Project Task Pages - Applying Kamaelia to Project Management

December 12, 2006 at 06:28 PM | categories: python, oldblog | View Comments

Well, a bit later than anticipated - I should really be off to this month's Geekup here in Manchester, but I really wanted to get this down sooner rather than later. In a previous post I mentioned technical debt and my hypothesis of project management debt - caused by lack of tracking tools or reporting mechanisms. Well, we'd recently been overloaded with work on Kamaelia so I decided to see if we could apply Kamaelia itself as a project management approach.
Not as a tool, not to create software, but as an approach in and of itself. In Kamaelia, components perform tasks, and take inputs from places and produce outcomes. In this case we did the same, except in the case of a task, the inputs are people and outcomes can be lots of different types of things (code, docs, presentations, etc). Similarly we looked at the core of how we document things - like 1 line synopsis (what is it?), examples (what will be possible by doing this task), benefits (why would you use a component), and applied that as well.
The upshot is a collection of Project Task Pages linked from our Projects section of our developer console.
The core is that given 3 things:
  • Short one line of what the task is designed to achieve/create.
  • A practical, clear result of what will be possible as a result of achieving this task.
  • The context in which this task sits. Has this task any history? Is it the result of any previous tasks - either within the project or outside.
And preferably little details like:
  • Sponsor (who wanted the task achieved)
  • Owner & Developers
We can track more or less anything we like, be it a bug report, or organising a conference (I'm using it for this internally) as well as larger projects. We've got a rather over the top template which describes the "full on" version, where you can track status, and preferably use a task log, but the overall feel won't be too odd to anyone who's been asked to use a bug tracker to track new feature development.
The upshot though of this, is this: can it actually make your life easier? Well, it seems it can. I've been able to produce a summary of the past 9 months work in about 10 minutes, and I've been tracking our involvement in a conference in this way, as well as a dozen other things over the past couple of weeks - something that would normally overwhelm me. For some examples of public PTPs a few links:
So far we're finding this approach, and it does increase the transparency of Kamaelia somewhat as well. (Which is nice given the recent website revamp :) )
If any of this comes over as forced, it's just because I'm enthusiastic and want to share something we're finding useful :)

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