Project Management for a Solo Developer

SelArom

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Sep 28, 2004
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hello all! I'm an aspiring developer, and I would like to take a more formal approach to my process. I've been researching project management software, and it seems a lot of these are designed for large groups. Even those that are geared to small groups use a distributed model where you install the management software on a server and connect via the web or LAN to make/review changes.

as I'm all by myself, that's a huge overkill... is there a simple, integrated solution that I can install on the same machine as the one I run visual studio 2005 to keep track of my requirements, bugs, changes, releases, etc? I have a source control, I use Visual SourceSafe 2005, and it's installed alongside my visual studio on this laptop. but how can I formalize how I keep track of my initial requirements in an organized fashion, and bugs and changes and revisions, etc?

is this too much for one person to manage on their own? but how can I formalize my development process if that's true?

I would appreciate your insight on this, as this is something I've been wanting to do for a long time, but never had the time. now I have the time and I'm overwhelmed and don't know how to get started!

thank you
-SelArom
 

SelArom

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it seems project is more of a managers tool rather than a manageMENT tool. I was looking at the product overview and it has a lot of support for assigning projects and time and resources... but I'm not a manager of a big development team, it's just me. I'm looking for something small, simple, and versatile for keeping track of requirements, changes, bugs, planned features, etc...

does project do this?

-SelArom
 

SelArom

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Originally posted by: BoberFett
Sourceforge? Bugzilla?

well, those are two seperate programs, and also i already have a source code control (VSS)... i'm mainly looking for a way to keep track of requirements/features and bugs... i found axosoft ontime 2006 and i love the way it looks but it is mostly geared towards bugs, which is something i am looking for but also a way to formally track requirements and organize them in a way that I can keep track of what I'm doing all on my own

-SelArom
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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Sourceforge has options for bug reports and tracking, documentation, etc. so it's a lot more than simply a code repository.
 

kamper

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Mar 18, 2003
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And bugzilla is not a repository, it should exist nicely alongside vss. I think that's a rather good direction to go in, although I haven't actually ever needed it myself. I once worked in a place that had a home-grown, bugzilla-like issue tracker. It helped the managers assign work but I also found it incredibly useful just personally in terms of visualizing and tracking what jobs I had to do and when.

Also, has vss changed much in the 2005 version? I haven't used it in a while but I know that it has a history of being a very Bad Idea for multi-developer projects. I'm sure it's fine for you while you're working alone but if you ever started working with someone else you wouldn't want to transfer systems. I'd personally start with something like cvs or svn right from the start. I use svn for as much of my school work as possible. It's incredibly useful for testing distributed systems because you can fix bugs on any machine (although I've only got two at home) without the hell of being forced to merge everything immediately after changing it. It's also nice if you want to keep your repository on a server instead of your desktop. My repo stays at home and if I want at it from school, I just ssh in and tunnel the svn connection. Is vss still dependent on file sharing?
 

KB

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Nov 8, 1999
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I use something called Gemini from http://www.countersoft.com/

It acts like bugzilla and is free for up to 10 users. Thats really all you need.

When you are a lone developer, you could ever use Outlook tasks to remind you of what needs to be done.
 

SelArom

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Originally posted by: KB
I use something called Gemini from http://www.countersoft.com/

It acts like bugzilla and is free for up to 10 users. Thats really all you need.

When you are a lone developer, you could ever use Outlook tasks to remind you of what needs to be done.

oooh i like that one! i really REALLY like OnTime by axosoft, but that's only free for one user, which is FINE for me right now, but i would imagine that someday soon i'm going to want to be working with others, and axosoft's licensing is kind of steep for a poor guy like me... what i love about ontime is that it integrates with visual studio (as does sourcesafe). i love, LOVE all in one tools! that's why I use trillian, and why I sold my desktop and consolidated all my data to my new laptop...

are there any tools that integrate with vs for project management? I know that SVN has a client for visual studio, that's cool, but i've got sourcesafe and will probably stick with that for a while.

thanks for all your insight, i am investigating all of these suggestions!
-SelArom
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
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Oct 30, 2000
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Originally posted by: SelArom
Originally posted by: BoberFett
Sourceforge? Bugzilla?

by the way, isn't Sourceforgestrictly for open source projects? I am stingy with my code!

