Author Topic: Projects planning  (Read 157 times)

Mike

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Projects planning
« on: May 12, 2020, 08:05:26 PM »
Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with planning out multiple projects?  We are looking at next year's projects and coming up with the order and timelines and it's tough.  Trying to estimate how long projects will take, what order they should be done in, etc.  And a few of the projects are still in discussion at the higher levels so need to allocate time for them to get done before we can start the project planning in earnest.

But, it is also kind of fun.  It is like taking puzzle pieces and moving them around until you've got a good picture.  And honestly, it is really reassuring to see that we've got a year's worth of work lined up without even considering the low priority stuff.

ober

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2020, 09:43:14 AM »
I actually think that part is fun.  But it all depends on the right people.  A lot of those discussions are so 'pie in the sky' that it's just basically liquor and guessing.  If you get the right people you can have a lot of fun with it and really play with a lot of scenarios.

jkim

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2020, 04:09:10 PM »
What tools are you guys using to plan out projects? I have gantt charts for high level overviews but I think there are probably better ways to manage them.

I think my biggest struggle with projects is changing priorities from administration. With us, one week project A is the highest priority and then the next week project B that was on hold for 4 months because no one was willing to make a decision for something is suddenly back in the game.
definitely bas

ober

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2020, 04:54:16 PM »
We use Azure DevOps as our general tool but our Project Management team uses https://www.aha.io/ (well, they are trying anyways).

Mike

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2020, 05:24:45 PM »
We use Smartsheets for planning the details and tracking progress.

However, right now I'm just using Google Sheets for collecting the possible projects, identifying their priority level, rough estimation of effort level, and high level time estimates and totals.  Then using another sheet to just lay it out by months.  This is just to create the rough picture that we can then take to the larger management team and see if anything needs to be adjusted.  Once all that is done I'll take it and put it into Smartsheets and give better dates.

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2020, 10:07:10 AM »
We use Jira. Love/hate.

ober

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2020, 10:12:42 AM »
I'm on the hate side of JIRA.  I think it boxes you into a very specific way of working.  I've used 2 other ALMs (application lifecycle management) and they were both miles ahead of JIRA.  CodeBeamer was awesome but the company that I worked at wasn't agile so I can't speak to that side of the software but it gave us amazing traceability.  Azure DevOps is easily the best I have used.  Easy to configure, really well thought out.  You can give anyone in the company read-only access.  Plus it has repos, pipelines, code reviews, releases... really good dashboard capability.  It really helps our team stay on top of stuff.

Mike

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2020, 10:34:57 AM »
We use Azure DevOps as our general tool but our Project Management team uses https://www.aha.io/ (well, they are trying anyways).
Might have to look at Aha!.  Can you use Azure DevOps with Github?  I don't want to move away from that without an exceptional reason to do so.  And since MS owns GitHub I'm hoping they have some good integration.

micah

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2020, 02:39:46 PM »
Not a Jira fan either from my last 2 companies that used it...but I kind of miss it now that I'm somewhere without it it.  We're using leankit.com now, but not very efficiently.

As far as the Jira roadmap boxing you in, it is configurable. I think a lot of organizations just don't put the dedicated resources into managing it.  The first place I used it was aweful because it was never really configured beyond the default settings.   The last company though had a PM who spent 50% of his time managing Jira, integrating other software, configuring workflows, etc. 
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ober

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2020, 03:32:25 PM »
@Mike - yes, you can use Github easily.  We haven't migrated all of our github repos yet (but we're close) and they work just fine.  I will say that using the built-in repos make code reviews feel more integrated.  I think you'll find that there are just as many if not more reasons to use the repos in DevOps than not.  As for Aha!, if we didn't have a PM function we may just use Azure DevOps for the whole thing.  Aha is a little overblown for what we need but if you really need to capture all the info AROUND the actual development stuff, it's a good tool.  It can help your business align goals and priorities nicely as well.  PLUS it has an Azure DevOps integration (as well as JIRA I think).

I will say the more time you spend with JIRA the more you get out of it.  But other options provide all that WITHOUT spending the time.  JIRA is quickly becoming a plugin whore and leaving a lot of the development to the community while the core remains weak.  I'm tired of using tools that require me to go find all the bells and whistles to make it work well.

Mike

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2020, 03:56:45 PM »
For the larger projects there is definitely non-programming tasks that need to be captured and tracked.  For example, with the rewrite there were training sessions, documentation, help videos, and communications that all needed to be done.  Those were non-development tasks that needed to be done and tracked.  Plus, all of the pre-development work like requirements gathering, drafting the documents that detailed each piece, etc.  So, yeah, we kinda need more than just the dev component.

I really want to move on from Trello as we've grown way past it.  But with the recession not sure if now is the time since everything else costs money.

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2020, 10:35:04 PM »
Aha is more about Personas, Goals, calculating WSJF, etc.  It's less about task management as it is building a case and aligning it with strategic goals and direction.  I'm sure you could track some of that other stuff in there but that's not what we use it for.  All that stuff is generated by the training or marketing departments.  I suppose that's the benefit of working for a slightly larger company.

If Aha! is too much, I would maybe suggest something like https://www.liquidplanner.com/  Honestly that sounds more like something you need than Aha.

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2020, 08:23:03 AM »
Not a Jira fan either from my last 2 companies that used it...but I kind of miss it now that I'm somewhere without it it.  We're using leankit.com now, but not very efficiently.

As far as the Jira roadmap boxing you in, it is configurable. I think a lot of organizations just don't put the dedicated resources into managing it.  The first place I used it was aweful because it was never really configured beyond the default settings.   The last company though had a PM who spent 50% of his time managing Jira, integrating other software, configuring workflows, etc. 

Yeah, my company is like that. All of engineering uses it and I'm pretty sure we have a dedicated team that customizes it for our use. The nice part about it is how seriously it is used across all projects. You can always track dependencies and road maps because it has to be in Jira or it's not actually planned.

Mike

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2020, 08:45:36 AM »
Aha is more about Personas, Goals, calculating WSJF, etc.  It's less about task management as it is building a case and aligning it with strategic goals and direction.  I'm sure you could track some of that other stuff in there but that's not what we use it for.  All that stuff is generated by the training or marketing departments.  I suppose that's the benefit of working for a slightly larger company.

If Aha! is too much, I would maybe suggest something like https://www.liquidplanner.com/  Honestly that sounds more like something you need than Aha.
Thanks for the suggestion.  Liquid Planner looks a lot like smartsheets.

At our place, we had a PM contractor who over the last couple of years has worked to train up the rest of us on PM tasks and thinking before he retires.  At this stage, if a project is a tech project then we are going to manage the project.  We'll have marketing do the marketing stuff but we are responsible for bringing them in at the right time and making sure it gets done.

ober

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Re: Projects planning
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2020, 10:54:46 AM »
LiquidPlanner is a lot like smartsheets but more powerful.  The planning portion is more like MS Project.  You can really build out timelines and priorities and stuff.  My only issue is that it sort of casts a 'waterfall' light on the project and gets you in that mindset vs. being more agile.  You end up planning out more than you should and all of a sudden you're working towards dates instead of functionality.  That's my only caution with tools like that.