I've recently become responsible for choosing which source control and project management software to use for a company that employs me.

Currently it uses Jira (project management) and Subversion (version control).

I know there are many other options out there -- the ones I know about are all in this article http://mashable.com/2010/07/14/distributed-developer-teams/ .

I'm leaning towards recommending they just stay with what they have as it seems workable and any change would have to be worth the cost of switching to say github/basecamp or some other solution.

Some details on the team:

  • It's a distributed development shop. Meetings of the whole team in one room are rare.
  • It's currently a very small development team (three developers).
  • The project management software is used by developers and a product manager or two.

What are you experiences with version control and project management web applications? Are there any you would recommend and you think are worth the switching cost of time to learn new services / implementing the change?

Edit: After educating myself further on the options it appears DVCS offer powerful benefits that may be worth investing in now as opposed to later in the company's lifetime when the switching cost is higher: I'm a Subversion geek, why should I consider or not consider Mercurial or Git or any other DVCS?

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    Not an answer, but DVCS vs. VCS is a no-brainer. See hginit.com/00.html or just try it out yourself for a few months. This is even true in a 1-developer team. – Dan Rosenstark Jan 10 '11 at 1:04

As you stated, switching earlier is far easier then switching late.

Raise the benefits with the team and if they agree, start working on putting it in place now.

EDIT: Just to attend to your project management section of the question, we actually use JIRA with one of our vendors and have found it extremely useful (Sorry Mr Spolsky, I haven't been able to use FogBugz yet). I've also used Redmine, but found the experience in JIRA more complete.

  • Thanks Dan, I'm assuming you have positive experiences using a DVCS as opposed to an old VCS? – Macy Abbey Jan 10 '11 at 0:50
  • @Macy: The place I worked didn't have source control, despite millions of LoC. 3 years ago I started trying to convince management to use SVN. Only now have I managed to get through the politics to get it implemented for some of our systems. As it is, SVN has issues that would not exist if we use a DVCS. I speak from the other side of the coin: Do it earlier. I have to ensure SVN gets implemented completely now before anything else, else they risk spending another 3+ years with ANY version control on major code bases here. – Dan McGrath Jan 10 '11 at 1:15

Git and SVN actually play rather nicely with each other these days, so you could get the team to trial using Git with the SVN tie-in. This is possibly true of other DVCS systems as well. DVCS source control systems are recommended for distributed teams but for me it's not a deal-breaker, especially for a project with so few developers.

JIRA IMO just rocks - I've yet to see another product that out performs it to a point where I'd take the pain of shifting.


I switched a few projects over to Assembla a few years ago. The first few months were a bit slow as everyone adjusted to the transition, but in the end it was worth it. My team was resistant at first, but once everyone got into the habit, we were much more productive.

Granted, this took a few months, but I think it's been worth it. Assembla has a lot of useful tools; their bug tracking tool is by far the simplest yet effective one to use that I've seen.

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