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Questions tagged [project-management]

Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals.

627
votes
17answers
209k views

How to respond when you are asked for an estimate?

We, as programmers, are constantly being asked 'How long will it take'? And you know, the situation is almost always like this: The requirements are unclear. Nobody has done an in depth analysis of ...
498
votes
31answers
114k views

Why can't the IT industry deliver large, faultless projects quickly as in other industries?

After watching National Geographic's MegaStructures series, I was surprised how fast large projects are completed. Once the preliminary work (design, specifications, etc.) is done on paper, the ...
470
votes
19answers
173k views

I've inherited 200K lines of spaghetti code — what now?

I hope this isn't too general of a question; I could really use some seasoned advice. I am newly employed as the sole "SW Engineer" in a fairly small shop of scientists who have spent the last 10-20 ...
326
votes
20answers
71k views

How should I behave as a developer in a project that's headed for failure?

I am a developer in a 5-member team and I believe our project is headed for disaster. I'll describe why in a moment, but my question is: how should I behave? The deadline is in 1.5 months, and I ...
209
votes
12answers
59k views

Strategy for keeping secret info such as API keys out of source control?

I'm working on a website that will allow users to log in using OAuth credentials from the likes of Twitter, Google, etc. To do this, I have to register with these various providers and get a super-...
179
votes
17answers
13k views

How do you balance between “do it right” and “do it ASAP” in your daily work? [closed]

I find myself pondering over this question from time to time, again and again. I want to do things the right way: to write clean, understandable and correct code that is easy to maintain. However, ...
154
votes
20answers
15k views

How to keep a big and complex software product maintainable over the years?

I have been working as a software developer for many years now. It has been my experience that projects get more complex and unmaintainable as more developers get involved in the development of the ...
152
votes
31answers
26k views

Is it unusual for a small company (15 developers) not to use managed source/version control? [closed]

It's not really a technical question, but there are several other questions here about source control and best practice. The company I work for (which will remain anonymous) uses a network share to ...
126
votes
27answers
9k views

What are the worst false economies in software development? [closed]

What are the worst false economies (that is ways of saving money that ultimately cost more than they save) prevalent in the software industry and how do you combat them?
116
votes
18answers
12k views

When should I make the first commit to source control?

I'm never sure when a project is far enough along to first commit to source control. I tend to put off committing until the project is 'framework-complete,' and I primarily commit features from then ...
114
votes
18answers
30k views

Dealing with engineers that frequently leave their jobs [closed]

My friend is a project manager for a software company. The most frustrating thing for him is that his engineers frequently leave their jobs. The company works hard to recruit new engineers, transfer ...
112
votes
20answers
6k views

Project Manager that wants to lock in time estimate with a signed contract

At a previous employment, a project manager (PM) wasn't satisfied with the delivery time of the code on a project I was on. I was told by my project lead that that the PM was considering having me ...
105
votes
12answers
21k views

Should a (junior) developer try to push for better processes and practices in their development/IT team?

I'm a junior developer that is given the ability to help shape my team's processes if I can justify the change, and if it helps the team get work done. This is new for me as my past companies more or ...
103
votes
13answers
63k views

What “version naming convention” do you use? [closed]

Are different version naming conventions suited to different projects? What do you use and why? Personally, I prefer a build number in hexadecimal (e.g 11BCF), this should be incremented very ...
102
votes
12answers
12k views

Best practices for sharing tiny snippets of code across projects

I always try to follow the DRY principle strictly at work; every time I've repeated code out of laziness it bites back later when I need to maintain that code in two places. But often I write small ...
96
votes
12answers
16k views

My client wants 25% of comments in my current project, how to react? [closed]

junior developer here. I am currently working alone on a web application for a big client of my company. I started last month. The client wants at least 25% of comments in each of its software ...
91
votes
14answers
7k views

How can I avoid always feeling like if I completely rebuilt my program from scratch I'd do it much better? [closed]

I have learned a significant amount of coding, however, it's always been in a scientific environment (not computer science), completely self-taught without anyone to guide me in the right direction. ...
86
votes
12answers
7k views

How big does my project need to be for me to unit test it? [closed]

I assume that my project is decoupled enough to allow for unit testing. But how big, exactly, in terms of clases and functions does my project need to be to make unit testing worthwhile? We all make ...
83
votes
11answers
15k views

Is DRY the enemy of software project management?

