More than 10 years ago when I used to work on MS Project Server which was quite expensive back then I was searching for an open source tool for managing different projects that I was working on back then, by 2008 I was already doing freelancing consultation on Red Hat, VBA trainings and just started providing services around Drupal. When I started doing web development I quickly realized the need of a proper project management solution. Excel sheets worked quite well for me and when more people started working as a team you can not use spreadsheets for a long time. In late 2007 I learned MS Project Server and I deployed it in Alcatel-Lucent as part of my day job. I was working there at that time as a Project Coordinator and built one Excel based tool for Project Management that worked really well but of course it relied on lot of Macros and working on it required training. Working in a corporate environment has advantages, you can afford to buy expensive tools. I had access to one actual server in the server room and I used to manage it myself installing MS SQL and MS Project Server. I really loved working on that tool and it was amazing idea to collaborate on multiple MS Project plans with shared resource pool.
Working for my own company Sparxsys was a different story, I wanted to use a good tool for project management, after already using MS Project Server I really wanted something that can provide similar features if not same. I tried many open source project management solutions in 2008 but eventually ended up using Drupal.
I also wrote a blog on using Drupal for doing Project Management.
I used my company's website sparxsys.com for project management for 1 year before actually officially moving to Jira. I did try to modify Drupal and recreate some of the features that Jira used to offer. In the past 10 years the core concept of Jira - its ability of workflow customization, schemes and add-on still remain the same. In Drupal I tried using different content types for issues and simple CCK based field to change the status of the ticket. It worked really well and I was quite satisfied with it until I found out about Jira and its $10 license. That was it. After that I moved to Jira completely.
I am so glad I did that Drupal was never meant to be an issue tracking system. Although you can certainly use it but it is better to use a tool that is used in the industry by many companies and that is meant for a specific purpose.