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August 10, 2005

Eventum is Pretty Slick for Simple Project Management

A few weeks back I read a post somewhere (I think by Arjen) about Eventum, an issue tracking system created by and used at MySQL AB.

I've been looking for a tool to track projects, something simple that will let me enter description information, categorize projects, indicate priorities and estimate time (in developer hours). I'd looked at worklog, also used by MySQL AB but there was a lot of hard-coded configuration data. I also played with Metis, but it didn't have the finctionality I was looking for (too reliant around dates, I don't have dates).

After having used Eventum for a week, I think it's just the tool I was looking for. We have no project manager in our office who keeps track of projects, priorities and timelines. Having a tool to enter projects and be able to assign priorities and estimate time fills a gap we needed desperately. This doesn't replace our bug tracking system, Mantis, nor will it give us what we get from our wiki where we write specifications and documentation.

For now I'm the only one using it, just to keep track of incoming projects. I figure after a few weeks of feeling like it's serving me well I'll share it out with the developers and then eventually the user support folks.

So far I've made one customization (in the Smarty templates), a display of the total estimated developer time for any given list of issues. Any time you look at a list of issues, each with their own estimated development time, I added a line at the bottom of the table that totals up the development time. Thus, if you do a search for all issues assigned to a specific developer you can quickly see how much time they are currently committed to. Same for a particular category, you can see how many total developer hours until the completion of the project:

Total Est Dev time: 164 hours = ~23 days = ~4 weeks

Adding this took two changes to the list.tpl.html template (in templates/en). The first, added after line 203:

{assign var="total_hours" value="`$total_hours+$list[i].iss_dev_time`"}

The second block is added after line 286:

{if $total_hours}
<td class="default" colspan="10">
Total Est Dev time: {$total_hours} hours
= ~{$total_hours/7|string_format:"%d"} days
= ~{$total_hours/35|string_format:"%d"} weeks

Other than having to do this again if we upgrade Eventum in the future, I don't think I've violated any of the templating principles used. It makes it really nice to see the total estimated time on every set of results on the list page.

One other thing I'd like to see is an Excel export of all fields, including the issue body. Having the Excel export makes this tool a great fit in our office because my manager likes to have everything in a spreadsheet that she can manipulate.

All in all a pretty cool tool. Go Eventum.

Posted by mike at August 10, 2005 1:34 AM