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August 2016
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Lighthouse for issue tracking and project management

Jamie Orchard-Hays recently turned me onto using Lighthouse for issue tracking and project management. I’ve been trying to get into the issue-tracking habit for some time, and it is starting to stick. If you can do it consistently, and if you can get everyone else on your project doing it, it makes life so much easier. Unfortunately, sometimes setting up and running a system like Jira or Trac is so much overhead that I haven’t wanted to go to the trouble, especially for freelance jobs, where I don’t want to end up in the position of permanently being expected to maintain such a system.

This is where lighthouse shines. Because it is all online and maintained by someone else, you have no system administration work to do. The interface is easy to use and friendly. As much as I love Jira, it can be scary to new users, as can Trac, but the lighthouse folks have put a lot of thought into making their system attractive and approachable. It also scales well — you can set up a very simple project for free, a slightly more complex one for $10 / month, and you can upgrade or downgrade your account incrementally as needed. Their top level account seems like it would be adequate even for a large organization with many projects.

I can also attest that their staff and tech support are excellent. When I encountered a problem, I got a fast response, even though it was Friday night and most of their programmers were away at RubyConf. One of the developers found a wifi connection and fixed my problem right away, from the conference. I was impressed.

I’m really pleased with lighthouse, and I would recommend it to anyone. If you’re managing a software project and you don’t want to scale up to Jira, give lighthouse a try.

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