Simple Management, an agile project management tool

Depending on the type of project, eXtreme Management and SCRUM are the methods that we apply more frequently, can we improve at the tool level?

simple_management_team.jpegAbstract realizes projects for its customers, and we constantly strive to improve our management process.

Part of this improvement is tied to the tools we use: the glorious eXtreme Management, developed by Zest using Plone, and ScrumDo, based on Django, along the years proved to be good fellow travellers. In our toolbox we also have POI tracker, and Plone for all our documentation and management needs [*].

[*]: project scaffolding; users, permissions and workflow management; project cards, requirements and project documents.

Managing the Project

At the beginning of each project, the manager creates an XM project where to collect all the important documents, a POI tracker for generic requests and communications, the iterations used to translate requirements into activities to develop, on which the booking is tracked.

Honestly, without this tools I couldn't manage our projects at ease as I am used to.

Having used XM for years, at first sight ScrumDo was a very promising option, but after a while we discovered that it was difficult to bend ScrumDo to our workflow. That's the reason why we just use it occasionally, actually.

Sparkling in action: the new born of an open source project

During our last summer holidays I asked my mates Giorgio and Simone to spend a few hours to add some missing use cases to our XM portal. I was really confident that it would have taken less than half a day of work.

Here's their answer:

Simone: "Why don't we rebuild from scratch XM just like we want it, and in the middle we fit ScrumDo?"

Giorgio: "no way.. Mizio just asked us to spend half a day on it.. you're asking me to work.. seriously.. I'm lazy, you know!"

Simone: "c'monnnn... it will be a joke to do it with Dexterity, I gave a look at the js code already!.. in a week we'll be done! :D"

Giorgio: "no way! looks like a crazy idea.. I'll give Mizio a call.."

Since that moment, having heard my "sceptical" opinion, they started to work, anyway, Simone in front, gaining himself the nickname of "Sparkling", and Giorgio following him.. and here you find what they came up with: https://github.com/abstract-open-solutions/abstract.simplemanagement.

NB: we have a policy package [https://github.com/abstract-open-solutions/simplemanagement.policy] which also provides a profile to populate the portal with some dummy content.

Let's have a look at SimpleManagement

Still not 100% ready for Abstract needs, when you create a project you already get:

  • automatic creation of documentation folder, POI tracker and project form
  • iterations where you can load/move/work on stories in agile mood ala ScrumDo
  • planning view to move/clone stories between different iterations in agile mood
  • user dashboard where stories and ticket relevant to the user show up
  • booking on the stories (no need to create tasks as mandatory in XM, too often a level/layer too far for our needs)

Here's a quick demo of how it works at the moment:

 

Some of the missing bits

  • set convenient permissions to different roles
    some views for effectively reporting booking (list, calendar, per project, per resource)
    add dates on stories and build a calendar view
    planning poker view
    set convenient permissions to different roles
  • some views for effectively reporting booking (list, calendar, per project, per resource)
  • add dates on stories and build a calendar view
  • planning poker view

Also, I'd like to replace POI Tracker with something more modern and integrated, and we are open for feedback and suggestions. Nonetheless, the idea is to base it on Plone (the tickets lists approach ala Trac/Redmine has never bought us, don't ask me why).

So, if you are interested on working to get this project done, we are ready to move it to a new name in collective space. You are welcome to use it and contribute!

PS: during the Conference I gave a lightning talk using this slides.

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