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Hi all -

I'm a combination software architect and group lead for our software tools that my IT Operations division uses. I have several applications that I own. I architected them, managed the development, etc. I have several others that I didn't directly create/architect, but I "own".

Basically anything related to our software tools (architecture, resourcing, RFE's, bugs, integration, etc) falls in my realm.

So... here's what I need advice on. I have several things that I need to track very well. For example:

- New development projects. This is the easiest, I think. This is, "we need a tools to do X" and I design a new tool, write and the architect docs, specs, hire the developers, etc. This seems logical to make a project. So, a project for each tool being developed.

- Request For Enhancements (RFE's) for existing tools. This may be a tool that was first a project like listed above, or may be a tools that's supported by a different team or 3rd party, but I'm in charge of gathering, writing, and delivering RFE's.

- Bugs. Similar to the RFE's, but I have to track bugs that crop up against my apps or 3rd party apps. I have to make sure I follow these through to resolution. This means a lot of items here will eventually spend a lot of time in some sort of "waiting for" context.

In all these cases, I'm going to have a lot of need to review with my team, gather requirements from my team and others, meetings with developers, meetings with my staff, etc.

What would be best practices for building a good way of tracking all this? Do I track bugs under the project or do I have a separate project for bugs? How about RFE's?


I have a lot of experience with software development. I love GTD. Even so, I have only been using Omni-Focus for a short while and am still learning. Given those qualifications/limitations, this is how I handle s/w development issues.

RFE's. I have a well-defined process for RFE's. It leads to a final disposition. Therefore, I handle each RFE as an individual project. There are special attributes I track for RFE's. They include number of requests (used as metric of desirability and prevention of duplicate projects).

Bug Reports. Again, I have a well-defined process for a reported bug. Each reported Bug becomes and individual project. Similar to RFE's, each project for a reported bug includes custom attributes to carry metrics and prevent duplicate projects. I am using perspectives to give me views of bugs by severity (used for summary reporting and budgetary forecasting).

For me, the s/w development process may start much earlier than it does for you. For example, my process starts without an assumption that the requested software is financially justifiable. That means a s/w project includes budget for requirements gathering and feasibility determination. Still, s/w development follows a well-defined, fixed process and is ideally suited for GTD management.

Most of my development work is on large, complex systems. Often, this seems better suited to using a folder containing many parallel projects. However, I am not convinced this should be the generally accepted practice.

I use Omni-Focus to track and manage my personal tasks related to the development. It is only one tool in my box of project leadership and support tools. I do not use Omni-Focus to replace the proprietary resource management tools, standard project planning tools (for example, MS Project or Primavera).

I hope this was of some help to you. Don't be afraid to experiment. Let me know what you decide and why. Your feedback could help me.


Dr. Dave Dyer
Not sure whether i understood your question correctly. In any case, i want to mention that Omnifocus is definately not the tool to manage everything. Especially for enhancement requests, bugtracking, etc. there are a lot of dedicated tools that are definately better for this purpose. For example, Jira in the commercial area or Trac or Bugzilla in the open-source area. Again, for capturing requirements you may want to use dedicated tools. Telelogic Doors comes to my mind - it is quite costly, but i am not familiar with free solutions. Anyway, regarding the issue tracking systems like Jira that i mentioned, they are definately more effective than Omnifocus when it comes to managing teams and tracking what they do in what time. Omnifocus so far is designed to be used by a single person and not by a whole team (and you stressed that you are working in a team).
@bnz - Yeah.... I'm not looking for an RFE or Bug tool. We have those. I'm looking to track my actions necessary to submit the bug/rfe, wait for the dependencies, and confirm completion. For example, for most of my apps, I have a point of contact that organizes and submits RFE's. I would create an action in the context "email" to email this contact. Once I complete that action, I would need to track that I'm waiting for his reply. Once I get a reply, I need to not loose this RFE and have an action to wait for it's completion. Etc...

So, not a bug/rfe management system, but a "I don't want to show up at a meeting and have some one ask me the status on a RFE and me not know the status" type system ;)
We use Basecamp at my company for to-dos, project milestones, asset management, etc. Personally, I use OF to manage my own workflow.

For example, when a support request (or RFE) comes in, our Project Manager fields the call and tasks one of us via Basecamp, which generates an email to the "taskee". I used to have a mail rule setup to throw all my Basecamp task notification info OF, but ultimately realized it was of no help. Each OF task in my inbox had a generic title from the email subject so it was difficult to discern the actual task when processing my inbox w/o looking at the notes field.

So, what I found that works for me is realizing that he Project manager tasks me for performing the work "ABC". After examining the to-do task in order to accomplish "ABC", it usually involved doing "QRS, "TUV', and "XYZ", so I setup a project in OF for the RFE and created actions. This may seem like an extra few steps, but inline with David Allen's GTD philosophy, even small to-dos are in fact full projects with individual actions.

I am eager to hear how others address GTD as a programmer.
Hope this helps.

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