Thursday, 20 August 2009

Agile Planning Application Beta for including Google Visualization Integration...

I noticed this post a few days ago on the Agile Alliance LinkedIn group. Although the developers make it clear that it is mainly core components - not yet up to trading blows with XPlanner, Rally, VersionOne, Mingle etc. - it could be a very enticing prospect for those also using a customer relations management (CRM) tool such as for the tight integration it would seem to offer.

What has become clear to me about tracking, estimating and planning (whether you're practicing fairly traditional project management, a light version of Agile or something as aggressively Agile as Scrum) is that the most valuable commodities are the hardest to capture: time and effort. Without accurate representation of the real-world effort designers, developers, testers and managers are expending on the project, we are powerless to predict progress and create reliable estimates in the future. Yet the simple act of recording effort is so easily and so often pushed aside by those doing the work. Once this task has been left for more than even a couple of days, most people's ability to remember exactly what they did is diminished practically to zero.

There are obviously clever ways to get people to enter these details (maybe even gather them automatically) and there are oppressive methods such as detailed time sheets that leave a distinctly sour taste in the mouth. Education must not be discounted of course, as enlightening everyone to the value of their actions, particularly to themselves, can go a long way. So, it is with eager anticipation that I await to see how:
"...a very nice interface for entering time has been developed and will be part of the initial release"
I have my own ideas about an interface for recording project/feature/story/task time which I'll maybe talk about at a later date, but for now I'll wait and see what the Salesforce team have to offer.

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