The online home of John Pollard

Planning about Planning, and Planning

Been a reasonably slow start to the year of code, mainly because I've been in the US for the day job. However the first couple of weeks have been reasonably productive, mainly in me figuring out the best way forward.

First of all I refactored the Brave Location website a little, to make it look hopefully a little more professional and clarify what Brave Location is all about.

For the site I'm using Twitter's Bootstrap framework, which I'm very happy with except thatit isn't particularly adaptive to mobile browsers. I'm considering trying out Skeleton at some point to improve the experience for mobile users, but think I've spent enough time on it right now.

However my main progress has been figuring out how (or even if!) I can achieve my goal of shipping something every month.

I'm a reasonably big proponent of agile software development processes, having followed them in varying degrees of militancy in the most of the teams I've worked on in the last few years. However, I'm going to follow something that sounds more like a waterfall approach in that I'm going to have 4 weekly sprints, and have the following milestones/checkpoints:

  • Week One: Planning and Prototyping
  • Week Two: Main development
  • Week Three: Stabilisation/Testing
  • Week Four: Release/Deployment

My rationale for doing it this way is simple - I need a clear goal every week to inspire me to press on with my side projects after a hard day at work.

Now obviously in a team of one I don't think it really matters much what development process I follow, as most methods are designed to maximise clear communication between the development team and the business, and to extract maximum value for the business by focusing on the most important work that can be done in a short period. With me being all of the product owner, scrum master and development team I would hope communication won't be a problem.

Anyway, despite all this planning about planning, what I have been doing so far in month one is working on v3.0 of my Bedside Clock Windows Phone app. It may be slightly against the spirit of the "ship every month", but it's a good way for me to get into the swing of things. I've completed most of the dev work except a few new ideas and bug fixes inspired by being in a different time zone last week, so hopefully it will be ready to ship by the end of next week.

My other pledge is to blog about my progress at least once a week, so details of what the third and hopefully final version of the app will have to wait until next week.