Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What I wanted built-in, part 2

I am a responsible coder. Everywhere I’ve worked, if they haven’t had source control, I have championed the install of it. Even when it wasn’t possible, I have still campaigned to get it, because we all need insurance.


This sense of responsibility? Not so much when in my test lab, but still, I do check in and check out to provide myself sanity. And prevent myself from stepping on myself. I just don’t do it as often as I would, since I’m not worried about other people getting in there.

(Well, I am, but that’s what firewalls are for.)

So, in trying to connect to Team Foundation Server, I was reminded that I’m going to need to install two MORE packages just to chat with my own TFS install from SSMS.

First up, I have:

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Explorer

Then, I have to install:

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 MSSCCI Provider 32-bit

Or, if I were on SQL 2012, I would need:

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 MSSCCI Provider 32-bit

And this is just so I can connect.

I want this built in – why isn’t this software on a web share as a part of the server install, so I don’t have to go back out to the internet and get it?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Open Source Project Management Part 2

In a previous post, I had written about needing to find a project management tool.

Really, though, what I want is integration.

The application workflow is really simple, actually:

  • Initialize the project requirements internally, based on my team's understanding of what we think the customer is asking for.
  • Review the task list and all dependencies with the customer in MS Project, or a tool (like those posted previously) that can export MS Project files.
  • Then, get all that now-approved info into some calendar tool, somehow, that we the project team all have access to. We don't all have to have the same *level* of access, mind you, just the ability get there somehow, easily.

And then I ran across this, which exports a MS Project file to Google Calendar. Now, I love the fact that this open-source tool does for me exactly what I need, and all I have to do to get my team on the calendar is send them the WebCal URL for the final calendar.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

High Achieving

First, stop and go read this:

12 Ways to Spot a High Achiever

The point of this post is NOT to criticize his article.

Instead, what if you're just starting out? How would you do these things? How would you know how to recognize the signs that either you're really one of these people (while containing your ego there, champ), or to direct yourself to become the person described here?

I suggest, if you’re just starting out:

1. Ask, ask, ask. Ask for what you want. This does not mean be pushy, it means learn the difference between what you want, what you need, and how to not be passive aggressive about the difference between the two.

2. Learn when to cut and run. There are times where it makes sense, strategically, to quit, but this doesn’t just apply to jobs. It can be people, equipment, projects, etc.

3. Accept the reality around you as fact, and find a way to define what you’d like to see. Knowing the difference between where you are and where you want to go, but clearly, is the first step. From here, you can make a list of steps to get yourself from-here-to-there.

4. Help others. I’m putting this last, even though it really is first, because until I learned how to ask for what I wanted, I couldn’t really help others, because I wasn’t sure if I was helping myself, since I didn’t know what I wanted.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Open Source Project Management

I like open source software for some things.

Interoperability is king, though, when it comes to providing a lower-cost alternative to products that are marketed more strongly.

Two project management applications I've recently tried?




These are both installable applications for PC, Mac & *nix.

Having played with ProjectLibre for a while now, I was looking for two specific features in it, and GanttProject.
1. The ability to schedule the Summary / Parent task either separate from, OR as a result of the children. In other words, I first want to make the parent task (that is, the phases of the project), define the dependencies between them, and then go back and fill in the tasks per phases.

When I fill in the tasks per project phase, I want the tool to stretch the dates of the parent automatically. It also works for me if, like MS Project, there's a button I can flip that tells the tool "manual or auto" for the date scheduling.

I use this all the time for roughing in phases - much faster than tweaking task dates first - and to quickly communicate in Gantt chart form.

2. Date selection that works. The dates, although you can manually define them as what you want, don't work, and aren't user friendly. For example, in ProjectLibre, I can't just type in today's date, and the tool figures out that "Oh, hey! You want to use today? Sure! I'm just going to assume the normal start/end time for that, OK?"

Instead, it requires manually typing in the date in a programmer-decided format. NO! Bad coder! I want to type in the date, not have to be precise. I'm trying to manage a project here, and prototype phases with dates, not get stuck in a syntax war with my software tool.