Do you have trouble presenting Github issues to non-technical clients as a freelancer?

In my last freelancing gig, I faced an issue with presenting our project status to our client. I'd like to know, am I alone in facing this issue? Have you experienced a similar problem? I explain further below.


In my last freelance gig, I was building a website for a publishing client. We had a team of freelancers working on the website. I worked on the front-end website and also helped manage the roadmap for the team.

We kept track of our progress and outstanding issues on Github. It was a convenient way for us as developers to track issues, assign them, and manage the code base.


However, we didn’t have an easy way to present our project status to our client using the meticulously managed issues on Github. At first, we tried presenting the Github issues as-is, without any modifications. But they were not familiar with Github, some of them had to create Github accounts, and it caused a lot of confusion. Furthermore, they couldn’t tell which issues were most important, how to filter by issues, etc.

It didn’t make sense for us to train them on Github, since they would only be spending at most a few hours a month reviewing our work on Github.

Next, we tried using Zenhub and its Kanban boards to present our project status. Zenhub allowed us to add some needed metadata (like “effort points” and sprints). It helped a little bit, but the Kanban boards were not suitable when making a presentation in a meeting. To guide our planned discussion, we created columns on the Kanban board to group issues into various topics, ie “priority”, “completed in the last 2 weeks”, “critical UX bugs”, etc. But this method also was not perfect:

  1. We couldn’t include the same issue in multiple columns, by nature of the Kanban board. So if an issue was both a “priority” and a “critical UX bug”, we could only show it in one column or the other
  2. If a column had too many issues, the dashboard could not fit all of them on the screen. We would have to scroll down each column to show the rest of the issues. [A screenshot here would be nice...]. Again, most of our clients did not have a Github account to log in and view for themselves.

Overflow issues not immediately seen. Issues can only exist in 1 column at a time.

Makeshift solution

In the end, I learned how to create filters, and save the URLs of those saved filters within Github. Then, I would create an agenda on Google Docs, and add links to those views. So when we began to talk about one of the topics (ie “these are our priority issues...”), I would click on the saved link and it would open the full list of priority issues.

Question for you

From this experience, I figured there may be a missed opportunity here.

  • Is there a better way to use Github issues to present your project status that I don’t know about?
  • Is this an issue that others face?

Originally posted on my Notion blog: https://www.notion.so/youngchingjui/Inspiration-5f0aa8dcd0034e6a87d05a7503c62ca8

  1. 2

    I faced this type of issue but at my side, Client is good. In the initially he told me, he is not familiar with Technical Details but want to track the status.

    So I come up with the solution.

    1. Maintaining Technical Bugs in the Notes (Never share this with client)
    2. Maintain Trello, only update what is pending and what is new feature. Anyone can understand. No technical bullshit. For example: If Android device is not receiving the notification there is an issue related to google_services.json file. Will write in-depth in the notes but only share in the Trello "Issue with the push notification, please don't test the debug app."
    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing. Did you use Github issues to track the technical issues on your side?
      If so, did you find yourself copying and pasting a lot of stuff from Github (or Notes) into Trello, just for the client?

      1. 1

        Not really since I am a single developer for that project.

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