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Suppose I was working on a 3 months web development project, alone. And I had to start developing everything from scratch. I had to perform each and every activity that a software development life cycle required.

How would I manage this project? What would I do to improve the quality of the project and be on track? What are the processes that would help me achieve the target?

I know that MS Project helps the project to be managed. And I know how to use that software. But how would I do it all by myself?

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    are you working on a 3 month web dev project or is this a hypothetical from a homework assignment? – Mark Phillips Sep 23 '12 at 13:06
  • @MarkPhillips I am really working on that project. – deepz Sep 23 '12 at 14:34
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How would I manage this project?

Have a look at personal Kanban. The idea is quite simple (you have a board with the work items, the different phases are represented by columns and in order to move things forward you set limits on the columns) and can wonderfully be used with trello.

What would I do to improve the quality of the project and be on track?

Tracking won't improve your project (you won't loose weight by measuring it). Most probably, you have a customer or a client. Have frequent discussions over the latest version of your web site, let the customer use it and discuss the experiences.

What are the processes that would help me achieve the target?

  • frequent discussion with the customer
  • testing
  • checking similar projects on the web and see how they are doing it (you may get some good ideas which will bring you forward)
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    Thank you for your response. You have been very helpful to me, even in my previous questions. I appreciate that so much. I visited the websites you gave me. It's a very helpful learning material for me as I have never come across such materials. And I never knew there actually is a website for managing projects. Your explanation is very clear. I have understood. Thank you so very much. God bless you :) – deepz Sep 24 '12 at 9:15
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    your welcome and good luck ;-) – Zsolt Sep 24 '12 at 9:21
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    Thanks. I will make sure that I write your name and website in my bibliography. – deepz Sep 24 '12 at 9:22
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I like Zsolt's advice, but I would add just a bit (but keep in mind my background is NOT s/w dev).

All projects, regardless of size, share some common traits. Primarily is the idea of scope, or in the case of s/w dev, requirements or capabilities. Then there's obviously cost and schedule. These don't determine success, but they give you some parameters for going forward.

So treat it like any other project - define the expected capabilities at present. I say capabilities to avoid the 'some parts of scope are unknown discussion' and 'at present' to allow for emerging requirements as the project progresses. but get clear on where you're headed for now. Then break it down into the different deliverables/components, and the then work required for each, and roughly schedule that out.

I will disagree with Zsolt on one aspect - he said tracking won't improve it. Okay, perhaps not 'improve' it, but as you said you have a "3 month" project, some element of tracking against expected progress is necessary, just to make sure you finish as agreed.

One last piece - MSProject will NOT help you manage the project. At best, a program like MSP help you 'track' and/or plan the project. But that's ONLY if the information in it is accurate, and updated to reflect progress. On a 3 month, one person project it's overkill. It will most likely take you more time to update it than will be useful. You may want to use it to work up the WBS and rough out the schedule, and then to refer back to. But (IMO) you would be better served to rough it out in MSP for a baseline of workflow and target dates, and then switch to Zsolt's Kanban recommendation for the day to day tracking and monitoring, and maybe refer back to MSP to gauge progress against how you originally planned it.

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    I find functional specifications (as describe by Joel Spolsky joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000036.html) to extremely useful in defining scope in software development projects. – SBWorks Sep 25 '12 at 1:54
  • the small differences. To me, "improving" means improving the quality of the project, and that won't happen by tracking. I agree that tracking is a must if one would like to know whether the project is on schedule or not, and the gathered information can help schedule the next project. – Zsolt Sep 25 '12 at 8:01
  • @SBWorks I read that article and I have understood it. I will definitely apply it in my project. Thank you so much. – deepz Sep 25 '12 at 9:28
  • @Trevor Thank you for your response. I will use both MSP and Kanban for my project. – deepz Sep 25 '12 at 9:34

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