Saturday, November 6, 2010

IGDA Leadership Forum: Tools Round Table

I hosted the Tools Round Table at the IGDA Leadership Forum this year. The group focused primarily on project management and communication. Attendees were producers, tech leads, a software consultant, an agile coach, a Hansoft employee, two localization professionals, and students.

Below I've included my notes from the discussions. Contents are purely in order that they were mentioned.

But before the notes, some quick thoughts on the conference. It was pretty small just a hundred or two people. I missed a lot of people who cut out half way through the second day (I showed up only for the end). There was a dinner with John Romaro interviewing Will Wright, with a goal of capturing designer's thoughts for posterity (romeroarchives). This is a great idea, though the level of detail covered in the interview only scratched the surface. It was interesting, but was primarily just getting the rough timeline of Wright's early career.

On with the Tools Round table notes:

Project Management
  • iteamwork
    • online - project management - slightly dated feel - free
  • jira with greenhopper front end
    • good for short term sprint plans, limiting for long term projects
    • some web-app style hiccups
  • (in follow up for long term:)
    • MS project
    • pen-paper
    • spreadsheets
      • hard for a wider team to use, OK for the single producer working with it
  • pivotal tracker
    • good for scrum
    • nice 'index card' like view
    • not a database
  • devtrack
    • often pushed by publishers
    • database backend
    • not great out of box, lots of work needed to setup for a team's process 
  • base camp
    • good for small teams
    • day to day level workers annoyed at it, though higher levels liked it
    • didn't scale up as well
  • scrum works
    • smaller teams, medium teams, good for burndown charts
    • free and paid versions
  • smart q
  • 5 pm web
Transitioning between long term planning and fine grained issue tracking remains the largest problem.

Communication
  • yammer
    • like an internal twitter
    • threaded views
    • third party tools good
  • google wave
    • threading issues
    • recommended using RSS updates of a wave to track it
  • google docs
  • gotomeeting
    • great screen sharing, not so great web cam
  • mikogo
    • similar to gotomeeting - free
  • webex
    • too heavyweight
  • skype
    • great webcam sharing, so-so screen sharing
  • meetingplace
  • active desktop
    • HTML on desktop with team specific information, e.g. bug counts
  • design docs placed in source control shadowed to a web server for ease of access
  • wiki