To plan and keep track of the CLARION project’s activities, we are using a project management methodology based on incremental development in fixed-duration periods of 2 weeks (iterations). We run a delivery and planning meeting every fortnight, at which the latest version of the software is demonstrated, progress is assessed and the next 2 iterations are planned. We plan out the upcoming iteration in detail (to a resolution of 2 man-days or less per task) and the one after in broader brush strokes (to a resolution of 4-5 man-days). The overall development strategy is also tracked (and updated) in coarser grained detail. Mid-cycle, we run a progress meeting where we assess the progress of the current iteration. This gives us early warning in case we need to re-plan the next iteration.
We use the simple issue trackers provided by bitbucket.org to plan and track work (details below), and the wiki to record documentation and presentations. In the design and planning stages, the wiki is particularly useful in recording technical decisions, which will be useful in the future (when writing the project report, for example!).
This agile approach has worked well so far, and progress has been rapid. The approach relies on accurate near-term estimation of work. So far we have been underestimating by 1-2 man-days per iteration (typically 8 – 16% of total resource). We regard this as OK, as we would rather include stretch tasks than leave people rudderless, so we try to construct each members work for the iteration such that there is a realistic base of work that can be delivered and demonstrated, and a couple of days of stretch goals, usually background research or preparation for the next iteration.
Tools for managing the project and its communications:
Here are the locations and details for CLARION bits and pieces: