Topic: Surge project management

Hi guys

(ranting goes below, feel free to ignore it)

I've spent some time keeping eye on Surge project and I've noticed that it (like many other OSS projects out there) has a bit chaotic organization. More precisely, there are only global tasks defined (e.g. "make a game", "make two levels", "make music", etc.), without a clear visibility of short term goals. People just contribute randomly, without understanding, how further towards the completed game their contribution do move the project.
Theoretically, there's nothing wrong with it. However, in practice this has several major drawbacks, namely:

  • Even with lots of people contributing, project can remain in inconsistent state for a very long time. E.g. in case of Surge this means lack of 1 fully completed and playable level. This is very important, because people usually are willing to join and contribute to project if they see something finished & polished. Obviously, it is very important to gain new members for a project to succeed.

  • Lack of motivation. When people contribute for a long time and still do not see how far they are from their goal is very depressing. Having the clear visibility of what is happening and achieving some minor goals is very important to keep people interested in project.

  • People doing wrong job. For example, imagine we have plans to make levels X, Y, Z, W. Someone decides to make art for level W, just because he has some fancy idea at the moment. Level designers start with X, then Y, then Z and finally see that their initial idea for W just don't fit in the game anymore. Work done for level W (created art) may be then wasted.

  • Underestimating efforts. Sometimes people tend to set too ambitious goals for themselves. Without measuring the amount of work to be done they will spend years on the project without achieving any result. Instead, if we somehow manage to measure amount of work before doing the job, we can see the problem arising at the very beginning and just change the goal to be achievable (very often this can be done without even losing project quality, just by throwing bells&whistles&unnecessary stuff out).

Conclusion: please use project management tools, for example, Redmine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redmine, it is FOSS and you can find free hosting with Redmine).
This will allow us to track tasks to be done and measure efforts we require. I can help with task management if you want in a free time (just in case, I have experience with managing project in my job).

Re: Surge project management

squirrel wrote:

Hi guys

(ranting goes below, feel free to ignore it)

I've spent some time keeping eye on Surge project and I've noticed that it (like many other OSS projects out there) has a bit chaotic organization. More precisely, there are only global tasks defined (e.g. "make a game", "make two levels", "make music", etc.), without a clear visibility of short term goals. People just contribute randomly, without understanding, how further towards the completed game their contribution do move the project.
Theoretically, there's nothing wrong with it. However, in practice this has several major drawbacks, namely:

  • Even with lots of people contributing, project can remain in inconsistent state for a very long time. E.g. in case of Surge this means lack of 1 fully completed and playable level. This is very important, because people usually are willing to join and contribute to project if they see something finished & polished. Obviously, it is very important to gain new members for a project to succeed.

  • Lack of motivation. When people contribute for a long time and still do not see how far they are from their goal is very depressing. Having the clear visibility of what is happening and achieving some minor goals is very important to keep people interested in project.

  • People doing wrong job. For example, imagine we have plans to make levels X, Y, Z, W. Someone decides to make art for level W, just because he has some fancy idea at the moment. Level designers start with X, then Y, then Z and finally see that their initial idea for W just don't fit in the game anymore. Work done for level W (created art) may be then wasted.

  • Underestimating efforts. Sometimes people tend to set too ambitious goals for themselves. Without measuring the amount of work to be done they will spend years on the project without achieving any result. Instead, if we somehow manage to measure amount of work before doing the job, we can see the problem arising at the very beginning and just change the goal to be achievable (very often this can be done without even losing project quality, just by throwing bells&whistles&unnecessary stuff out).

Conclusion: please use project management tools, for example, Redmine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redmine, it is FOSS and you can find free hosting with Redmine).
This will allow us to track tasks to be done and measure efforts we require. I can help with task management if you want in a free time (just in case, I have experience with managing project in my job).

Hi squirrel,

thank you for your feedback. It's very valuable. smile

You have raised valid issues, and your impressions are accurate. Currently, on this FOSS project, people work on their free time, but without organization. The tasks are too high level, causing: lots of doubt and randomness, unnecessary waste of resources and denying the contributors a sense of achievement after completing small tasks. Loss of motivation follows. In the past months, we have had very little progress. Although free time is limited, organization could be much improved, thus increasing progress and overall motivation.

We currently list some tasks in our wiki, but that is indeed not the best tool for the job. I have just found CandyCane, a Redmine-clone written in PHP. The advantage of a PHP system is that we can host it on our web space on sourceforge, thus getting access to the database (for backups). I plan to put it on our project around September, after my exam at uni. smile

squirrel wrote:

(ranting goes below, feel free to ignore it)

why would we ignore it?

squirrel wrote:

I can help with task management if you want in a free time (just in case, I have experience with managing project in my job).

Yes, we do want, please. I (particularly) don't have any experience with project management tools, so if you can provide tips, criticism and suggestions (at least while we learn the thing), it would be immensely helpful. Thanks. smile

Re: Surge project management

Alexandre wrote:

We currently list some tasks in our wiki, but that is indeed not the best tool for the job. I have just found CandyCane, a Redmine-clone written in PHP. The advantage of a PHP system is that we can host it on our web space on sourceforge, thus getting access to the database (for backups). I plan to put it on our project around September, after my exam at uni.

PHP is a dead language. There's no reason any sensible web developer should use PHP anymore, it's a language that wasn't supposed to exist. There are so many great options around to host open source projects, with code repo + issue tracker. Github is the best you can get. But you also have Bitbucket as an alternative. Then many others like Jira (I bet there are easy hosting solutions for it) and YouTrack.

Redmine is so "2007", it's still ok, but it doesn't compare to these above. CandyCane can't be better than it, plus it's in PHP so forget it.

In doubt just use Github and be happy. Or Bitbucket. Solves all your problems. And please don't tell me you're not using git or Mercurial. Shoot yourself in the head otherwise.

Alexandre wrote:

I (particularly) don't have any experience with project management tools, so if you can provide tips, criticism and suggestions (at least while we learn the thing), it would be immensely helpful.

That's why you should listen to me.

PS: open Facebook, don't go hiding again.

Last edited by STALTZ (2013-08-20 20:12:35)

Re: Surge project management

one Q? what is PHP?

www.facebook.com/24XFSAL  Hasn't been updated anytime recently, don't bother.
I'm on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/rain-new-holy - I plan to upload one soon.
Name change from 24XFSAL coming soon. Currently studying for Information Technology and Game development. (Also studying game theory in spare time.)

Re: Surge project management

aronthehedgehog wrote:

one Q? what is PHP?

http://www.giyf.com/

Re: Surge project management

STALTZ
Please, don't start trolling/holywar thread. Choosing Issue Tracker is a matter of preference anyway.

Alexandre
Is DB backup the only reason to host it here? There are several free hosting services out there that provide backups and access to DB. In case of Redmine we can look at http://www.hostedredmine.com

Re: Surge project management

squirrel wrote:

STALTZ
Please, don't start trolling/holywar thread. Choosing Issue Tracker is a matter of preference anyway.

Woah bro, where's the trolling? Show it to me plz.

Choosing is a matter of preference, but there are clearly stuff that are state-of-the-art plus free, so there's not much space for discussion. Plus, hey:

Alexandre wrote:

I (particularly) don't have any experience with project management tools, so if you can provide tips, criticism and suggestions (at least while we learn the thing), it would be immensely helpful.