I am an Engineering undergrad and I am working towards establishing a 8-10 person team for a 6-8 month long academic research project.
We will be starting the groundwork for the project in September and initially, due to time constraints, we will be working slowly. From January to April, will be when we will be able to do most of the work related to the project as the time constraint will get removed.
Uptil December, we will only be doing on-paper R&D. All practical work will start from January.
The project deadline is April end.
The project is a cross-department engineering project. The project has a very steep learning curve for all of us involved and there will be lots and lots of mistakes and time overruns on our part.
The team members are from four different engineering departments, only 4 of whom have previously participated in cross-department projects (but on a much smaller scale). None of us have any experience working on this scale or budget, or of the necessary project management required.
Also, we do not have a faculty adviser till January.
I will be working on the project in multiple roles. One, working in my domain area, and two, as the unofficial* project manager.
*At the moment.
So, my questions :
- What project management methodology would be effective and have low overheads as well as be easy to understand by everybody involved?
- What application or tool would be recommended for managing the project, keeping in mind that the team will be meeting infrequently till December, and hence the medium must allow for remote collaboration?
- How important is it to have a person acting as a project manager on the team? Is there a need to make this role explicit?
- Briefly, what will be the responsibilities of the project manager for a project of this scale and size?
Based on certain discussions, we have decided to use either Spiral model or Agile. Spiral model is something that most members of the team are (conceptually) familiar with. Agile will be new for all of us, both conceptually and practically.
Out of these two, which one would be preferable?