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Mingle 1.0 Released: Reactions

by Geoffrey Wiseman on Jul 31, 2007 |
Mingle, agile project management software from ThoughtWorks Studios has been released.  It is available at no cost to communities, non-profit organizations, open-source projects or for commercial enterprise with five licenses or less.  For commercial use for the sixth and subsequent users, there is a subscription model on a per-user basis.  At the time of the project launch, the pricing model for each of these additional users was as follows:
  • three-month recurring subscription for $177 ($59 per month, $708 per year)
  • six-month recurring subscriptions are discounted 10% over the three-month price price, or $318.60 ($53.10 per month, $637.20 per year)
  • twelve-month recurring subscriptions are discounted 20%, or $566.40 ($47.20 per month, $566.40 per year)
Community reactions to the early access releases of Mingle have been mixed. 

Eleutian SpeakENG Development Blog's first impressions overview:
It's slick. It's flexible. It's... a little slow. ... That said, we're using it.
Silver Stripe Blog's reactions to a demo:
One of the things I expected was that the tool would be very agile specific. It turns out that because of the wa[y] properties can be defined, it’s a very generalised tool. I was talking to Mahesh Krshnan, the Project Manager for Mingle in Bangalore, and he was telling me how you can use it for tasks as varied as managing conference calls and bug tracking by creating appropriate custom properties. While this makes the tool very generalisable, it also means that its hard to take advantage of agile specific knowledge.
Kamal Fariz Mahyuddin on Accunote vs. Mingle:
My take on it: use Acunote to get you off the ground quickly but invest time in perfecting your ideal project management tool with Mingle's cards, transitions and MQL
On another front, Jordan of the Corkboard blog questions the use of JRuby:
What ThoughtWorks should have done is leverage their authority to make Ruby and Rails more accepted. Rather than wasting time with JRuby, which I feel has no long term value, they could have made the world’s greatest Rails deployment system.
For more information, read about Mingle's features and its use of JRuby, or visit the project's web page.

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Another Reaction - Negative by Geoffrey Wiseman

Re: Another Reaction - Negative by Wang Nelson

Strange that you would point to this blog as a reference. This guy sounds like a total mental case. All that ranting and raving because he couldn't install the software on Vista, which according to the instructions is not yet supported. RTFM...dude.

I found it a snap to install and a joy to use.

Unimpressed, but has potential - not really ready for prime time. by Nicholas Cancelliere

I have mixed feelings about Mingle. I am excited to see a tool that focuses on collaboration and customization. It doesn't force a particular world-view on you, like other tools can, and instead allows you to adapt the tool to your team (both in artifacts, vocabulary, workflow). The wiki is simply awesome, as are the comments that you can easily add to any card.

What I was unhappy with is the lack of features. There are no daily burndown charts (at best you can create a Mingle query to show burndown for the whole iteration - but you cannot review data in a historical context). Product backlogs cannot be implicitly prioritized - you have to use assigned values. The backlog / card filter has a lot to be desired. Parent/child relationships are vague and a nightmare to manage if you try to use them (because they offer no accordion/collapsable views in their lists - everything is all on the same level regardless of generation).

In short I feel the product has a lot of potential, and it's moving in the right direction, however my team voted to continue using VersionOne for now because of the lack of features. They felt that it was more work to manage their day-to-day in the tool than in V1 (both developers and product manager). Myself I couldn't see myself paying for this application until it offers a more complete solution for Scrum teams (including historical data, burndowns, and better backlog management).

The only other thing is it's a little slow ... not sure if JRuby is to blame for that.

(Note: I don't work for V1, and I've got real-world experience with teams using both RallyDev and VersionOne. I really am excited to see what Mingle looks like in 3-6 months, but right now it's not ready imho.)

Refreshing by Virgil Gunney

My organization evaluated VersionOne and Rally and found them to be nightmarish. VersionOne was slow and bloated with so many fields and screens that our teams of 15-20 people got lost in the sea of clicks and reloads. It also seemed to be based on some fictional version of agile; we do not track tasks in our organization, as they should be completed in hours. Unless it were only the project manager using this tool, I think the team would revolt within days. Perhaps if you have an organization of thousands and are used to managing using Primavera, this is what they call "agile". (As an aside, the fact that they also included a AUP template was fairly comical. If they build in CASE tools, the vision will be complete.)

