An idea for Project Management software

There is no such thing as SaaS management software. There are bug trackers like Jira and Bugzilla.  There is Agile project management software like TargetProcess or FogBugz.  There is Microsoft Project.  But there isn’t something I look at and say, “That would work to manage the never-ending work a SaaS startup goes through.”  At least, I haven’t seen it.

So I woke up at 5am with an idea. (I hate when I do this)  I felt compelled to get up and go to the computer and start drawing it out.  Repeat: I wish I were sleeping.

I got alot of the idea out on powerpoint, but I sort of ran out of steam.  The idea is to have a backlog for each micro-team.  In other words, one backlog for the whole company is too big to manage.  And besides I hate that Agile assumed that all developers are interchangeable.  They aren’t!  Sometimes people specialize in front end or back.  Sometimes people are given a segement of the product to focus on, like the API or database.

Additionally, there are some tasks like “produce detailed requirements” which are dependencies for getting the work done.  Agile software out there doesn’t manage dependencies well.

None of the software I have seen allows for a developer to have his own backlog.  I have been frustrated with the tools available.  Wow, I just got really tired. 🙂

Anyway, I uploaded the UX to slideshare.  It’s not nearly done, but see if you can get the idea.  I think it has enormous potential, but it needs to be developed.  And of course, no one is going to build it.  Still, ideas must be released.

7 replies on “An idea for Project Management software”

It’s impressive what one can do at 5:00 AM in the morning with a fresh mind. I have to say that the hardest part in implementing such applications, IMO, is not in creating the database structure and the business logic, but with creating the interface and its logic.

I think of several projects a week that I want to implement, but I stop short from starting most of them because of the interface…

I feel exactly the opposite. I can do this sort of thing pretty quickly. Ask me to program something and it would take me an eternity.

My dream is to make a bazillion dollars and start my own development group. We would build open source free software only. It won’t make money, but we would make good usable software.

I disagree with almost all problem statements listed in page 2.

1. Agile does not request that team members should be interchangeable. XP has this feeling, but not other agile processes.

2. Velocity changes often. I am not sure how it can affect any tool and cause problems.

3. We are developing TargetProcess during several years using TargetProcess. As you see it is a project without end date in fact.

4. Why it is a problem to add a bug to a sprint? Does any tool prevent it?

5. Know requirements in advance… Sounds like waterfall for me.

Maybe I did not get the idea. But I don’t think these problems exist in most popular agile tools on the market.

I was going to go through point by point, but that’s not what the post was about.

I could make a laundry list of requests for TP, but Ill save that for another time. I generally like TP and am an active user. 🙂

But Michael, look at the work item view screen in the PPT. Don’t you see the point of being able to orient around individuals/teams? Having one backlog is nearly impossible for me to organize in TP. I never use “rank” because there are just too many items. Having one backlog per team would be easy. I can’t compare an API call to a bug in a combobox. They are orthogonal.

That’s the point. Having multiple backlogs that map to one iteration schedule is a huge benefit.

I tend to agree with that point. But it is only one missing feature in the existing tools 🙂 From the first sight you tried to put some philosophy behind this new product I don’t agree with.

In fact in TP we have tags and bundles that allow you to create bundle Teams and tags like Team A, Team B, Team C. Then you may assign specific tags to user stories, thus having them separated by team.

The only problem is that backlog allows you to see no more than 3 list with different teams. You may filter by Team A in the first list, then filter by Team B in the second and by Team C in the third. May work as a workaround.

Also in new release there will be nice custom reports with inner lists and full inline editing. It will be possible to create a report for iteration and add stories assigned to each time as different inner lists. And when we add Grid representation for all lists in v.3.0 with DnD it will be quite the same as proposed multiple backlogs feature 🙂

There are lot of SaaS tools today, that are trying to find their spot in the market and i believe those teams already thought about things you mention in you presentation, basically what you need is easily definable custom workflows, that is what our team is working on right now, should be released in two weeks.

Whatya think?