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CODE4LIB  February 2012

CODE4LIB February 2012

Subject:

Re: Project Management Software Question

From:

Alexander Johannesen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 22:02:03 +1100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (62 lines)

Hiya,

> --What project management software are you using?

Semantic MediaWiki, xSiteable

> --What made you choose the system?

Most project management software is written by geeks, not for humans. They
all propose some methodology to go with their model, but either their model
is inflexible (and crashing with yours), or it is so flexible that any tool
might do the trick. Also, they are notoriously hard to configure on a
cumulative scale of the people involved. Also, people hate putting in their
data, so most software, even if they might just do the trick, fails for
human reasons.

So, a simple wiki with some added ontology cruff, and xSiteable delivering
semantics and widgets across all people is enough. Simple todo's beat
complex task management every time.

> --Has the system met all of your needs? If not, where does it fail?

It only fails when we need average to higher degree of data, again, a human
problem. Oh, and it sometimes fails because the MediaWiki GUI sucks for
non-geeks. I think Confluence is better and overal pretty good.

> --Overall opinions?

I could write you a sonnett or two, but I have very little trust in
software helping much in project management (after having tried them all
over a span of 20 years). A joint platform for documentation (and for
heavens' sake, choose a Wiki that has a usable interface!)

In fact, you'd be *far* better off getting "Making stuff happen" by Scott
Berkun (
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0596517718?tag=scottberkunco-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0596517718&adid=1B6JF6HWHDT0S5RYZNNM),
the best book I ever got. Honest, I'm not affiliated. :)

> --What systems did you evaluate and decide not to recommend?

Hmm, I think I've tried too many. I'm sure there's software out there that
doesn't suck (ie. I hear good things about a few here and there), but far
too often do I see this usability parred with human engagement problem crop
up and ruin the best of software packages.

> Any information would be great!

Sorry to be so glum. I'm more happy with simpler approaches such as
"project on a page" (ie. one Wiki page with short description, people,
contacts, goals, and progress) and more agile ways of dealing with
requirements and development (reduces the need for approved paper, easier
to roll back bad decisions, etc.). The closest I get to a Gant chart is
that one of our vendors insists on sending me one every now and then,
despite that he has to come into the office and explain it to people every
single time.

In other words; use software to document and drive forward, never use
software to measure progress and estimates.

Regards,

Alex (disgruntled ex-beliver in project management software)

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