Search This Blog


10 February 2010

Microblogging your project

I considered using Yammer (a twitter for project teams) and even put it to a couple of developer team members that they should try it and see how it could be useful. They told me that no, it was a waste of time.

And after reflection I agree.

This, of course is the answer for our project. Your experience may be different.

My team use a layered approach to requirements and work management, and reporting. We start with some high level concepts about what we are going to build. We construct backlogs for our products. We then break the next phase down into more detail, and the immediate month or two ahead in even more detail. It's all very by-the-book in a scrum context.

We use a couple of tools for planning and preparing product backlog items including powerpoint, Visio, photos of white boards, and excel. Recently I have added Pivotal Tracker to the toolkit as a way of improving the dynamic list management aspect of backlog management we were previously doing in excel. This is all pre-development stuff.

Once we start a sprint however, the two main tools for tracking and monitoring work become TFS and white boards with cards or post-it notes. We are all in the one physical place so far, although we are bringing on a remote team soon.

My initial thoughts were that they could publish status updates or progress on tasks via the tool. I could then log on and check where people are at. They could also migrate some of the "I'm checking this out" chatter to that forum.

Bottom line, though is that task status are there for me to see in TFS and the white boards. And the chatter about co-ordinating and sharing info can sit within e-mail. I just have to filter it out more effectively. (Why do I get copied in anyway?)

Sure these newer tools have better user interfaces and design.  But adding a new tool just adds needless complexity, and at the end of the day it doesn't add capability to the team in any substantial way.

Is your experience different?  Will I change my mind once I start working with the remote team?

Now a disclaimer.  I realize that Yammer is more than a micro blogging tool, so it probably presents a real solution option to some teams, but as I am - ahem - blessed with SharePoint 2003, most of the additional features from the Yammer product kit are already addressed.