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Robert Rees
Robert Rees

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Using Shortcut as a project management tool

I recently had the chance to work with a group that were using the Shortcut project management tool which I hadn't used before.

I came away with a positive impression, as the tool combines the flexibility of Trello with some of the reporting features you get with Jira but without the nightmare complexity of configuration.

The basic structure of the tool is pretty much the same as Trello, you have columns and cards and the cards can be organised into a hierarchy of epics and stories and assigned to teams, tagged and so on.

Work moves across the board in a Kanban-style with automatic tracking as the card progresses through the stages. It's possible to integrate with things like Github but its not that sophisticated so a Story is assumed to equate to a single PR by default for example. Although I haven't tried to do anything with it there is an API that you can use to integrate with existing CI/CD pipelines.

The features that make Shortcut stand out over Trello is that all boards exist within the same projects so multiple views into the work can be consolidated in "Roadmap" and planning views that actually provide a handy overview of overall progress and across multiple streams of work.

The reporting may be slightly fixed in its format but it's actually enough to be actionable and compared to trying decode what people have setup in Jira it is a bit of a dream to have an opinionated standard setup.

Building a product backlog is less elegant, you can pile every idea into a card and have a work process to move an idea into a state where it is ready to icebox or work on. I didn't use this area enough to really get a handle on it but it felt that something was lacking here, like a more dedicated review and collaboration screen.

Overall though Shortcut brings everything that is good about lightweight management tools with a richer feature set and less Atlassian cruft.

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