A peek into our tracker

May 25th, 2010| Posted by Andy Korth
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Click for a larger view

We’ve been using tracking software for quite a while in different places and different forms. We even worked on a XP Tracker project back in college- it tracked different projects based on the story / task model popular in various agile development methodologies.

For many of our projects, we’ve found post-it notes worked really well. You write down a small task- something that can reasonably be accomplished in just a few hours, then they are all placed on a corkboard. Then, as a group, we prioritize the tasks, putting them in a rough order with the tasks that need to be done first on the left side of the board. Sometimes this stage also includes categorization- art tasks to be done by a different person or group will go along the top or bottom.

When you start a task, you take the post-it note, so no one else can accidentally start it. I like to stick mine on my monitor so I always know what I should be doing with my time.

One great plus of this system is you get a great feeling of accomplishment seeing the physical notes move around the board as they are completed. However, it does require everyone to be in the same place, and it might even require you haul the big cork board around in your car…. So we’ve moved to Pivotal Tracker.

This gigantic image on the right that you have already noticed is the result of our most recent brainstorming session. It’s a roughly-organized todo list. We’ve assigned some rough size estimates to each item as well (the blue lines next to the star- more lines means more work expected). Pivotal Tracker is pretty specific about how things are done, but it mostly lines up with what we want. If your estimates are accurate, Pivotal Tracker holds you to accomplishing the same amount of work each week (which is a bit strange, since it is happy to lower the expectations it has for you after a slow week).

But anyway, enough rambling! This is what we are working on!

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