Moving to Linear for project management
For any team to meet their deadlines and stay on track a good project management tool is crucial. This is especially true if you work on multiple projects at the same time. One of Yummygum's core values is "Excellence". To radiate this value both internally and to the outside world, using the right project management tool is more important than one might think.
Just like how we moved from Atlassian tools to Github Projects for development project managent we made a similar move for our design project management. At the end of 2021 we stopped using Jira for design project management and moved to Linear. We'd love to tell you why we switched and how we currently manage our projects with Linear.
Why we switched to Linear
As we started working on increasingly more projects we ran into increasingly more pain points within JIRA. So many steps had to be followed to set up a project, the loading time of the tool was far from great and it felt like we used only half of JIRA's features.
We’ve researched different project management tools and tried them out with a small group and wrote down the pros and cons and discussed them with each other. In the end we came to the conclusion that Linear is the best fit for Yummygum in (almost) every way, for project managers as well as our designers.
A few pros of Linear that we’re still happy with every day:
Overall everything works blazing fast (both in the browser and desktop app);
You can create and use templates for issues;
Setting up a project is done in a few clicks.
How we manage projects in Linear
To run projects as smoothly as possible we use several useful features in Linear such as labels, issue templates, project codes and more. Let me dive a little deeper into each of these awesome features.
To easily distinguish one issue from others we use labels. Some examples of labels we use at Yummygum are: research, wire, library, motion, write and review.
When we create issues in Linear we aim to avoid ambiguity at all costs. We need every single issue to be 100% clear to our designers. This means a clear title, but also a clear description. To make creating such an issue as simple as possible, we use Issue Templates. This imports a pre-defined text that already contains most of the relevant information for that specific issue. This means we only have to make a few small additions. It saves a lot of time (we love that!).
Vince, co-founder of Yummygum, has written a blog post on this very topic. As we already use project codes in apps like Slack and Figma, it's only natural to do the same in Linear. This way everyone knows where to find a project. And besides that it makes for a super clean Linear sidebar.
How our design team uses Linear
It’s very important for our designers that issues in Linear are ready as much as possible. By this we mean that an issue must contain a clear title and description, labels and the right status. This way we allow our designers to focus on the creative part instead of the logistics.
Because our team is getting bigger and bigger, there’s a chance that another designer will take on the same issue. To prevent another designer from not knowing what to do, we use comments Linear extensively. In a comment we define what has been done last and what still needs to be done, possibly supported with screenshots.
Filters & Views
A designer likes to focus on being creative. Being a Project Manager you want to stimulate this by taking as much work off someone's hands as possible when it comes to the logistics part.
A project often consists of many different issues, yet they're always part of a sprint; a time-boxed period. Linear call sprints 'cycles' and they can be set to last from one to eight weeks. To keep our design team focused only on what's relevant for them within the upcoming week (which is one cycle at Yummygum) we use a filter within Linear that only displays this weeks issues per project.
Needless to say great project management is about more than strictly the software you use. It's key to always try and optimize your project structure and workflow, like how use project codes for projects, for instance. But with our processes being fine tunes again and again, we can wholeheartedly say that with the switch to Linear we're completely set for the future!