DevOps Within

Stories from a man against the machines.

The tools for the job (I)

Project management for Dummies

I'm usually not the organize-everything type of guy. I generally despise agile (well, maybe not as an idea, but all those agile-ban-waterfall-when-needed implementations of it in organizations I've seen) but I decided to take a different approach than usual to this project. Since I'm not a developer and I'm going to do some coding I might as well use something to organize my work, right? This post is going to show and explain my own weapon of choice for tasks management.

My usual problem when starting some kind of pet-project is that I come up with all those ideas! There are so many of them and only one of me. The ideas happen to come by when I'm commuting or driving or having a beer, but more often than not they get lost along the way and never get implemented. Or the other way around - I get them all, store them somehow, but then I get hit with the scope creep, which means I will never finish the project and never be happy with it. To counteract this, I have decided to store all my ideas in one place, tag and describe them and then visualise how far I am in the project.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

A few days ago on channel #dsp2017 on DevsPL Slack there was a discussion about the best tool for managing notes and tasks for projects created for the contest. Answers ranged from big tools like Asana, through simplistic yet powerful GitHub Issues to plaintext files with notes. To each their own. I have decided to use a very popular tool for managing... anything really using virtual cards/post-its named Trello (recently bought by Atlassian, so this might be a recommendation of sorts).

Top of my Trello board

Since the contest is about two things: blogging and coding, I have decided to adapt a typical 'To Do - In Progress - Done' workflow and separate the two work fields. This is why I have five columns on my board:

  • Post Ideas: List of all posts to create, both about the project and off-topic, works as a countdown to 20 posts as well ;-)
  • To Do: contains all the coding tasks, I create cards for requirements and then checklists for implementation tasks
  • In Progress: Well, everything in progress :)
  • Posts Done, Done: cards in their final destination

Additionally, I label the issues with different colors assigned to components of the project. This makes me feel more organized and impressed by my own planning abilities ;-).

Apart from things such as great UX and simple usage model, there is another great thing about Trello, which is the fact that it provides Power-Ups. Those are kinds of add-ons for improving the usability and possibilities of the tool. In the free version, you can only activate one and I've gone for the calendar - this way I can see all the due dates of my cards in a clean month or week-based view.

Live Free or Plan Hard

Well, this is how I roll with this project. I know, this might not be as interesting as seeing the code itself but (judging by the heated discussion on slack) there are a lot of ways of managing a project and it's always good to compare your own ways with others'.

Speaking of which, how do you manage your pet-projects (especially the #dsp2017 one)? Do you care about planning ahead? I'd love to hear your opinions.