One of the most basic and widely accepted principles of software development is DRY (don't repeat yourself). It is also clear that most software projects require some kind of management. Now what are ...
80
votes
20answers
29k views

How do you handle your Project Manager

I currently work for a company that has recently downsized. I do all in-house work, client installs, builds, QA, and, well, basically all the in-house work. My direct boss is VERY nontechnical and ...
73
votes
11answers
6k views

Advice on designing web application with a 40+ year lifetime

Scenario Currently, I am apart of a health care project whose main requirement is to capture data with unknown attributes using user generated forms by health care providers. The second requirement ...
73
votes
15answers
8k views

How should a developer reject impossible requirements? [closed]

Here's the problem I'm facing: Quote From Project Manager: Hey Spark, I'm assigning you the task of developing a framework that could be used for many different iOS applications. Here are the ...
73
votes
6answers
9k views

How to manage accidental complexity in software projects

When Murray Gell-Mann was asked how Richard Feynman managed to solve so many hard problems Gell-Mann responded that Feynman had an algorithm: Write down the problem. Think real hard. Write down the ...
71
votes
14answers
9k views

How should I remember what I was doing and why on a project three months back?

I was working on a project three months back, and then suddenly another urgent project appeared and I was asked to shift my attention. Starting tomorrow, I'll be heading back to the old project. I ...
70
votes
9answers
10k views

How do you develop software without acceptance criteria?

How do you collaboratively develop software in a team of 4-5 developers without acceptance criteria, without knowing what the testers will be testing for and with multiple(2-3) people acting as ...
70
votes
9answers
16k views

Dealing with non-reproducible bugs

Suppose your team writes a software system that is running fine. One day one of the engineers mistakenly runs some SQL queries that change some of the DB data, then forgets about it. After some time ...
68
votes
11answers
21k views

Metric by which to hold developers accountable [duplicate]

I asked a question on lines of code per hour and got torn a new one. So my matured follow-up question is this: If not lines of code, then what is a good metric by which to measure (by the hour/day/...
68
votes
8answers
8k views

Should I record a bug that I discovered and patched?

I suppose that this is a common situation: I test some code, discover a bug, fix it and commit the bug-fix to the repository. Assuming that many people work on this project, should I first create a ...
66
votes
11answers
4k views

Best Practices for Handing over Legacy Code

In a couple of months a colleague will be moving on to a new project and I will be inheriting one of his projects. To prepare, I have already ordered Michael Feathers' Working Effectively with Legacy ...
66
votes
12answers
8k views

Getting non-programmers to understand the development process

When starting a project for a company that's not primarily a programming company, one of the expectations is that there's a finished product at the end free of all bugs and does everything needed ...
63
votes
5answers
6k views

Why do some big projects, like Git and Debian, only use a mailing list and not an issue tracker?

Bug tracker for any decent sized project seem like a bit of a no-brainer to me - it makes it really easy to organise hundreds or thousands issues, without issues colliding or getting mixed up. So ...
62
votes
19answers
4k views

Dealing with awful estimates

A recent project I worked on was proven to be severely underestimated by the architect. The estimate was out by at least 500%. Unfortunately I was brought onto the project after the estimate had ...
62
votes
9answers
45k views

Should Git be used for documentation and project management? Should the code be in a separate repository?

I'm starting up a Git repository for a group project. Does it make sense to store documents in the same Git repository as code - it seems like this conflicts with the nature of the git revision flow. ...
61
votes
9answers
13k views

How do you track what you and your team are working on day-to-day?