-SelArom
People develop the code for others to use.

Reciprocation is appreciated but not required.

Some is open source; others are teamwork but all that is available is the application.

You are not supposed to use their code for commercial purposes without certain guidelines being followed.

 

Nothinman

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Sep 14, 2001
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by the way, isn't Sourceforgestrictly for open source projects? I am stingy with my code!

I thought SF had a version of their software that could be installed and used locally, but maybe I'm thinking of something else. And I'm glad I don't need any of your programs.
 

Nothinman

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Sep 14, 2001
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well i don't mean to say I'm stingy with my SOFTWARE, just my actual CODE! I do'nt want anyone seeing my intimate secrets

I know what you meant, which is why I said I'm glad I don't need your software.
 

Nothinman

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And what's even more ironic is that you got into programming by having the source to games on your Commodore and now you're not willing to put yours out there for others to learn from?
 

SelArom

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Originally posted by: Nothinman
And what's even more ironic is that you got into programming by having the source to games on your Commodore and now you're not willing to put yours out there for others to learn from?

well actually it was not on commodore that I put in those Basic games, is that what I wrote? I'll have to check...

but first of all I paid for that book of source code, which was intended as a tool for learning programming in the first place.

secondly, I never said I WOULDN'T share my code, but I'm not gonna just put it out there for people to use as they wish unrestricted. open source is cool and all, but I want to retain control of the things I create. I don't see much irony in that 8)

-SelArom
 

Nothinman

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well actually it was not on commodore that I put in those Basic games, is that what I wrote? I'll have to check...

I don't know, it was from memory and I didn't go back to the site and verify anything =)

open source is cool and all, but I want to retain control of the things I create. I don't see much irony in that 8)

But why? What benefits do you get from keeping it to yourself? I can understand the relucatance of companies that are built on closed source software because it's all they know and there's no doubt implementations of ideas in their software that are unique so far so giving that up could pose a monetary risk to them.

Anyway this is getting pretty far OT, I didn't want to turn this into a CSSvOSS thing but I just can't figure out why you'd want to keep the source closed for a project if it doesn't give you some sort of competitive advantage and I don't believe SelArom is competing with any other software products right now. I could see if the source was a mess and you were embarrassed over it, but that's just a reason to go back and clean it up for you and everyone else.
 

SelArom

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Originally posted by: Nothinman
well actually it was not on commodore that I put in those Basic games, is that what I wrote? I'll have to check...

I don't know, it was from memory and I didn't go back to the site and verify anything =)

open source is cool and all, but I want to retain control of the things I create. I don't see much irony in that 8)

But why? What benefits do you get from keeping it to yourself? I can understand the relucatance of companies that are built on closed source software because it's all they know and there's no doubt implementations of ideas in their software that are unique so far so giving that up could pose a monetary risk to them.

Anyway this is getting pretty far OT, I didn't want to turn this into a CSSvOSS thing but I just can't figure out why you'd want to keep the source closed for a project if it doesn't give you some sort of competitive advantage and I don't believe SelArom is competing with any other software products right now. I could see if the source was a mess and you were embarrassed over it, but that's just a reason to go back and clean it up for you and everyone else.

i have the perfect answer for you: programming is not a career for me, it is an art form! for me, programming is a way of creating something, just like a painter paints, or a musician composes, or an author writes. the painter doesn't put on a show of him painting, he shows his paintings, an author doesn't publish his notes, he publishes his stories, and a musician doesn't release his takes, he releases his albums.

I don't release my code, I release my software :) it's really that personal, for me :)

but to move this back on topic, I want a way to formalize and organize my process, so that I can make things cleaner, faster, and better

i think i might go with axosoft after all. i might be solo for a while after all, and I love the way it looks!

-SelArom
 

Nothinman

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Sep 14, 2001
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i have the perfect answer for you: programming is not a career for me, it is an art form! for me, programming is a way of creating something, just like a painter paints, or a musician composes, or an author writes. the painter doesn't put on a show of him painting, he shows his paintings, an author doesn't publish his notes, he publishes his stories, and a musician doesn't release his takes, he releases his albums.