In any case, we found V1 to be better than Rally, which seemed to be pretty half baked and far too structured to be used in a collaborative project environment.

Until now, we had settled on Trac only because it was the only thing that came close to our needs, however, we do not have a full time python hacker on staff, and keeping the installation tuned up is just not appetizing to us in the long term. It's ugly too.

We are really enjoying using Mingle so far. It does what we need, and we like the philosophy behind it. We also feel we can count on the fact that we will continue to see the product improve, as opposed to some of the others.

Despite the fact that there are not as many features in Mingle as some other tools, I actually find this to be a good thing. My team is interested in actually focusing on their project rather than how to use the software. Mingle is amazingly intuitive.

We love the filtering and saved views, but my personal favorite thing is the rich history detail with the ability to subscribe to absolutely any event in the project. Tres cool!

Re: Another Reaction - Negative by Geoffrey Wiseman

The tone is probably over the top, I agree, although I haven't tried to install it on Vista myself. Actually, reading it again, this review is probably not worthy of inclusion.

I had some installation issues with the Linux version, but those were rectified with improved instructions long before the final release. Personally, I think the /idea/ behind Mingle is interesting, and I'm looking forward to it gaining a few more features that I think will make it even more compelling.

I'm not sure I'd replace the tools I already use for issue tracking with Mingle at this point, but I don't think doing so would be a bad decision. I'm looking forward to hearing more about how people feel about the final release, and to see new versions.

But, then, this isn't really about my feelings, it's about yours, and I'm glad to see some of you adding your voices.

Re: Refreshing by Nicholas Cancelliere

Oh I agree with you that tools like V1 and RallyDev are bloated and slow. It's the reason I was excited about Mingle. I really do like the focus on collaboration and the philosophy behind Mingle - don't get me wrong.

I just think that it isn't ready, it was only in beta for 1 month. And to charge as much per license as VerionOne or RallyDev when a lot of features are lacking (see my above comment) I think is questionable. In any event I really like where it is going - but for our team it just isn't ready for us yet.

Re: Refreshing by Michael Dubakov

Mingle is a general tool. You may manage waterfall projects with it, you may track bugs with it and manage agile projects as well. But agile development has some fundamental ideas behind like burn down charts, iterations, points, iteration/release planning sessions, daily tracking via task boards. Good agile PM tool should support these common practices and be configurable for most different teams (not all, since this is too general). TargetProcess based on this idea: provide base agile practices support and great configurability (you may use very simple planning mode as well as complex for large teams).

Mingle evolved customization to extreme. It is a framework, not a usual tool. It is good and bad at the same time. There are many problems with generalization. It is too easy to lost context. For example, Iteration is Mingle is just a property of Card. It is not a separate entity. Nice. However iteration always has start and end date as well as velocity. As a result it is impossible to associate velocity with iteration in Mingle. The better approach is to allow users to create own entities. Then user may create Iteration entity with required properties, make association with user story and create custom reports, lists, etc. This conception is more viable than Mingle ’single entity’ approach (BTW, SalesForce has this feature for example). I am not sure whether Mingle will be a huge success, but I see many limitation is generalized approach…

Re: Refreshing by Nicholas Cancelliere

You make some good points here. It's the same way our team felt about it, and why we opted to stay where we are right now.

Cost Comparison - Does Mingle Cost More? by Nicholas Cancelliere

Another comment to bring up in this discussion -- the cost per license. Given that Mingle is not a hosted product - you're having to cough up the money for the server, diskspace, etc. VersionOne and RallyDev are cheaper if you consider you can use up as much diskspace as you want, get all the benefits of their datacenters, etc. That's another thing to consider.

I mean I really don't understand their pricing model. If you're hosting my app I can appreciate a per-user license, because you assume that each user will use X bandwidth, X diskspace, X CPU, etc. But I'm hosting it on my own machines, on my own network, etc. why would Mingle care how many users are using the software, other than greed? It doesn't cost them any more or less if 5 or 100 users are using the software.

Re: Cost Comparison - Does Mingle Cost More? by Michael Dubakov

In fact per-user model is natural for software tools. Many companies have the same model.

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