I have been a huge fan of project management with GitHub issues since about 2013. There are two things that make it really appealing to me: The proximity to the code and the overwhelming simplicity that forced you to stay honest when you set up your process. Of course, the lack of a Kanban board and the flat hierarchy were quite the limitations but there were always some plugins available to overcome them.
Naturally, I was thrilled to see the new Projects announcement! Since I couldn’t try it out at work yet with our Enterprise version, I subscribed to the Beta version on github.com and created a playground repository to try it out.
The Board view
The Board view is pretty much the same as the one in the existing projects. There are things that are more mature in the Beta version like the ability to display or hide information such as labels or milestones. There are also things missing such as the issues preview or the possibility to have the Board full screen. But all and all the experience is familiar to what is available today.
The Table view
The big revelation of course is the Table view. As I see it, it provides two major new features. The first one is the ability to add meta-data to your issues such as descriptive text or dates. This provides much more project context to the issues and it makes it easier to track. The second one is the ability to easily group and sort issues in ways that it was much harder, if not impossible to do before.
As it is still in Beta, this is not yet a well-polished tool. But there is a very active Discussion board were feedback is collected and concerns are addressed, so from a functionality and user experience perspective it will probably only get better in the future. In general, I think Projects has the potential to replace many project management tools that are currently available. My only wish is that new features stay away from supporting some popular project management pathogenies but rather stay focused on helping development teams with their day-to-day work.
From my side, I look very much forward of using it productively!