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COMP 523: Software Engineering

Fall '21 Lecture Notes - Mon Aug 30 - Project Management



  1. announcements
  2. the goal of project management
  3. communication overhead
  4. tips and tools
  5. bonus: hyperfocus
  6. gathering user stories
  7. the plan for Wednesday

the goal of project management

communication overhead

The Mythical Man-Month

quantifying overhead

reducing overhead

tips and tools

exploit natural seams in the work

write things down

define a source of truth

pull communication to the beginning

aim for 2-4 hours of work per task


Have you used Trello before?

Visit poll.ev/jeffterrell to answer

use Trello (or something similar)

See the Trello board for the Clem project

Concepts include:

Many, many alternatives to Trello exist (e.g. GitHub Projects), but Trello is good and free


What are you currently inclined to use for project management?

Visit poll.ev/jeffterrell to answer

Bonus: hyperfocus

Gathering user stories

Recall the template for user stories:

As a <role>, in order to <goal>, I can <describe feature>.

For example:

As an authenticated user, in order to keep up with my friends, I can see a list of recent posts from my friends, most recent first.

Note the first-person perspective, which helps you focus on value delivered rather than implementation details.

Gather user stories by talking to your client, but remember that the client may have a particular approach in mind that isn’t actually needed (e.g. when the widget I was adding to the web page was auto focusing to the bottom of the page).

To uncover what your client really wants, try to enter their world and see things from their perspective. Try to understand the client’s context.

Here are some questions to ask your client that may help you understand their context (courtesy Arizona State University):

The plan for Wednesday

We’ll start learning design principles and tools, so that you will be equipped to create a clickable prototype of the app you’re going to build.