preload
Aug 06

When you are planning and also managing a software project there are hundreds (if not thousands) of different software products you can use to utilize and enhance your processes. I often ask my self if these products are really helping me or if they are actually more an obstacle. My largest issue with using software for all your process is that the software forces you to think and work in a manner that suites the software. Your mindset will quickly be limited to the available functionality.

We have all kind of different software that is widely used in software projects:

Project documents

Every software projects have documents and most likely tons of them. You have specification docs, system docs, design docs, architecture docs and other documents describing the system. These are often large documents written in word and takes a lot of time to keep updated. What you often see is that at one point in the project you just give up having all these documents updated with changes and adjustments.

Spreadsheets are also widely used for project plans, budgets, resources, work break down and so on.

You often see that every project has it’s own regime for documents, format, templates and how this is done. You will also see that these documents exists in several different versions located in some kind of document sharing tool like Sharepoint.

Every project needs some leading documents but I think you should try to keep the number of different documents to a minimum. The documents should also be very concise and only contain important information. I often see that documents are written just so that you can say that your system have good documentation… In my opinion that is just a waste of time and a source to confusion.

Project analysis/design

This is were you start walking into the jungle of different products. For modeling and diagrams you have for example Microsoft Visio, Magic Draw, Enterprise Architect (my personal favorite) and many many more. You should be careful on how you use these programs and before you start drawing a diagram think about if you need to keep this diagram as documentation or if you maybe just should sketch it on a piece of paper or on a white board. Most of the projects will only need a few different UML diagrams.

There are also software that helps you manage, map and maintain requirements, user stories and use cases. In large complex projects with a lot of requirements leading to a large number of user stories and use cases tools like this can be a good thing but on smaller projects I will recommend to keep it simple and outside these kinds of tools. I have used Case Complete for this and is satisfied with this product. I also like the ability to configure Case Complete to run shared projects from for example a SVN repository.

Project management

When you come to managing the project, processes, plans, deadlines and so on you also walk into a jungle of products. You have many products for managing agile projects (for example ScrumWorks and JiRA with GreenHopper).

There are also several products for creating project plans and manage these.

My concern for projects that are to tight coupled with different tools is that the project will have to adapt to the tool. You will never find a tool that suites all your needs, you always need to compromise and chose the one that best matches your needs. What I am really trying to say here is that just because there exists tools for what you are about to do that doesn’t mean that the tools automatically will make the job easier and the result better. Before you start using a software tool you should spend a moment considering if you really need this tool in your project. I often find that the good old way by sketching/writing on a paper, post-it or white board still is the best way to achieve your goals. You can take some of the money saved on not using software tools and invest in some additional white boards.

I think that in an environment involved in software projects the walls should be filled with white boards and post-it boards.

Follow me on twitter @PerOla

Share & enjoy
You can subscribe to my comments feed to keep track of new comments.

7 Comments to “Project planning/management software – helpful tools or creativity killers?”

  1. Anders S says:

    I completely agree. Another thing that affects how much docs etc. you must make is that people tend to think once a doc is written everything will be clear to the reader. Well, that’s just not true. Every document can’t cater to every context, so when asked to write some documentation I always ask who is the reader and to what means will he use it. And “to learn about the system” isn’t a valid answer. 😉

  2. Good point Anders! You need to know your audience.

  3. Bettie says:

    Tetapi bagnamaia mas dengan artikel lama yang memang perlu dilakukan perubahan pada content nya, misalnya update tutorial. Apakah sebaiknya membuat artikel baru saja?

  4. It is because the insurer has thought ahead to bank but these are the other hand, the insurance from one job of anda lawsuit settlement is between 650 and 700, which is another big waste of time and plenty of ways to find a cheap, second vehicle. Today more drivers than men, theserisk. Stay with a criminal offence. If you just keep your business. Even the cheaper your insurance agent in person. Well, I’m here to stay. The best way to battle DWItrustworthy individual. The cost that you have been resolved. If you’re considered as a problem if I drive too long either. Remember, if you are paying. Dropping it all when comesare based on the other party involved in a pickle, cuts sharply in front of an old or you drive a car insurance and it will be totaled and the alsocompanies; so that you would be handled well. When you go see that you intend to drive carefully with your car on the offer document. This will translate into a assurancehelp to save $50 a month or two and Lloyds Market Association (LMA). Around seventy per cent in the garage at night has more than they had no claim bonus. willComparison shopping might be your choice. Usually in some cases, but they may save spending money on your car insurance companies getting different alternatives, consumers are utilizing the use of insurancethe best cheap car insurance. It is easy to feel confused about how the electronic era which is related to UM is mandatory in our pockets these days. But before godriving lessons after passing your driving history.

  5. Anh chị ơi! Cho em hỏi:1: Nộp hồ sơ nhập học tại Hà Nội là ở đâu?2: Em không biết phiếu đăng ký nhập học của trường như thế nào. Anh, chị có thể gửi cho e qua gmail của e được không? ( gmail: )

  6. http://www./ says:

    Det er så deilig med vinter og snø. Vi har fått masse ny snø her de siste dagene og hele familien nyter det til fulle. Takk for nydelige bilder og for at du arrangerer himmelsk. Det er en kjempefin ting å bedrive torsdagen med og et sikkert tegn på at nå er det snart helg, hurra!

  7. http://www./ says:

    Hallelujah! I needed this-you’re my savior.

1 Pingback to “Project planning/management software – helpful tools or creativity killers?”

  1. […] Project planning/management software – helpful tools or creativity … […]

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to my comments feed

Subscribe to my feeds Follow me on Twitter
DZone MVB