I recently went on holiday and I spent part of my time there, relaxing by the pool, taking in some sun and watching the world go by. It was extremely relaxing, and I should do it more often – my last holiday before then was 2008.

Let not the wheels of friendship rust from want of lubrication

Right back at ya, street face.

My time relaxing permitted me to take a look at managing my projects from a different angle: I’m going to manage them semi-professionally.

I may not be writing code all the time, but I hardly ever stop thinking about it.

It used to be that my personal projects would go one of three ways:

  1. I would work feverishly, often into the wee hours of the morning, several nights in a row until they were completed
  2. I would put in a few hours here and there, throughout the week, eventually finishing off the project.
  3. I would start them, work on them for a little while, then stop pause progress on them for a while. Most of my big projects [Naze Besto, MediCare, etc.] took this route

Well, in the words of a character from a T.V show that I don’t watch: “Not today”.

… Err. I might have stretched that a little far.

Managing Projects?

That’s right. I’m going to be managing my projects from this point forward.

I’m modelling most of my management on the processes that exist where I currently work. We use a combination of Atlassian’s Jira (a Scrum and Agile board simulator) and 10,000 ft (a time management system). I shan’t be using either of these pieces of software, for the simple reason that they offer a LOT of functionality that I don’t require.

Their both fantastic systems, but I’m not looking for a set up that has as many bells and whistles as they do. Plus, I’m looking to do this on the cheap as it’s an experiment to see how well I can regiment my time. That’s why, after a lot of looking around and consulting several comparison sites, I’ve settled on Target Process.

The bonus with Target Process is that I can pay to upgrade to allow more team members (I’m currently locked to 5 in the free version) if my projects ever get to a stage where it’s just me working on them, and it’s used by a whole bunch of big name companies (Cisco and Vaio to name drop, but two).

I’ve not managed to add many of my projects at the time of writing, but I’ll post a screen shot in a later blog post once I’m off to a start. plus, I’ll be able to summarise my weekly/monthly progress on each project in a blog post – I wouldn’t want to leave my wonderful reader base without updates on how I’m doing. Plus, I feel like I should write more anyway. I mean, looking back at my post history, there are HUGE gaps of time that I want to try and make up for – at the very least, so that there’s a log somewhere of what I’ve done with my spare time during my life.

It’ll give me a great chance to be honest with myself and see how many active projects I have (I’m not sure I could count them all, if I tried. Which is not to say that I don’t know how many projects I have, but more a case of them being so far reaching, that most of them can and are split into smaller projects), and see which ones can take priority or which ones can by put on the shelf for the time being (if any).

Pro tip to any aspiring programmers: If you want to be taken seriously in the industry, you’ve got to be able to manage your time well, and make good estimates of how long tasks will take.

So far I’ve started adding my projects from GitHub and I’ve seen a lot of possible work piling up in front of me, but I’m not worried by it all. It’s just another challenge to overcome, you know?

Click to embiggen

It doesn’t look like much, but two of these projects are just names, and one has one has only just left the planning stage

The way I see it, I’ll be able to plan my personal project time a lot better using Target Process. Whether I stick to that plan, however is a different story. you can plan all you like, but if you don’t stick to it, things will go very wobbly very fast.

Anyway I’d better be off, I’ve got planning to do. I’ll catch you all on the flip side.

Jamie is a .NET developer specialising in ASP.NET MVC websites and services, with a background in WinForms and Games Development. When not programming using .NET, he is either learning about .NET Core (and usually building something cross platform with it), speaking Japanese to anyone who'll listen, learning about languages, writing for this blog, or writing for a blog about Retro Gaming (which he runs with his brother)