I am a student developer team leading a comparatively small project with no experience in management. My team consists of a dozen students with little experience in development and little to no experience in management. So my questions are:

  • What methodology is suitable for a team like this, Agile or Scrum, or something else?
  • What management tool should I use? Since we are students, something free would be preferable. Is Trello ok to start with?
  • What other pieces of advice can you give me?
  • Could you give a little more information please. Will the team all be working in the same location? Who is supplying the requirements for your project? What format will the requirements be in? – Barnaby Golden Apr 3 '16 at 20:31
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    If you have a specific problem, please go ahead and ask that instead. As currently written, your question is both too broad and too opinion-based to be answerable. – Todd A. Jacobs Apr 3 '16 at 22:02
  • We are all from the same city, but since we don't have an office, each of us will be working from home. The plan is to have team meetings every once in a while, but we'll see each other on campus during lectures, so we could "unofficially", during breaks, discuss the project. It is an internal project of a student association and I am the initiator. I already made a list of features that the app will have, and roughly separated them in 3 stages (working demo, v1.0 and more advanced features), but I'll also plan to discuss these with the rest of the team. Hope this clears it a bit. – makons Apr 4 '16 at 23:59

What other pieces of advice can you give me?

Before you start managing:

  • Have a clear definition of what you are trying to accomplish. (Specs).
  • Break down the project into manageable milestones that can be tested and delivered. (Your roadmap.)
  • Have a clear list of tasks and who will do them. (This will also give you a sense of schedule.)
  • Make sure you have a bug tracking system and a software repository (like SVN or GitHub or similar.)
  • Make sure you have a tester who can start by reviewing the specs.

Every day:

  • Review your original list of tasks, as well as action items from meetings.
  • Review the bug list and assign important bugs and close irrelevant ones.
  • Check that code is being checked into the software repository and that it compiles.
  • Make sure everybody knows what they are supposed to be doing. Find out what bothers them from getting their job done and take care of it.


  • Don't have meetings that don't have a clear agenda and purpose.
  • Don't let meetings drift off the agenda. You can always call a second meeting for right after the first one with the new agenda.
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When you have no experience, don't try to use complex methodologies or management tools. Otherwise, you can never finish your small project because of tons of new information and techniques.

  • You have no time to doing SCRUM appropriately, I suppose. So, use Agile principles and choose several techniques like pair programming (can be done remotely with tools like ScreenHero), iterations (sprints), continuous integration. After you feel comfortable with it - get another 1-2 techniques and so on.
  • Trello will be good start point. Don't forget to use some services to host and share your code (like GitHub/Bitbucket).
  • Try to complete small tasks frequently, instead of fighting with huge task. It is useful for many reasons like motivation, education, early feedback on the status of the project etc.
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