Notes on our project management 19:42 on Monday
I’d like to reflect on a couple of points in Biztech’s article on better project planning:
Replace phases with features
Originally I was looking for a todo list that would allow me to estimate the duration of the tasks. In fact, for a while I did use OmniOutliner for that. When I grew out of OmniOutliner, I looked at various products, before finally settling with the project management software Merlin. Maybe because I am a developer, and because I started my quest with a “task list” derived from features and requirements, I’ve never planned for phases. Always for features, and more specifically, for the steps required to build the features.
Re-plan after every feature
This is where we’ve failed. For a number of times we’ve fell victim to the curse of “let’s just add this small additional feature”. Without re-planning for the new features, the design of the code eventually breaks, and fixing becomes difficult. But next time, we will remember to re-plan.
Measure progress to predict the future
On the other hand, estimating and measuring is where we excel. We recently finished a project estimated at 176 hours, and we completed the planned features in 98.3% of the allocated time: just over 173 hours, to be exact. The trick here is to estimate every little task you do, and then check afterwards how you met the estimates. Do this a few times, and you automatically build a skill for good estimates.
I wonder if this blog post is slightly on the level of “cat blogging” (ie. “here’s whats new with my cat”). Project management just happens to be what’s been on my mind lately.