Goodbye, Pivotal Tracker

by Jared Norman
published March 11, 2024

I just learned (through this article) that Pivotal Tracker is shutting down for everyone except enterprise customers. I’ve been using Pivotal Tracker for only slightly less time than I’ve been working with Rails. In the beginning I didn’t appreciate it. It was ugly. I didn’t understand the words it used. It was rigid. Eventually that changed.

Bugs didn’t get pointed, which made the team extremely aware of the cost of defects. Chores didn’t either, and that urged our team to break things down into user-oriented functionality, so that it would “count”. The “automatic” sprint planning was imperfect, but it tempered our unrealistic expectations of what we could get done. You could even create releases and it would predict if they were on track.

The tool was far from perfect. Compared to Linear, its GitHub integration was extremely limited. The UI felt stuck in the 90s and the UX was awkward. Pointing tickets isn’t for everyone, and Pivotal Tracker focused too hard on projecting estimates. Planning larger projects wasn’t great. I can’t imagine using it on a truly large team.

In retrospect, I appreciate its opinionated design. It wasn’t trying to be everything to everyone. It was trying to tell you how to do software development, and it made deviating from that awkward. I hope that someday someone makes another Pivotal Tracker, except it has my opinions.