So, you have a new shiny project on your lap, so now what?
Today everyone is talking about “agile”, and how its better then the old “waterfall” methodology of doing things
The “Waterfall” approach is notorious in the software community, some highlights of why this is the case:
Everyone likes “Agile”, its the “cool” way to manage a project, it asks for less paperwork, less work upfront, built from the ground up to support changes, to name a few conceptions about it. While I call it “Agile” here, in reality it is a world of sub cultures, some of which are: “XP” (eXtreme Programming), “scrum”, “Kanban” to name a few. The difference between specific cultures is not always clear, we don’t necessarily have to stick to one, we can mix and match, like I am doing here, thus from this point onward I will just ignorantly call it “Agile” with out specifying the specific methodology. The main strengths going for the Agile methodology are
Doing things in small pieces is great, just ask a WEB developer, how there’s nothing quite like writing a bit of code, refreshing the page and seeing the changes reflected, especially when working on a big complex project. This gives you a feeling of progress and achievement, even though the end goal is far far away..
Some Agile approaches talk beyond writing business code and going into proactive bug searching using TDD (Test Driven Development), which turns out to be a good fit to the overall process as it secures quality of delivered pieces of logic. BDD (Behavior Driven Development) is very similar to TDD, but instead of going after “test coverage” it takes on a higher level, business specification driven approach, where the business embodied user stories are part of the actual test suite.
Tools that keep me productive:
In addition, I use a light weight web based project management tool as a central place to keep reference to important docs and user stories, and see my progress (and others working on the project). A great tool for the job is Trello.com - which free and super simple!