Project Management in Cloud for Indies?

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As an Indie do you need to use development tracking tools? For me as a producer its key part of doing games but maybe not all of you have the same opinion.

If you are indie developer looking to use some tracking tools this post is for you!

Professional Companies

There are three major tools used for management development in professional games studios:

Hansoft

  • Great backlog implementation,
  • Lot’s of features – to many for indie development,
  • Big download, can’t work in cloud. Need to have custom server,

Not recommended for indies.

Jira

  • Not free,
  • It’s like bug tracker with sprints and backlog,
  • It can be to complicated for indies,

Not recommended for indies.

Mantis

  • Mostly used for bug tracking,  (I’m using it for my ShooterTutorial issues),
  • Don’t have backlog, sprints, releases,
  • You need to have your own server,

Recommended for indies to track their issues. Not to manage whole development.

Teams are using XLS as well:

  • Google Sheets which can be in cloud,
  • Not so fast to edit,

Physical pin board:

  • Fast to edit,
  • Physical representation is old school but its normal in game dev,
  • Can’t be online,

Recommended for indies that are working alone.

Trello:

  • It’s free,
  • Hard to read when have to many tasks,
  • Doesn’t have releases, sprints – focus only on task board,

Recommended for indies which require only task board.

There is a lot of free scrum tools out there, and more premium ones.

Why do I need track my development?

Well you don’t need to track it. But there are some advantages to use such software:

  • You won’t forget your ideas, (backlog)
  • You will have deadlines, (releases)
  • You can cooperate with others, (better communication over the tasks)
  • You can use Kenban workflow and get notification when some asset is ready for implementation,
  • You will know how many bugs left and which need to be checked,
  • You will see your progress and it will motivate you!
  • Planning will result of better understanding of what you are doing,

I’m working as a producer for years and for me the best solution in daily job is to be agile. Switching from one tool to another depending on the project state. In after work job like ShooterTutorial initiative things are different.

What indie needs?

Something that is fast, freesimple and working in the cloud.

I was searching for some tool for ShooterTutotrial during last weeks and I have found so much advanced tools that are time-consuming and so complicated that I have decided to work in Hansoft which I known and it’s fast for me.

But…couple of days ago I have found HacknPlan by accident and I was amazed of the simplicity.

HacknPlan

From what I see it’s best solution for indies currently:

  • It’s free,
  • It’s fast,
  • One click and you have task added,
  • 2 clicks and you can assign task to milestone,
  • You can manage all of the custom fields really fast,
  • It is developed by Indie Developer who have the same issue as I had. He wasn’t able to find simple solution for indie games!

What’s missing for my opinion:

  • Simple Backlog that uses fast break down (using TAB in keyboard) and should be full screen without any distracting elements. As far I know the Author is working on backlog functionality, (hope he will analyse Hansoft backlog 😉 )
  • Bug tracker that should be simple as Mantis, (I really hope to have one tool that have it all!)
  • Subjective Opinion: I don’t understand purpose of Game Model, I’m always using Backlog with break down for these things… because it’s faster to create hierarchy this way! (Hansoft way)
  • Current Day vs Milestone Day – for now I can’t see how much time left for current Milestone. Calendar view is better visualisation for these kind of things, (again Hansoft way)

If those will be implemented you will have complete solution for your indie development tracking. HacknPlan is currently in Beta and you can send feedback to the Author! Here you can see the roadmap.

This tool is from Indie Developer which is targeting Indie as well. I’m using it for my ShooterTutorial initiative and looking forward for full release! Strongly recommended!

Mind Maps

Last thing I would like to mention are mind maps that are great for doing online brainstorms or store features / ideas / goals of the game. If you haven’t used mind maps in your game production you should give them a try.

I’m using Mindmeister (it’s premium above 5 mindmaps) which can be stored in Google Drive next to documentation. You can make the link public so everyone will be able to add ideas.

If you are looking for something to host on your server this solution is simple.

Summary

You don’t need to use any of these tools – from my point of view if you are working alone it’s better to invest time on doing the game instead of planning but if you are working in a team I strongly recommend investing time on planning and learn these tools – they will boost your production and communication with the team!

You may wonder why I use task / goals for ShooterTutorial? Because I have a lot of ideas, issues and I need to be sure I don’t need to remember them all. Thanks to that I can focus on doing the stuff instead of thinking what to do next…

5 thoughts on “Project Management in Cloud for Indies?

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for a good blog post. I wanted to point you to that Hansoft has a much easier option as well developed based on feedback from indie developer producers among others: https://hansoftx.com/

    It’s free, in the cloud, built for mobile and keeps the simplicity from Trello but adds the necessary capabilities to launch an indie game such as a proper backlog.

    Best regards,
    Johan

  2. I would like to suggest visual studio online. free for 5 or less developer. private repo. git with lfs support. have scrum and kanban management tools. unlimited repo size. unlimited project size. unlimited stakeholder account(other people that want to see the development progress that are not developer). extremely easy and not complicated to use when compare to jira(although jira is really customization, but for small scale, i dont want to waste my time customizing).

    ive use bitbucket with bitbucketcards(kanban) and trello before. vso is way more superior imho.

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