Actually that's the worst answer I've heard so far. In the cases of paintings, music and books you do get a copy of the materials used to build the final product. When I look at a painting I can see the colors, lines, etc so it's possible for me to recreate it with my own paint, canvas, etc or pencil and paper if I want to use the same image in a different style. With music I can hear the notes being played and I can replicate them (if I have a good enough ear), I know lots of people who learned to play songs from bands they loved just by listening to the song over and over and figuring out what all of the notes are, although that might be more akin to reverse engineering in the computer world. And with each book I read I get all of the words and ideas with it, it would be a simple matter to make myself a copy of the book and edit it to my liking just like I can with OSS software. I can't legally reprint the same book and sell it because it's copyright the owner, but that's what copyright is for, so that you can tell everyone about your great ideas without worrying about people using them without your permission.

Calling your programs art but not releasing the source is like creating a painting and locking it up so that no one can see it because you're afraid someone might creat a knock-off.
 

SelArom

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you are right in saying it's like revere engineering, and if people want to see exactly what I did, they can. but I'm not going to make it easy for them, why should I? if they want to learn something specific from my program, they can ask me. if they want a copy of my source code, they can ask me too, and if I feel they have a reason to have it, they shall have it.

in none of your examples do you get the behind-the-scenes secrets that make the art what it is. you don't know which paints the artist used, which brushes, which part was painted first, which part was erased and redone... you don't get a copy of the score to see note by note what is happening. sure you can recreate the gist of the song by mimicking the chord structure, but you don't see the individual notes that make up the whole song.... when you buy a book, you don't get the author's pencilings that are written in the margins, things that he wrote only for himself to see. my code is mine and mine alone. i created it, and i see no reason that anyone should expect that they would receive it just because they use my software. if that prevents them from using it, so be it, I won't be hurt. hell I don't even really care. I'm not a professional software developer, and even if I was, of course the work I do for a company is not mine and they have every right to the code, but my software is something that I make, and I have every right to withhold the source.

your final analogy is also a poor one, because anybody can duplicate the functionality of a program, as well as the interface, without ever seeing my code. I don't care about that. But my source is something that I created, that is personal to me. it's like an inside joke, the story behind the artwork that I have no reason to share with anyone else, unless *I* want them to.

your feelings on source are clear, and you're welcome to have that opinion. it's all good in my book, but these are *my* works after all, so I think I have every right to have total control in how and especially if it is distributed

-SelArom
 

Nothinman

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Sep 14, 2001
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you are right in saying it's like revere engineering,

Only in the music aspect, in the writing and painting the "code" is in plain view. The brush and the paints would be more akin to the IDE, text editor, compiler etc. And if you have a good enough ear you might be able to consider the notes in the music just as obvious, sadly my ears aren't that good.

when you buy a book, you don't get the author's pencilings that are written in the margins, things that he wrote only for himself to see.

So? If those scribblings were pertenent to the subject the book they'd be in it.

i see no reason that anyone should expect that they would receive it just because they use my software.

But why? I look at it from the opposite perspective, what reasoning do you have for keeping it secret?

but my software is something that I make, and I have every right to withhold the source.

Of course you do, but my question is what do you gain from withholding it? If you're not making any money off of the algorithms and you're not ashamed of the code quality why restrict who can see it?

because anybody can duplicate the functionality of a program, as well as the interface, without ever seeing my code.

So? Anyone can duplicate anything given enough time and resourses, Linux itself is a huge testament to that. But why force them to that end? If you really see your programs as art why wouldn't you want to get it out there in front of as many people as possible?
 

patrick24601

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Feb 14, 2005
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Here is my response as a software development professional who owns his own company and has done worldwide consulting for the past 8 years.

Use something simple, fast, free and web based like basecamp from 37signals. It is web based which I know is against what you initially posted. But consider it, or something simple like it that runs on your local machine.

For your size team (1), your experience level, and the size of your project ALL of the solutions mentioned so far are overkill. You want to focus on requirements, problems, and change requests. You don't need any project management software - that is not what you want to be. You need something fast and simple. Almost a glorified to do list. You want to document everything you do, and everything that someone asks you do. At this point any PM software is just going to big you down with unnecessary details and the 'ooo ahhh' factor. Think simple.

To tell you the truth unless you need to produce fancy reports for somebody something like excel (or the openoffice equiv) is great.