At work, I develop software. There are about 10 of us developers, but we work mostly alone. Each of us is responsible for one or more systems. We each wear all the hats:
- server admin
- database admin
- user support
- anything else you can think of
As the single “team member” for a project, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to keep track of everything for the multiple projects we are responsible for.
I’m also a scatterbrained coder. I’ll work on various unrelated changes at the same time. I’m trying hard to focus on one task at a time, but it’s a slow change.
In an attempt to get a bit more organized, I’m also trying to develop some sort of accountability. Not only to show my supervisors what I’m doing all day long, but to help me keep track of what needs to be done and keep me focused on the current task.
This is where Team Foundation Server comes into play. With the new release of 2012, I now have some great features that can help me along.
The addition of My Work helps me stay on track. If I move a task to “In Progress”, I can always see this at a glance as I code and remember not to get sidetracked.
I still have trouble writing up backlog items and tasks (I forget to document what needs to be done; I just do it). But I think that the new web interface and team explorer window will help me there too. It’s just another “in my face” reminder that I need to log tasks and stories as they come up. My biggest problem is that I simply forget. And if I’ve gotten sidetracked by some other thing I need to work on, then its even more likely I won’t remember later what it was I needed to get back to.
My system is constantly changing and evolving as new requirements are realized and it is important for me to document it all. Not just for auditing purposes either.
I recently started a new project, which is actually a redesign of an existing website to resolve some hard issues. It’s the perfect opportunity to start out with a clean set of requirements and tasks that I need to work on.
The new interface also makes it easy for me to plan and later see what I need to work on for the week. If I finish everything for the week, I can move new tasks in. If I don’t get them finished, I can move them over to the next week. And with multiple projects going on at the same time, it’s even more important to plan out my task schedule so that everything is prioritized and gets done.
My biggest adjustment will be just remembering to use it. Add new requirements as they come up…add tasks. Use the functionality to plan what I need to do, do it, and stay focused on the task at hand.