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Project Management software

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hi, i''m learing to be a project manger, but i can''t figure out what one would use excel and microsoft project for in game development other than accounting, which isn''t exactly project management? anyone know? please reply to ash@ashleymonif.com iconoclast

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Task subdivision, delegation and completion dates
Timelines
Group specific goal tracking
Budget

You can use just Excel along for all of those and many more things. A good spreadsheet is an invaluable tool.

Charles Galyon

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Guest Anonymous Poster
At my company, we use project to graph out expected completion time, versus our deadlines. When we see one project member''s bar sticking out toward the right side of the page, we know to offload some of his work onto less buried members.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Siebharinn
Go read <a href="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000245.html"> this</a>. It explains why Project doesn''t work that well for software.

Actually, read everything on that site.

Take care,
Bill


I dunno. Sounds like a craby programmer that''s had a few bad managers to me. He seems to bitch more than provide concrete reasons why his approach is the correct one.

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I disagree with the Anonymous Poster.

The article isn''t a "Don''t use Project" rant. It''s a well-thought-out presentation of how to do project scheduling in Excel. It just also happens to include a paragraph on why MS Project is overkill and perhaps ill-suited to the task. Don''t focus on the negative when it occuppies less than 5% of the total article.


DavidRM
Samu Games

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There might be a reason why he prefers Excel - the guy worked on the Excel 4.0 team

The world holds two classes of men -- intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence. Abu''l-Ala-Al-Ma''arri (973-1057; Syrian poet)

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Thank you everyone for your replies. I''m taking all of your feedback into consideration and I feel better prepared to explore how to use both of these programs for the tasks that I usually do on paper.

One more question: I have a resume, but what would comprise of a "reel" or portfolio for a Project Manager? Would I submit urls of the games I worked on? Or a VHS tape of the games I made?






iconoclast

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You just need a resume which lists the titles you have worked on. A reel or protfolio is for artists to show the range of their work in the same way that Programmers will send demos. Both their roles are more creative so it is important for them to supply examples. Project management is a mangement role so a list of titles will do.

Dan Marchant
Obscure Productions

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Read the article. He's a moron and obviously has one or both of the following traits:

1) He is an unorganized, undisciplined loose cannon.
2) He has no clue as to how to use Project to it's highest ability.

In my company we have a master Project file that contains all the individual files for various products we are working on. They all share the same resource pool (though I wish I could have more of me to draw from). Right now, our current batch of work extends out to the middle of 2003. What came in handy was when we decided to change the priority of one project over another so as to take advantage of some slack time on the part of the lead designer (me). Just by changing the priorities on the 2 projects and re-leveling the tasks, it gave us a completely new snapshot of what are timelines were... which delayed the end of one project a few months, but moved a very important revenue stream up by 6 months (making money is good!)

The best part of it is, I can at a glance see where time is being spent or where there is down time to include other things. I can try different scenarios by just changing a number here or there and having the program re-level the rest of the tasks. (e.g. What if that particualar series of coding tasks takes 10 days rather than 5? Is there a better way of structuring the rest of the project around it so as not to have downtime for other people waiting for that series of tasks to be completed?)

To sum up, Project is good for projects - Excel is good for crunching numbers. Too many people out there are addcited to Excel for all the wrong applications. Sure, you could use Excel... but you could also use a quill pen. It just depends on what level of functionality you want to have. Your choice.

Dave Mark
Intrinsic Algorithm Development

"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

Edited by - InnocuousFox on March 1, 2002 12:14:08 PM

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The trouble with project is that the damn thing hardly ever works. How many times have you releveled and found a task that refuses to move for what seems to be no reason, forcing you to move things by hand.

Microsoft has a much simpler PM program once called Team Manager, which worked and was ideal. Unfortunately they stopped supporting it after 97, directing all resources on to Project.

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I''m surprised nobody has mentioned Alienbrain in the context of this thread. Isn''t it a project management package designed specifically for game development??

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quote:
Original post by JonnyBoy
The trouble with project is that the damn thing hardly ever works. How many times have you releveled and found a task that refuses to move for what seems to be no reason, forcing you to move things by hand.


Hmpf... whenever I had a problem, I always managed to find out why it was there - and was usually a more logical reason than I thought.



Dave Mark
Intrinsic Algorithm Development

"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

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www.alienbrain.com

Excerpt:

NXN is the leading supplier of Digital Production Management (DPM) solutions for development teams in the fast-growing interactive entertainment, new media and animation markets. We provide software and expertise to top companies like Sony Online Entertainment, Electronic Arts and Infogrames.

Using our solutions these industry leaders are improving their work processes and increasing the productivity of their development teams.


Edited by - Tacit on March 3, 2002 7:46:55 PM

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quote:
Original post by InnocuousFox
Read the article. He''s a moron and obviously has one or both of the following traits:

1) He is an unorganized, undisciplined loose cannon.
2) He has no clue as to how to use Project to it''s highest ability.


Read the rest of his articles on that site, and his resumè. He might be opinionated, but he''s clearly not a moron.



The computer was conceived as a tool to reduce complexity. Some people found this loss of complexity unacceptable, and developed UNIX to reintroduce it.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I had thought that Alienbrain was just an asset management/version control tool, like clearcase or sourcesafe.

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Yes AlienBrain is an asset manager, handling both code and gfx. We had them demo it at our place, it was very good, but expensive.

If I remember correctly it was something like £5000 for the server module, and £1500 pound per seat. £=$1.45 (ish).

The intention is that every team member (gfx and code) would require a seat.



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Roll your own! At least for code, the Mozilla system works very well. You have CVS for code storage and versioning, Bugzilla for feature and bug tracking, LXR (modified) to view code over an intranet or the internet, Tinderbox (to test whether it''ll build or burn), and Bonsai (for tree control -- get it?).

While art/music/whatever asset management is missing, I''m sure that there are free and open systems for that, too. If you can''t find one on SourceForge, then rig up your own as a layer on top of CVS.

Lastly, managing people on the project can be done with something as simple as a web-based groupware project such as phpGroupWare on Apache or similar systems. The best should support calendar synchronization and management adhering to the iCalendar RFCs. Once the Mozilla Calendar meets it''s requirements (we''re hoping so soon), you have your complete group management system.

There''s no way I''d be paying in to the tens of thousands for project management when with a little elbow grease, I can have something just as strong, completely modifiable, and completely free.

Plus, if you find and fix problems, you can make contributions back to the people managing the components of your management system.

Thus is the glory of open source. Which I support, because it can cut costs without much loss of efficiency. Do your part, and support it too.


Chris ''coldacid'' Charabaruk <ccharabaruk@meldstar.com> <http://www.meldstar.com/~ccharabaruk/>
Meldstar Studios <http://www.meldstar.com/> - Creation, cubed.

This message double ROT-13 encrypted for additional security.

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Hmm...seems like according to a recent press release, NxN is positioning Alienbrain as a tool for project management.

"The NXN alienbrain DPM system helps development teams streamline their projects by simplifying project management, improving workflow and providing secure and easy access to project content. Just recently, NXN announced a line-up of product extensions for NXN alienbrain that enhance project and studio management as well as bug-tracking functionality."

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