I’m starting a new venture. It’s big. In fact, it’s so big that it needs to be managed for the following reasons:
- Capture stories/tasks whenever and wherever they are realized.
- Figure overall length of project based on estimates.
I must have come across around twenty potential software candidates for project management. Ended up diving into (or had experience) with four.
Hansoft was the project management software widely adopted towards the latter part of my EA experience. It has a huge amount of extensibility and is easy to use the keyboard for data entry. The downside to all of this is that Hansoft is a native app for your desktop. It means having to run your own server and you are not able to access it from your phone, so that means that I cannot capture thoughts anywhere. Some of the best thoughts can happen away from a formal setting.
I was initially excited about trying this out because it is made by the same people who run Bitbucket and Confluence – two pieces of software I am also considering. It would mean better chance of nice integrations between everything. Alas, the views were disappointing – I felt like I was bouncing around from screen-to-screen way too often. It really caused data entry to go very slow. It was also difficult to introduce dependencies. I felt like the issue tracking software Jira was being blurred with the management software Agile.
Verdict: Skip it
This is the second time I have tinkered with a Zoho product – the first was related to integrating their CRM into a website. Anyway, Zoho has a ton of cool features overall, but their design feels like it is stuck in 1999. I was not crazy about this software either. Data entry was annoying – there were no keyboard shortcuts to tab, skip, navigate, etc. There was also no way to drag stories/tasks for reordering. It was like Zoho was telling me I had to plan out my entire project from beginning to end without messing up. If Zoho does not change, they will become irrelevant as businesses run by older folks die off or are transferred to younger folks who treat modern tech as the norm.
Verdict: Skip it
I have been blown away by the simplicity of Trello. Use boards, lists, cards, and checklists to organize projects, goals, stories, and tasks. It can be easily configured to organize by resource, status, etc. Although dependencies do not support start-start, start-finish, finish-start, and finish-finish, you can get a decent idea by dragging cards (or any of the elements) for reordering. On top of it, there are plenty of add-ons available that extend functionality. In fact, I am using Scrum for Trello to help me mark cards with points so that I can get a rough estimate on the duration of the project.
Verdict: Go for it