Painless Project Management

Monday, May 6, 2002

Joel has some really good ideas on how to make running a software development project schedule that actually is used:

  1. Use a spreadsheet, instead of complicated project management software
  2. Break the project down to features and tasks, very specifically. The design should be done before the schedule is written, which by the way should be done by the programmer.
  3. Estimate in hours; that's how specific your tasks should be.
  4. Don't forget about debugging, integration, and misc time that eats you up.
  5. Be sure to prioritize and complete the important features before the fun stuff.

And then, don't forget to eat dog food and try your new application, as a user. No admin privileges, no specially configured machine.

Knew this already, from my own experience: I'm a whole lot more productive when I can just hunker down and produce code, sans interruptions. But, this works only if

  1. I have a clean, organized work area
  2. The design is already done (actually design takes as much concentration as implementation)
  3. I have my schedule in order, so I'm not worrying about what I'm missing
  4. I don't happen to get many support requests (my other hat here at work)


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