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Greets! This might be a bit of a broad question but I'll try to keep it simple.

I'm working with a team of somewhat fresh game developers and we've already completed our first "large sized" project, so we've got some clear points regarding do's and don't do's. Still, this project was done with virtually no project management and organization.

To get to the point, I'd like to get into PM to help better organize our team on future projects. I should mention that I (nor anyone in the team) have absolutely no experience in PM. I've tried about two dozen PM programs and none seem to fit our requirements. As we're getting into the whole PM organizing, we'd like to start simple and small. Some features that I believe we would need are:

  • A very simple and clear visual, interactive representation of the project (an interactive Gantt chart for example)
  • Online availability, offering all team members the ability to log in and view Gantt charts, calendars and reports with limited or no editing accessibility. Or, being able to export a graphical report in an HTML/XML or similar widespread format onto a shared server/mail list.
  • The ability to timely notify or remind each team member of the deadlines and a user-friendly way of graphically showing all the exceeding deadlines/problems for the project manager.

These are just things that come to mind. Collaborative software options aren't really needed so far as all the artists, programmers and other members are at the same location with somewhat frequent meetings. I've read some of the other related questions here and they do indeed give some helpful insight into the matter, but it's still all looking rather intimidating and overly complicated at this time. Seeing as we'll probably have about 30+ people (total, not at all times) working on a new game, organizing the whole project seems crucial.

So, any software recommendations, other forms of project management, tips etc. are more than welcome. Thank you!

closed as not constructive by jmort253 Jun 22 '13 at 4:57

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  • If you're programming in C++ or a .Net language, then I suggest Team Foundation Server (preferably the cloud version, rather than hosted). – Andrew Clear May 15 '13 at 17:04
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    Tool recommendations are discouraged by the FAQ; a conclusion that has been recently revalidate din meta discussion. – Mark C. Wallace Jun 21 '13 at 16:11
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The really important thing not to underplay is that you have a team that has already been successful in delivering a non trivial project. It sounds like there are things that you want to improve, but it should be possible to tweak this process with small incremental steps rather than needing to resort to wholesale changes.

Is it a requirement that everything is available on line? Since everyone is co-located I'd suggest avoiding formal management software until you absolutely have to. The lighter weight you can make the tools the more adaptable your solution, this makes it more likely that your tools will mirror your process rather than your process be dictated by your tools.

I'd suggest using something as simple as a wiki or an online spreadsheet for shared persistent state with white boards and post its for day to day task management. Daily stand ups for functional team keeps everyone on the same page and provides a quick way to identify risks to the project.

What you eventually decide upon will be specific to your situation - here's a description of a light weight method for task tracking using a Kanban board that might give you some ideas. http://fragile.org.uk/2010/01/kanban-in-practice/

Neil

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I think you're going about this backwards. Don't invest in any project management software until you've codified what worked (and didn't work) about your previous project. As neilj said, you've already delivered something, and that's no small feat, so obviously you're 90+% of the way to Ultimate Success.

You'll get far better results if you look at your recently-completed project and identify what went well (and, just as important, what sucked). Then take the top few practices and ideas that worked really well and codify them ("this is how we do X"), and identify the few worst problems and try and come up with ways to eliminate or mitigate them.

If at some point you think that a software program might help in a particular way, then go looking for one. One of my favourite management books ("Up The Organisation"), has a great quote about premature automation (it probably sounds a little outdated, but you've got to account for it having been written in the 60s):

I'ver never known a company seriously injured by automating too slowly but there are some classic cases of companies bankrupted by computerizing prematurely.

The problem with premature automation is that when you commit a process to the tender ministrations of the computer, it's made incredibly rigid and inflexible. Sometimes that's great, but when you're not sure it's the right thing to do, it can become a terrible rod for your own back.

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Team Task Manager might be what you are looking for. We use it daily to track projects and tasks, very intuitive and no learning curve. Inexpensive, and a free trial is available on their website - http://www.deskshare.com/team-task-management.aspx

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What you're asking for is quite simple and can actually be done with any groupware, i'd recommend FengOffice. I'd advise adding some good productivity measurement software as well (like ProjectCodeMeter), and of course a version control system like SVN (if you don't already have one).

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We are a small team of game developers and we landed on Teamwork (http://www.twproject.com).

What convinced me to adopt it is that it doesn't force you to use a specific methodology, at the end we use a mix of old-fashioned waterfall with a touch of Agile in particular for issue management.

The notification system is quite helpful but keeping schedule and cost under control and accessible to the team is a real value!.

The reading of Teamwork's user manual has been useful as the first part is a sort of work management intro.

We use Teamwork installed on our server, but it is also available on cloud (if I remember correctly).

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We are a middle-sized web develpment company, and we use Basecamp (http://www.basecamp.com) for project management. Doesn't have Gandtt charts, which we initially thought were essential, but it makes up for this minimalistic approach with a great usability (in fact it's the first PM software that wasn't harsh to spread among our team.

We added time tracking (which isn't available on Basecamp) using Timeneye (http://www.timeneye.com). In fact, you can find a whole bunch of extras for Basecamp: there are reporting tools too.

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