This might be more interesting for the game developers reading this, and maybe not as interesting for those non-game devs. In that case, here's a picture of a cute puppy to make sure you want to keep reading:
So. Today I'm going to talk about project management, how we've completely changed the way we're doing it here at Clever Endeavour, and what we've learned in the process. We haven't been using the new system for a long time now (see: a week), but the lessons learned in exploring different softwares and different techniques remain valid.
There is a ton of great software out there for project management: Jira, Trello, Asana, Axosoft, Jixee.. just to name a few. This stuff tends to have details, options, compatibility with other software, movable and draggable and saveable and starable stuff. This is cool and all, but what do we really NEED?
At Clever Endeavour, here's what we need:
- See a big backlog of all the stuff we need to do
- Know what we need to discuss next
- Know what we need to be working on next
- Know what we should work on in this sprint (using Agile)
- Archive what was done and track how long we estimated for tasks vs how long they actually took
- Have a place for resources and things we might have to look at once in a while
Pretty basic stuff, right? We decided to go the simple route, and use a software called WorkFlowy. It's basically a text editor, with nested items. That's pretty much it. You can add hashtags and search by hashtag, and you can add people (@rich, @kyler, @alex) and then see what lines were associated with those people. This is what it looks like:
Each of those dots with the light grey circle around it means there are sub-tasks or lines nested under it. This way we have everything in one place, and it's simple and clear. No bells and whistles, but no functionality missing either.
Most importantly, we've changed our morning stand-ups to "morning reviews" where we look at the Inbox (used to put things that we need to discuss or anything that takes more than 2 minutes to do and doesn't have a place in our WorkFlowy) and we look at our tasks from the previous day, then write down how long it took to do those tasks.
What did we learn?
In shifting from our old system to our new system, we learned a few things. We learned that simplicity is key, and that the simpler something is, the easier it is to access information. This is important for keeping everyone up to speed. We also learned that we had been doing the daily stand-up the wrong way. We followed the instructions that you hear about from the usual Agile articles and books, but it wasn't getting the job done. We were talking but it wasn't helping us actually get on the same page and it wasn't helping us track and estimate the amount of time taken to do our tasks.
So far it's working really well, we'll see what the future brings!
- Simplicity is key
- Everyone needs to be on the same page and buy in to the system
- Big fancy software is useless if you're not already well organized
- Use software according to your needs, not to what's popular
Also, in case you're looking for online updates to Ultimate Chicken Horse, you can use our Steam forums to check out the newest fixes from the last update, and see the list of known bugs here. We're also planning another update soon, check our Twitter to stay in the loop!