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GitLab is a DevSecOps platform that brings development teams together so they can collaborate, lower costs, increase security, reduce cycle times, boost productivity, and deliver quality software faster. Is GitLab the right choice for your development team’s project management needs? We will help you find out by looking at GitLab’s benefits, disadvantages, and pricing.
Want to learn more about DevSecOps? Check out our tutorial: Intro to DevOps and DevSecOps.
What is GitLab Project Management Software?
As mentioned in the intro, GitLab is a DevSecOps platform. DevSecOps stands for development, security, and operations. It is a development practice that integrates security throughout the software development lifecycle, allowing teams to deliver applications that are robust and secure.
While you can use GitLab for several aspects of the software development process, it also has project management capabilities. We will focus on those for this review as we look at GitLab as a project management tool for developers that promotes collaboration on code and more.
Benefits of GitLab Project Management Tool
GitLab is loaded with project management capabilities and other features that can boost developer productivity while condensing cycle time from weeks to minutes and reducing development costs. Here are some of GitLab’s top project management features and benefits that can help your development team reach its potential:
- Eliminates the need to have an assortment of tools for collaboration, issue tracking, time tracking, wikis, code review, tracking project progress, assigning tasks, etc. GitLab gives you project management capabilities in the same system where you work.
- Ideal for development teams that use the Agile project management approach.
- GitLab boards (Kanban, Scrum, etc.) provide an overview of open, deliverable, and closed issues among team members. The boards help organize tasks and issues and offer instant visibility into what has been and needs to be done.
- Project managers and developers can use GitLab’s epics to organize their portfolios by grouping issues according to a common theme like security, user onboarding, etc. Epics can be customized via child epics, plus you have the option to add start and end dates and duration.
- GitLab allows team members to collaborate conversationally on epics, merge requests, issues, commits, etc.
- Milestones help track project progress by showing what percentage is complete and allow you to group merge requests and issues into one timeline. The ability to add assignees and due dates to milestones is a plus.
- Gantt chart fans will enjoy the GitLab roadmap that gives an easy-to-digest overview of a project’s epics and milestones. Using the roadmap, you can see how tasks relate and fit into the entire scheme.
- The issues feature can track bugs or any task that needs to be accomplished.
- GitLab labels (either default or custom) simplify the tracking of projects, epics, issues, etc.
- Integrated CI/CD functionality lets developers test app deployment with ease.
- The groups feature lets project managers group projects according to category for better organization.
- Wikis let teams document meetings, notes, progress, etc., to help them better understand projects.
- Burndown charts increase the likelihood of deadlines being met by helping you track milestone progress and pinpoint any work gaps. These charts can also be shared with supervisors and stakeholders to fill them in on where a project stands.
- Time tracking can be done by integrating GitLab with a third-party tool like Time Doctor, Everhour, or QuickBooks Time to see what individuals are working on and for how long.
- The Free forever version is a nice touch for teams with limited budgets or needs.
Disadvantages of GitLab Project Management Tool
If you are shopping around for other project management tools for developers in the mold of GitLab, you are probably wondering what the software’s main drawbacks are. Here are some of GitLab’s disadvantages that may or may not have you look elsewhere:
- Some project managers claim that GitLab could be more intuitive and easier to use for beginners. The initial setup takes more work than a team with a desire for limited onboarding may want.
- The user interface has an appearance that is outdated compared to other project management solutions. More modernization would be nice.
- The milestones feature in GitLab project management is not intuitive. Instead of taking the time to learn how to use such features, some developers may skip the functionality altogether.
- There should be more options for email notifications to allow users to tweak precisely how they want to receive messages.
- Slow performance at times and a sluggish user interface could lead to frustration when using GitLab. You may be waiting a while for the software to load fully.
- Occasional minor bugs.
- Analytics are lacking on the dashboard.
- More integrations with other services would be a welcome addition to GitLab’s feature set.
- GitLab’s pricing can seem high for teams that want strictly project management features.
- Should you run into issues and need assistance, you may find GitLab’s customer service a bit slow.
Does it seem like GitLab comes with a lot of disadvantages? It could if you just look at the length of that list, but as you read each disadvantage, you will notice that most are minor and do not detract from GitLab’s bevy of benefits for developers and project managers alike.
Read: Best DevOps and DevSecOps Tools
GitLab Pricing: How Much Does GitLab Cost?
GitLab could be considered pricy when compared to other PM software. However, you must remember that it can help with more than just project management, as it is a comprehensive software innovation or DevSecOps platform.
You have three pricing plans to choose from. The Free plan gives you GitLab’s most essential features for individual users, and you can begin with no credit card required. Sign up for GitLab’s Free plan, and you can enjoy 5GB of storage, 10GB transfer per month, 400 CI/CD minutes per month, and 5 users per namespace.
GitLab’s Premium plan is designed to boost team productivity and coordination. It costs $19 per user, per month, which is billed annually at $228. The Premium plan gives you everything from the Free plan, plus 50GB of storage, 100GB transfer per month, 10,000 CI/CD minutes per month, advanced CI/CD that includes merge trains and external templates, code ownership and protected branches, merge requests with approval rules, enterprise agile planning, enterprise user and incident management, and support.
If you need enhanced security, compliance, and planning, GitLab’s Ultimate plan may be for you. It costs $99 per user, per month, which is billed annually at $1,188. The Ultimate plan gives you everything from Premium, plus 250GB of storage, 500GB transfer per month, 50,000 CI/CD minutes per month, free guest users, dynamic application security testing, security dashboards, vulnerability management, dependency and container scanning, static application security testing, multi-level epics, and value stream management.
Should you need it, GitLab also offers add-ons in the form of CI/CD minutes and storage. You can purchase an extra 1,000 minutes for $10 and 10GB of storage and 20GB transfer for $60.
GitLab Project Management Alternatives for Developers
Still not certain GitLab project management is the right PM tool for your software development team? We have a list of the Top Project Management Software for Developers that can help you find the right option.