHub Project Boards

Waffle’s migration option to GitHub Project Boards made it our most likely alternative with a quick turnaround. They worked with GitHub to provide a solution that converts all Waffle boards to Project boards and it also has many of the basic features that we’re looking for in a Kanban style project organizer.

Project boards contain issues, pull requests, and notes that are organized in a similar customizable Kanban card and column style as Waffle. It uses a flexible drag-and-drop system to reorder cards within columns, cards between columns, and column order. Project board cards display issue metadata, labels, assignees, status, and who opened it. 

Github Project Boards

The downside was that the GitHub Boards UI was missing a handful of functional specs to fit our needs. These include:

  • The intermediary summary view makes getting to the issue details a two-click process, slowing and complicating scrum meetings.
  • Lack of ability to create a new issue directly from the board interface.
  • Past a certain column limit, they began to flow off the screen to the right so that the whole board can’t be seen at a glance. This makes dragging issues to other columns difficult.
  • The ‘Add Column’ button takes up a whole column width on the right. 
  • These combined problems didn’t make our scrum process feel agile.

Enhancing GitHub Project Boards

Our long-term solution was to develop a simple yet effective GitHub Board Chrome Extension to provide UI enhancements that make our workflow frictionless. Our new extension offers these changes:

  • Columns are now responsive and will not overflow off the screen.
  • The ‘Add Column’ button is moved up to the controls row, maximizing column space in the board layout.
  • There is a new ‘Issue’ button added to the controls.
  • For organization level project boards this includes a dropdown to choose which connected repository to create the issue from. This is necessary for keeping track of multiple projects or clients in one location.
  • Clicking an issue title will open the issue in a new window instead of showing summary view.

GitHub Kanban Boards

If you’re interested in exploring this GitHub UI extension it's free and we’ve made it public on the Chrome Web Store here.