Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Agile Project Management

I need a web-based project management (PM) tool that is useful for software developers (me) but usable for my clients, primarily the Pro Athlete Training package I am building. It's a big application, and needs formal project management. The client needs a tool that lets them participate in PM easily without having a technical understanding of PM. That's a tough thing.

Back when I ran a team, we adopted Microsoft Project to run a hybrid Agile/Hierarchical PM methodology. It worked, taking the best from each. We used real due dates, for example, instead of points, and managed dependencies pretty carefully. Internal customer's never used Project, they went to meetings with my team instead. While I can meet by phone with my clients, we do need some web based collaboration.

Agile is a pretty cool methodology, The Agile Manifesto:

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

What I found is a great, free tool called Pivotal Tracker, created by real developers and PM types. It is a pure Agile/Scrum based package, and is forcing me to use Agile PM as it was intended. Sometimes the tool drives the process. The best thing is that the clients are confronted with pretty simple lists of work to be done ("Stories" in the Agile vernacular), but I still have ways to do the more technical PM stuff behind those lists.

Here's my test project: https://www.pivotaltracker.com/projects/172131

When you get tired of project managing the Enterprise's system upgrades, you can play the Star Trek TNG drinking game to unwind.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard that calibrating the Flux Capacitor is a difficult task. I would make that at least 4 points.

    We have a team at work that helps development shops incorporate Agile practices. I've had a chance to attend some of their beta workshops before they were presented to clients, and we were able to incorporate some of the practices. Very interesting stuff, and people that follow Agile practices swear by them.

    Hope you and your family have a nice holiday!