LS: The Importance of Project Management Software

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So, ever since we have worked on teams at Champlain, we have used Redmine as our project management system. Everyone has either learned to love it or hate it, but at least learned how to use it. However, none of that matters if nobody decides to use it in a proper way. Looking at the taskboard should be something to judge the progress of a team in the current sprint. However, when I see it, all I see is User Stories with no tasks, incredibly broad tasks that are marked as “In Progress” ¬†and many completed tasks with no one assigned to them. Everyone says they are doing Agile development, but they usually admit that they may not do certain parts of it. However, right now it seems we are doing our own development practice, and have decided to use they things from Agile development.

When being told that User Stories don’t work, something seems amiss. It’s true that User Stories don’t work when people just create them at any time and is seen as a gateway to being able to log time on a task. But if there was time spent planning before the sprint started to make sure everything was created then User Stories are great. I think part of this problem stems from the fact no one is taught how to use Project Management systems to their full potential. How does a carpenter make furniture if he does not know how to use a saw?

For this current Sprint, we have essentially abandoned Redmine in favor of the “Get Shit Done List”, which is just an excel document with a list of things that need to get done. What it looks like however, is just a spreadsheet of tasks that could be made in Redmine. Each item has a name, description, who it’s assigned to, current status, and priority. All of these things are fields for a Task on Redmine. Project Management is something everyone on a team should learn in order to be fully productive and allow everyone else to be working fully functionally.

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