For Founders: Project Management Tools for Rapid and Sound App Development

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Pravin Daryani is a co-founder of ContentForest, where you can buy and sell high quality, original content. He blogs here!

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I’m not a developer – although, one of the things I do as a co-founder of ContentForest is managing the product development process. Particularly in a startup when technology is in its nascent stage, the features to be developed are continually changing and the product by itself is unstable with new bugs that are spotted every so often – this given, how do you manage the process effectively?

In this post, I will share some tools that we use here at ContentForest. They have helped me keep sane and also made sure that the development is going along smoothly. I have tried countless number of softwares that compete with the ones mentioned below + innumerable other types of tools but these 4 combined have done a great job for us:

Trello: I LOVE Trello. We use this for:
#1 Top level product map: This way everyone in the team knows which direction we’re going. Like most startups, we follow the Lean Startup model wherein we iterate according to real time feedback. So what we do is make a list for each version and have one main list with all feature ideas. Check out the screenshot below and you’ll get a good idea as to what I’m talking about

i1

 

#2 Feature map and status: Trello works great as a project management tool. You can assign, comment and set due dates on each of the features. That means everyone knows exactly what is going on and in which part of the development process we are in (including whether the features have been pushed to test server and who is supposed to do what by when). It is also an excellent tool to map out feature plan and status.

i2

Lucidchart: Similar to Google Docs LC helps you collaborate on wireframes. I love their UI set and also their pre-made templates are extremely handy. Not only do theirwireframes look great and are easy to understand (unlike other tools I’ve used) but you can also makewireframes interact with each other (feels like a semi-working app – really good exercise for usability testing and figuring out what’s missing in the mockup before you give it to the developer).

Skype: I know a lot of startups have started adopting in-house team chat systems like HipChat but Skype group group chat does the job for us 🙂

Bitbucket: Bitbucket is like GitHub, but free. This is the tool that we use most often since we have multiple developers working on our product. They are usually working on different features but especially when two or more doing the UI and the backend of the same feature simultaneously it needs to be well coordinated. So how do you handle all the changes so they come together well and revert back in one click if the change was not good enough? This is where BitBucket comes in. We use this as a bug tracker + version control system + software backup storage place.

I’m always learning and figuring out how to make things better and I’d be really curious if you guys have anything to add to what I wrote above – make sure to leave a comment in the section below and tell me what you think.

Oh, also, in a few days, I’ll be doing another blog post on ‘Tips on Managing Your Developer The Right Way’ – this is the non-technical part of the project management process. Follow me on twitter (@pravindaryani) – I’ll tweet the link as soon as it’s up 🙂

Pick by  Foto Pamp on Flickr (cc)