I'm struggling with how to keep track of what myself and people on my team actually do each day. I get a good broad picture by going over completed cards each week and stand-ups help a bit, but I feel ...
61
votes
16answers
5k views

How to stop the development spec from changing in mid development?

Problem: It seems with almost every development effort I'm involved in, no matter how much time is spent planning prior to starting development, there is always a large amount of changes required ...
61
votes
14answers
3k views

Forbidding or controlling “Hidden IT…” Who should write and maintain ad-hoc software applications?

Bigger companies usually have the problem, that it is not possible to write all programs employees want (to save time and to optimize processes) due to a lack of staff and money. Then hidden programs ...
60
votes
12answers
10k views

How to develop excellent software with agile methods?

The Kano model of customer satisfaction defines different classes of product features. Among them are Must-be qualities: If these are not implemented the customer will not accept the product. ...
60
votes
6answers
6k views

Why aren't there code overviews for open-source projects? [closed]

There are very complex open source projects out there, and to some of them I think I could make some contributions, and I wish I could, but the barrier to entry is too high for a single reason: for ...
58
votes
16answers
13k views

why do some job posts say “high pressure environment”? [closed]

Why would there be any pressure if everyone knows what they are doing and the projects are accurately estimated? If there's pressure, or even high pressure, then it implies what they are currently ...
58
votes
11answers
32k views

How often should I/do you make commits? [duplicate]

I am a recent (as of yesterday) college grad - BS in Computer Science. I've been a huge fan of version control ever since I got mad at an assignment I was working on and just started from scratch, ...
57
votes
4answers
18k views

Developing a feature which sole purpose to be taken out? [closed]

What is the name of the pattern in which individual contributors (programmers/designers) developed an artifact for the sole purpose is to serve as a diversion so that management can remove that ...
55
votes
6answers
4k views

Bug reopen vs. new

A bug was opened, fixed, verified and closed. A month later, it showed up again in a subsequent version after several iterations without any regression. Provided the bug characteristics are the same, ...
53
votes
8answers
8k views

Is it good that testers are competing to see who opens more bugs?

I'm a software developer. There is a team of testers who follow and run test cases written by the analyst, but also perform exploratory testing. It seems like the testers have been competing to see ...
52
votes
18answers
4k views

Completing a project successfully despite hostile management? [closed]

I work for a subsidiary of a large world wide company. This was not a subsidiary from the beginning, it was a company bought by the larger company. We seem to be heading toward a death march and I'm ...
50
votes
13answers
3k views

*Code owner* system: is it an efficient way? [closed]

There is a new developer in our team. An agile methodology is in use at our company. But the developer has another experience: he considers that particular parts of the code must be assigned to ...
50
votes
7answers
5k views

Programming with a group of people I've never met

I've been assigned a group project from my AP computer science class, and I am required to work with three other people. I've never talked to them before, I have no idea their skill level, and all I ...
50
votes
4answers
5k views

What happens if a feature merged into develop is postponed by management?

We recently had a problem whereby a feature for our webapp (automatic signup) was postponed by management because they felt the start was too "cold" but they wanted all the other features we had been ...
49
votes
20answers
23k views

What are the steps in beginning a large project, when all I have is a big idea? [closed]

I am computer engineering student. I've been thinking about how I can handle a big project. What should be my first step to reach my goal in a more efficient and effective way? When I come up with a ...
49
votes
6answers
39k views

How to manage github issues for (priority, etc)? [closed]

I'm new to github, and am looking for advice on how to manage issues. I'm used to having priority and other ordering options but see that none exist. How do others manages issues during the ...
48
votes
4answers
4k views

What to do with abandoned issues in GitHub?

If someone opens an issue on GitHub but more information to reproduce the error is asked and never given, what's the normal procedure? Example. Here the author states that the "nav breaks". While I ...