Friday, February 16, 2007
Does software development work management need specific tools?
We've been producing software for several years, and since 2001, we've also supplied solutions for work management for teams (that is, a particular mixture of project management and groupware) to hundreds of companies. We've built a unified model for meeting this kind of problems, and though we always used Teamwork internally, we kept our application generic, so it could be applied to all office environments.
Now, does software development work management need specific tools? The question became more evident when I looked at our Jolt awards competitors in the project management category; I checked what they are doing, and they are all quite different from Teamwork (apart from being clearly inferior in usability, technology, and style ;-) ) in being focused in managing work for software development. There is nothing in Teamwork's core specifically done for developers; you can really fine tune your usage and environment, and given its wide scope, even select which modules to adopt; but how and what you manage depends on your organisational philosophy, more then on your productive activity. This is not by chance, but because IMEO (In My Experienced Opinion) the answer to the above question is no, software development work management does not need specific tools; it needs powerful and flexible tools, identical to those any computer aided production activity needs, such as accounting, financial analysis, document production, laboratories, or even spacecraft production, to cite a few of Teamwork 's customer activities. Developers have a tendency to consider their work a very special one, but actually any of the above activities needs structured projects, issue tracking, customers support (in a wide spectrum of "customer" notion), and so on.
A couple of examples:
"non specific software does not have the notion of release"
Any activity has tasks and milestones.
"a specific software can automatically record time spent on a project by watching what software the developer is using"
Well, if you really believe this stuff, and you are a project manager, your company is definitively in danger.
Actually, non being specific is a virtue of Teamwork, as considering the software development team just as a bunch of guys who should get productive like everybody else, can be a quite healthy consideration.