Ashvin Savani “arckid” – Flash Platform Expert

All about RIA development using Flash, Flex, Flash Media Server (Flashcom) with various middleware and backends.

Archive for June, 2008

Project Management (Status) and Mind Maps

We are small Adobe Flash Platform based development company located in India. We have team of 15 people and mostly we are dealing with 2-3 client projects and 1-2 in house product development. During 5 years of project management (while I was doing freelancing and after), I tried various project management systems to find the best which I can use. Even I like some of them but to check the status everyday, is bit tough. And in case of agile development we are doing, where a single person is working on more than one project and a project contains more than one persons.

Status part is tough because, your mind need to analyze all tabular data and constantly compare with all the visual image you have of your projects in your mind. It compares about what you hear from the client in the last communication and check, if we are on track or not and all that. Also, if you are running a company, You need to make sure that every team member are doing at their best. Also, company is using all the resources with best or optimum rates. To analyze all this, you might need to have two relationship comparison between tasks v/s developers and developers v/s tasks.

Mind mapping is a cool idea while you believe more in visuals instead of tabular data or data with full of bullets. I tried MindJet’s Mind Manager which is really a cool desktop mind mapping tool. They also have project management plug-ins to keep track of all of the projects that you are working on. But the negative point is, you need to keep it updated manually all the time. So sometimes it makes you feel like you are more of data entry operation instead of a project manager. So still, It has something missing for me.

During my test ride of most of the project management systems are not made for you as you are not using a very specific and standard project management. Also, all the projects are not like same and of course same for clients too. In some projects, releases are as frequent like everyday. So it’s too hard to keep track of everything and get whatever information you need at anytime. So I decided to make own project management system, which is also part of our intranet system which we call as Karma.

I will tell you more about Karma later, but the important feature we developed is called mind map integration of tasks and projects. At end of the day or on request at any time, it generates cool mind map where you will see status by projects and status by team members. So if client calls you for the status, just expand his project branch and keep telling him. We also tried to color all the tasks based on the progress. e.g. If task is not started it would be red and if it’s done it would be green. If progress is there on that, based on percentage of completion of task, it will show you shade between orange and green. I simply love that. As a company owner  you can also check another report / node in the same map where  you can see what every team member is doing on which project and also their tasks with status. What else you need?

Still seems like, that is not enough! Yeah, its a human nature. Now we are trying to integrate it with different tools like outlook tasks, other desktop based task system and more tight integration with our intranet system – Karma. Once that is done, one can add or update tasks from anywhere and get the reflection for the same real time. We will also provide a view to clients so they can see their relevant information in tabular or map format.

I will keep posted on maps and project management after few days.

Test post with ScribeFire

Want to try the ScribeFire for Firefox. Seems like it’s a nice and cool tool. I will post a review of this later after using it for few more posts.

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