Agile tools for Mantis Bug Tracker

Mantis BT is a popular bug tracking system. It may not have a flashy user interface when compared to other bug tracking systems like JIRA but it is intuitive, simple to use, easy to install (it’s written in PHP and is often present in one-click installers like softaculous), free (as in beer and as in software) and open source, and gets the job done.

Mantis BT has been extended with plugins allowing to implement an agile workflow. Here I’m going to review three of these plugins. I’m not going into details with the installation as each plugin is fairly well documented.

Scrum Board: https://github.com/mantisbt-plugins/scrum

Scrum Board does what it’s written on the tin: it provides a simple board based on Mantis fields like status and category. Here is a screenshot:

Scrum BoardThe columns in the board are based on Mantis statuses (new, assigned, resolved) and you can filter the scrum board by project, target version, and categories. It’s a no-nonsense, no-frills board but you don’t get much more than that.

Verdict

+ Good if all you need is a scrum board

–  It’s just a board, no other agile tools included

 

agileMantis: http://www.gadiv.de/de/opensource/agilemantis/agilemantisen.html

This is probably the most comprehensive set of agile tools for Mantis. It supports scrum roles, sprints, backlogs, user stories, estimates, capacity, and all that agile jazz. The expert components provide additional graphical components such as taskboards, burndown and velocity charts, statistics, etc. and they are integrated in the familiar Mantis user interface. It takes a little bit of a learning curve to learn agileMantis especially if you’re not used to agile but the documentation is well written with examples and tutorial to set everything up.

While the basic installation is free and open source, the expert components are not free and the license is also quite expensive: according to their license calculator, 5 users for 12 months cost 508.37 euros – frankly, you’d be better off buying a self-hosted JIRA Agile license for 10 users for 20 US dollars.

There is a demo you can try out at http://agilemantis.sourceforge.net/login_page.php and here are some screenshots from their website and documentation:

agileMantis Taskboard

agileMantis Product Backlog

agileMantis Burndown Chart

agileMantis Velocity ChartagileMantis Developer Capacity

Verdict

+ The most complete agile tool for Mantis

+ Good documentation

– The expert components are expensive

 

Mantis Kanban: https://github.com/cgaspard/mantiskanban

This is an interesting project that aims to bring Kanban to Mantis whilst modernising the Mantis user interface. It makes use of mantisconnect in order to connect to an existing Mantis installation and adds JavaScript and AJAX to provide a flashier interaction with the taskboard and a more modern look and feel.

The documentation is a little bit minimal but it’s not too complicated to get it work once you connect to the Mantis installation (you should set up the connection to something like http:///hostname.com/subfolder/api/soap/mantisconnect.php). If you have a small screen, bear in mind that you have to reduce the font size otherwise you won’t see all the functionalities.

Despite its name, Mantis Kanban can be configured for both scrum and kanban. However, all you get is a nice taskboard and a flashier interface as Mantis Kanban does not provide agile tools like burndown and velocity charts, statistics and the like.

You can try the demo at http://mantiskanban.com/mantisbt/mantiskanban and here are some screenshots from their website:

Mantis Kanban Taskboard

Mantis Kanban User Story

Verdict

+ Nice user interface
+ Configurable for both scrum and kanban
– Not as complete as agileMantis (no burdown and velocity charts, no statistics)

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