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Koobazaur

Task and Timeline management tools?

14 posts in this topic

I'm working on creating a complete task list and timeline for my game project and of course, google doc spreadsheets only get you so far, so I'm looking for recommendations of what other people use. I am considering an agile SCRUM-based development plan.

At my old company we used to use Mantis Bugtracker which was great for bugs, time estimates and assigning tasks, but not really good for timelines or overall planning. There's also OnTime geared for SCRUM, perfect pick, but it's a paid option with a trial.

Anything else? Basically looking for something to create tasks/"user stories" with description, category (code, audio, graphics, writing etc.), estimated time and maybe few extra fields (priority? optional), and then arrange them on an a timeline maybe on a per-week basis. And, of course, tick-off when a task is done. Users and task-assignmen would be nice but not essential (can be just mentioned in description, it's a small project).

Thanks for suggestions!
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* bump *

No input on this :/ ??

I've been doing some googling and comping up with lots of those semi-fake blog posts that list like best 10 apps. lots of choices out there but was hoping for some recommendations instead of downloading potenitally tens of shady programs to see if they fit the bill.. Edited by Koobazaur
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Here you go....http://agilescout.com/best-agile-scrum-tools/

 

reviews of tons of tools...some free, some not  (I didn't read them, could be a fake site, but they at least listed a LOT of the tools out there)

 

We used to use xPlanner at my last startup (one of the free ones on the list)....worked fine when we were small, but outgrew it when the team hit around 50..probably outgrew it before then, but thats when it got painful and we switched.    Based on the screen shot on the review site though looks like its had some major changes...

 

The dev team (which I'm no longer part of) now uses Version1.    Its most certainly not free, but well we got acquired 6 years ago and now the company has 55,000 employees so that wasn't as much a concern anymore smile.png     They seem to really like it and it integrates with lots of our other systems.

 

Bear in mind this is for Enterprise software, not games...but wouldn't think that would matter for a tool like this

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The company I work for recently made the switch from Trac (free) to Jira (Paid; hosted or downloadable) which both can do what you describe in the OP. Trac needs a bit of customizing and some plugins and macros which can be a bit time-consuming until you get it right while Jira has it all inbuilt.

Trac was good for us for quite some time and it did the job until the dev-team got bigger, more projects came aboard and we generally needed to work and rely more on the issue-tracking and planning.

Jira is generally easier to use (especially for non-techies) as well as i has a already integrated "agile" mode which makes working with it easier and more fun. The close integration with the documentation-system "confluence" is also a pro. Said that Jira has its drawbacks most of all being slow and some quirks in the UI.

 

Considering the monthly fee one has to pay versus free software that is hosted inhouse a rough estimate of the ToC might be worth it. A free software package might be even more expensive in the end if you need to buy extra hardware to run it on and if you do the server maintenance yourself (getting less time on your projects) or hire somebody to do it for you.

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I used Redmine, which is great, apart from the whole Ruby/Ruby on Rails thing which means terrible security implications as of late. I used to really like JIRA but can't afford to pay for a plan.

 

I never liked Trac - too clunky, only really usable by programmers unless you put a lot of effort into it.

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I use Jira in the "corporate world", but for other projects, I use a physical wall plain and simply. It remains the most agile tool to date and it can be adjusted realtime (works wonderfully unless some team members are away).

Trello works too, but its not perfect.

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Hmm I looked at the options and Trello seems to be the closest, but nothing quite seems to do what I want:

* Trello - good for creating and managing tasks BUT majorly lacks in terms of task customiziation (no tags, only 6 pre-defined labels, no custom fields, no time estimates)
* ChilliProject / Redmine / Track / Mantis - lacking in terms of timelining, cumbersome to use for non-coders, and requires Ruby
* PivotalTracker - almost exactly what I need, except it automatically splits tasks into sprints and does not support separate departments (a sprint includes ALL tasks even if they are done by different people at different velocities)
* GanntProject - nice graphic capabilities but becomes really cumbersome with many tasks spread across a long timeline (numerous weeks/sprints). Plus, mainly desktop non-collaborative solution
* Jira + Grasshopper - looks good but also isn't free so holding off on that for the time being. I got a webserver but couldnt host their flat-fee solution myself (no spare PC that can run reliable 24/7).

I think I'll stick to Trello for the time being and as the needs grow maybe consider Jira?
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On my current project, we're using Smart Sheet, which is basically like a browser-based alternative to Excel + Project. The project manager has a paid account, and everyone else just has trial accounts, which let them work inside the manager's files.

 

You can do some decent customization in their spreadsheets, but for some complex reports we export their data and plug it into an Excel book designed to read/analyze it.

Edited by Hodgman
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In regards to Trello time estimating...

 

If you use google docs with Trello, you might be able to mine the cards/lists for info related to the checklists.  Basically using a checklist to form an estimate of time (define each checklist entry as a day, half day, or hour).  Then mine the card for the number of checks remaining (versus initial count) as the project progresses.  This will give you initial estimate, and velocity if mapped against days.

 

http://kevinpelgrims.com/blog/2012/03/06/project-progress-tracking-with-google-docs-and-trello

 

Ex:

 

- We have a IPAD GAME board.

- On that board we have a GAME PROTOTYPE list (among other lists related to concepting and full development) 

- On that GAME PROTOTYPE list, we have a GRAPHICS ENGINE card.

- On that GRAPHICS ENGINE card I estimate 10 days to complete the engine.  I create a detailed description of what I intend to do, and place a checklist with 10 items, each called "1 day of work complete."

- As the prototype progresses I check off each day of work.  

- Other team members check off their progress as well for ARTWORK and GAMEPLAY on the same prototype card.

- If I need more days I add another day to the checklist.

- My manager is subscribed to the card so he is notified of any changes I make.

 

 

I haven't needed to do this yet, but I imagine implementing this in the next few months.  Or looking for a paid solution.

 

My team is always in google docs and google drive/chat, so using Trello in this manner makes sense.  But we're very small.  Have no experience with Trello's signal/noise ratio with large teams.

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Our team at Wicked Loot uses Pivotal Trackers. Works fine for a team smaller than 10 if you are an agile based developer. It's easy to use and our whole team uses it to manage our tasks for the week. Their velocity system, which estimates how much work you can get done in a week, requires you to stay on top of task tracking, otherwise it doesn't work. It can't quite parse through a lot of tasks, so if your project gets bigger, you might want to opt for a system that handles project tracking and bug tracking all in one, like Redmine.

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I use Assembla.com. I think it's great for what you're looking for. We've been using it for around 6 months. The version we use is $190, but you can do a free one with just 3 members I think. Even that price is not too bad if you're serious about it and can't find something else just as good for free. I'll attach a screenshot of my workspace in Assembla.

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I've been using Scrumwise for school projects. Really easy to work with and very visual. I think it's perfect for a small project. Although I haven't got much experience with other online SCRUM tools, so can't really make a good comparison. Scrumwise appealed most to our team when we had to choose between SCRUM tools.

 

- I now see someone necro'ed this, err

Edited by marijnz
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I personaly use Todolist. No scrum. It s a free program.

 

-I was mainly interested in the task hierarchy, like a tree.

 

-There is a timer. So I use it to evaluate and improve my own work.

 

-There is a progress percentage based on the hierarchy.

 

 

todolist.png

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