My own project management system
May 31, 2019
A spring day back in 2017 I decided that it was time to act!
I was tired of user stories being used as todo-lists; (under)estimating them, trying to share them between front-end and back-end developers, attempting to express under-the-hood work, them being ordered in irrational ways... and possibly more things that I've forgotten in the meantime.
So I did what I usually do in such situations: I tried to invent something better.
~150 hours of work and some months later it was finally in a usable state, and it had gotten a name: Tasq.
Tasq has three concepts to understand:
- User stories: These are what you know them to be - and they must be testable and cannot be estimated
- Tasks: What actually has to be done/built, these can be estimated
- Features: Collections of tasks and user stories, and they also come with a description field
And here's how those concepts are thought to be used:
- The project is described by creating a bunch of features and adding user stories to those features
- A person who knows how to build stuff goes through each feature and adds all the necessary tasks (possibly with estimates)
- As tasks get finished their states are updated accordingly
- When all of a feature's tasks are done, it's user stories can be tested to verify that the feature is working as intended.
Tasq doesn't enforce a workflow though, so if it suits your needs, you can also create a feature with only tasks or user stories. Or you can decide not to use features at all, it's up to you.
A feature, complete with user stories and tasks
You might wonder what has happened in the meantime? It has been more than a few months since spring 2017...
What happened was that Tasq got in a working and stable state, but my employer decided to go with Asana, more mature, more features and all that. Then my girlfriend got pregnant, and we had a baby boy and he's now almost a year old.
So Tasq ended up in the pool of possibly infinitely paused side project - and who am I to build a project management system afterall?
However, I do believe that Tasq's unique (I think - otherwise let me know!) approach works really well; the whole user stories, tasks, and features concept. Tasq is still my go-to-tool for running my side projects, though I'm obviously biased, and it's a project that I'm hoping to spend more time with in the future.
If you want to try it out, it's available at www.tasq-app.com and I'll gladly accept any feedback!
A warning: While it's working well on desktops, it's a bit rough around the edges on phones.
And I almost forgot: Here's a quick glance a the technical side of things:
- The API is using express with a knex-based ORM connecting to a postgres DB
- The app is built with react and redux - and stylus for CSS
- I'm using pug templates for the emails
- It's all hosted on heroku