One of the most common questions that every team needs to consider is what development tools are required for group collaboration. I’m not talking about platform tools such as Visual Studio for .NET or Eclipse for Java. It’s the essential project management tools that some developers feel to be a total waste of time.
Sure. I don’t doubt some programmers can get by with a spreadsheet listing tasks. But realistically, do you think this approach works for a project which has more than 2 developers or has any real complexity? If you think this approach can work, I want you to stop reading right now! There is no point reading any further since you’ll consider everything below a waste of time.
At Atmist, we believe project management tools are essential. We’re constantly improving our methodology and the tools used to support our development approach. At present, we are using Jira with the GreenHopper and Gliffy plug-ins to support our current project.
Jira is essentially an issue tracking system. However, with GreenHopper and Gliffy plug-ins, Jira becomes an inexpensive project management tool. How inexpensive? Jira, GreenHopper, and Gliffy are available for only $10 each for teams with less than 10 people. That’s $30 for tools to support Scrum or Kanban. For small companies, especially start-ups, this cost is trivial. So how do we use these tools? Using GreenHopper, we create a Scrum project. GreenHopper then allows you to create a backlog of stories or tasks which can be added to a sprint. For those who like using the traditional Scrum board and recipe cards, GreenHopper provides a visual representation that you can move tasks from Assigned to In Progress to Close. You can also customize stages to whatever suits your development approach. Just watch the following video
Because GreenHopper is just a plug-in, the core of the system is still Jira. This means that every story or task is actually an issue. When you see an issue for your project, you’re actually looking at all the stories and tasks defined in your backlog. This may seem strange but it makes total sense since Jira is primarily an issue tracking system.
We use Gliffy to create all the mockups, navigation flow diagrams, uml, or basically any diagrams needed to communicate a design. A Gliffy diagram must be attached to a story or a task. This makes sense as a digram should be associated to a particulary story or task. Here’s another video
That’s it. A few simple inexpensive tools and you can manage a large project.