Task Tracking & Project Management

I was involved in a small discussion over at Joel on Software earlier this week responding to a person who was looking for a time tracking or task log tool for the developers within a small ISV (Independent Software Vendor). As usual, I responded with dotProject and the blowback was amazing.

Nobody was attacking the concepts of Project Management or dotProject itself. There seemed to be a fundamental reaction to asking developers to account for their work. Comment after comment denigrated the idea completely or suggested face-to-face exclusively. While I don't believe that filing comments away in a Task Log is the perfect solution, I believe that it is necessary in order to be able to track both the progress of the project and the progression of thought throughout the project.

As CEO covered two weeks ago, I use dotProject throughout the day as a running log of my thoughts, opinions, and conclusions of various aspects of a task. A bit of sanitization – grammatical fixes mostly – goes on before this goes to a customer, but otherwise this is included as part of the invoice. So far all of our customers have been incredibly happy and impressed by this and I believe the transparency has led development to be directly nearly all the time. In addition, it allows for the detailed tracking of estimates vs reality…

Then again, some people see the necessity of customer service and some don't.