We needed very good project management tools for managing and facilitating the development process. Also, for this review keep in mind that we take into account our budget which is very low.
It came down to 4 products for the review: ThoughtWorks Mingle, Version One, Rally, and Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition.
References used to research and learn
Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition
Readers understand the need for project management tools in the complex projects.
About the review
We installed and spent few days trying out the products on our dedicated Windows 2003 server hosted at 1&1 hosting - Enterprise I server.
This was our requirements for choosing a right product for our needs:
1) Must have web access.
2) Must link to source controls.
4) Easy to use.
5) Be able to manage multiple products (small and big) from multiple clients.
0) Saas vs On Site installation
Rally and VersionOne are very similar products in that they offer SaaS or software installed on site. Our strong preference is on on site installation so we can control everything about the product so SaaS model was not so appealing to us. Also, it was cool factor to have use our own sub domain New Age Solution Project Server and made much more sense when dealing with our customers.
1) Must have web access
All products offered some kind of web access. VersionOne lacked 64 bit support which forced our server to convert to 32 bit IIS 6. Not an ideal since we wanted to take advantage of 64 bit server's IIS. Mingle also ran as 32 bit process and we hope in future ThoughtWorks will release 64 bit. Mingle was somewhat slow in performance than other products.
2) Must link to source controls
They all linked to SVN which I prefered. For TFS it used Microsoft SQL server. We had some problem of all the sources being saved into SQL server. We prefered SVN which can be hosted else where with minimal server requirements not worrying about the database.
All the products offered up to 5 users free or first year free and free is good :)
For Rally and VersionOne free versions had some functional limitation. For Mingle and TFS there were no limitation in function which made it very useful. As far as price went TFS was just way too expensive to use in small business. Microsoft partner program can help save some money but TFS could get very expensive over time. Rally, VersionOne, and Mingle are very affordable and does not require Visual Stuido Team edition.
4) Easy to use
This is where we have to say Mingle shines compare to other products. We have to say it was easy and customizable for our purpose. Only thing about Mingle is that it is slow. May be when it is released as 64 bit and ThoughtWorks optimized the app for next release Mingle might speed up.
5) Be able to manage multiple products (small and big) from multiple clients
Only Mingle and TFS offered this feature for free version. TFS has seemless integration to Visual Studio to checkout based on work item and be able to track work. With Mingle it can be done using SVN where during the commit process of SVN check in with specific comment which then Mingle will read the specifically formatted comment. It is just matter of training the developers.
We choose Mingle: see New Age Solution Project Server because of following things after going through our review criteria:
1) Web based so it can be accessed from any where.
2) Free up to 5 users fully functional.
3) Supports multiple projects for multiple clients. This is must feature we need since we have various clients constantly requesting features, fixes, or updates. We need a way to delegate this to developers. We can customize Mingle for this specific purpose very easily.
4) Easy to use. It took 30 minutes to install and setup and a day of playing around to understand Mingle's potential. It took another day of playing to make it work for complex project.
5) There is potential to hook into JIRA, BugZilla, CruiseControl or any other ThoughtWorks products.