GitHub is apparently looking to switch things up a bit, if the forthcoming work organisation features it recently presented as a beta to developers are anything to go by.
Probably aiming towards more complex projects that tend to be a bit hard to coordinate with just a kanban board, the most highlighted new addition is project tables. Compared to boards, tables are styled like spreadsheets and allow teams to sort and group issues and pull requests in a way that best fits their needs.
They also provide ways to incorporate responsibilities, status, assignees and other information associated with an issue into the display, which can surely help to stay on top of a project. Once brought into a suitable form, views can apparently be saved, and since several tables and boards at once are allowed, teams can come up with different views for different use-cases (keeping a backlog in one, while planning a future release in another, for instance).
To turn issues into more of a process planning tool, the beta allows them to be split up into several tasks whose status can be tracked via newly added progress indicators. Issues can also be extended with custom fields to better keep track of internal markers such as priorities or dates, while tasks can be turned into issues if needed.
GitHub also promises keyboard shortcuts or commands for all actions possible with the mouse, so you don’t have to rely on clicking for filtering operations or assignments and there are more options for automation along the line.
Those not too excited by the changes might feel more satisfied by a later update, as the feature web site promises that a new project timeline — as a third displaying option besides tables and boards — is “coming soon”. The FAQ section also puts bulk operations in project tables, better support for draft issues, and the ability to create new projects at user and repo level on a tentative roadmap.
The forthcoming features are planned to become available to users on all tiers, including the free one, at no additional cost. Teams interested in the beta can sign up to the program now.
Once activated, the new views can apparently be found on the project page alongside the classic kanban display. They will coexist through the summer, with classic projects automatically updating to leverage the new features prior to general availability. Migration tools are currently not available.