10

We are currently implementing Team Foundation Server as our source control, and this has lead to more research into project management, as it offers many features in that arena.

We currently believe Sharepoint Foundation Server is too cumbersome even though it integrates with TFS. I am now checking up on Microsoft Project 2010, but I'm not sure if it is as useful without the Project Server portion.

I am looking for free to relatively cheap solutions, but all suggestions are welcome.

Our team make up is 2-3 project managers, and 14 developers. We each have 2-5 projects that we are always working on, and 90% of the time, it is one team member per project.

Thank you in advance for your help!

7

I would start with a question what exactly your problem is. We don't introduce project management methods for the sake of introducing them but to organize our projects better.

In environment you describe I believe the first problem is coordinating different projects and not managing any single one of them. If most of your projects are covered by only a single developer most of the time your project management effort should be focused on:

  • planning, as that's what tells a developer what to do
  • monitoring, as that's what tells you how well (or bad) you're going
  • risk management, as that's what helps you to avoid issues

In one-man project either of those can be dealt with using very simple methods and rarely project management tools would help you much with them. Good plan isn't built thanks to a tool but is merely written down using one. Monitoring with one person can be as simple as daily water-cooler chit chat. Same with risk management.

From what I see the key challenge here is coordinating different projects/tasks among the team. A very simple solution which can help you here is Kanban. You can pretty easily visualize and organize tasks you have among different projects. You can adjust the method to the way you work. Even if you don't apply every principle, like limiting work in progress, Kanban should help you to coordinate team's effort.

And the best thing is it costs you nothing as long as you have whiteboard/cork board and a bunch of sticky notes. I assume here that the team is co-located. It you are distributed you will likely need software Kanban board, but that should still be pretty cheap solution.

  • Thank you for your thorough answer. One problem is definitely a lack of organization of our projects. They are assigned by various people, and are often back of a napkin statements of work. I'll look into Kanban now. – IronicMuffin Aug 10 '11 at 19:50
6

Prior to looking for a piece of project management software I would start by looking at how your team works.

  • How do your project managers interact with your customers?
  • How do your project managers communicate requirements to your developers?
  • How do you measure success?

It's not uncommon to have multiple irons in the fire, and there are processes and techniques that a team can implement to better manage their activities. Pawel mentioned Kanban and I will mention SCRUM. If you don't choose either that is fine, but prior to moving to a piece of software to manage your tasks start with paper & a whiteboard.

On a separate thought, has your company or team considered splitting your "one development team" into smaller dedicated units? A team of 14 can be split several ways but two teams of 4 and a team of 6 along with a dedicated PM for each seem like it could be a starting point. It's easier to manage tasks with a smaller group of dedicated resources. Your teams will be faster along with making higher quality software.

  • +1 for not doing 14 projects at once when 3 projects could be released and making you value already. – Lunivore Oct 14 '11 at 9:37
2

Check out some of the answers for the PM-Software tag. They provide good lists of applications.

-2

I'd recommend you to check out proofhub. It’s a powerful tool that blends project management and online collaboration software. Features like time tracking, sub tasks, gantt chart, calendar and chat makes it very easy to use. Currently proofhub provides user interface in 5 languages including English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, Polish. With simple pricing model without “per user” charges, proofhub is an affordable and attractive tool.

  • Hello, welcome to PMSE. As your answer stands now, it's purely a spam as the features it contains are pretty much the same as the ones mentioned by the original poster. Would be good to explain what are the differences on this tool that are not covered on the original tools mentioned. Besides, if you have any sort of affiliation with the tool, is good to disclose it. Thanks! – Tiago Cardoso May 29 '14 at 19:59
  • Besides, there's an already deleted answer suggesting the very same tool. Unless we have explicit reasons to keep this as a valid answer, this answer is likely to be deleted as well. Cheers – Tiago Cardoso May 29 '14 at 20:00

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