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#1 ray1234  Icon User is offline

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Keeping Pace- First Major Project

Posted 29 June 2013 - 06:59 AM

I have a general question nothing to do with coding.

I've spent 2.5 months now on my main project which is a web site including variety of features using AJAX, SQL server, JQUERY/Javascript, membership provide, caching, cookie, session state, threading etc. It is a fairly dynamic website and i'm working my best to uphold good programming and design, and using techs like fiddler/ codecoverage etc to improve performance so that it could be scable, robust, extensible etc.

I reakon I completed 30% of the project, and I feel I'm taking to long. Mind you this is my first major project i'm working on and not simple 1 layer apps. I didn't know how one feature can take hours to complete.

In the business world of development, as I'm a one man show, am I working at the required pace or do I have to perform a lot faster?If so how long would a project like this take to complete.

Finally if you want to share your experience on your first major project, that you had to do for a client or by yourself. How did you feel it went, and what main pointers did you took away from the project for future development.

??

thanks,

Ray

This post has been edited by macosxnerd101: 29 June 2013 - 08:08 AM
Reason for edit:: Renamed title to be more descriptive


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#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Keeping Pace- First Major Project

Posted 29 June 2013 - 08:09 AM

Since this isn't C# specific, I'll move this to Software Development for better discussion.
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#3 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Keeping Pace- First Major Project

Posted 01 July 2013 - 04:13 AM

Quote

In the business world of development, as I'm a one man show, am I working at the required pace or do I have to perform a lot faster?If so how long would a project like this take to complete.


I don't know the answer but I am in the same boat as you. What I do know is that I get through features much faster now than I did ten years ago. My testing is better and my interfaces are more flexible. It's all practice. You'll keep getting better and faster for as long as you keep practising ad you have all your mental faculties.
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Keeping Pace- First Major Project

Posted 01 July 2013 - 05:35 AM

View Postray1234, on 29 June 2013 - 08:59 AM, said:

I've spent 2.5 months now on my main project ...
I reakon I completed 30% of the project, and I feel I'm taking to long. Mind you this is my first major project i'm working on and not simple 1 layer apps. I didn't know how one feature can take hours to complete.



How do you reckon you've finished 30%? What does this mean? If you want to talk about "percent completed" you need a realistic project schedule. What that means is:

- you've subdivided the project into tasks to complete or features to add. These features should be independent in terms of the work they require, but there can be (and will be) dependencies among them. (ie, it doesn't make sense to start building part D before part B is completed) These tasks or features can be (and often should be) subdivided in to subtasks, and so forth
- you have made a best-faith effort to estimate the time required to complete each subtask and totaled up the results to create a time estimate for the project as a whole. Generally, you will want to build in some slop there: nobody includes getting sick, management delays, or the various real-world delays that always spring up in their estimates. 10-20% is a reasonable guess for slop in your first go-round.
- you have made some sort of linear arrangement of the tasks and subtasks in the order you intend to address them. (this is just for bookkeeping, and it's technically optional, but it's useful)
- you have devised some sort of honest means of tracking your work on particular subtasks, and of comparing those to your estimates.

This last step is critical, since it'll allow you to correct your estimates

From here, you have a pretty good idea of what you thought the project should require before you started. This is useful to begin with, since it makes you do some planning and think about the pieces of the project in some detail - already, you're ahead of the game! By keeping track of your actual versus estimated time, you'll be able to get a sense of how optimistic you were in estimation (and people are generally optimistic here). You can then apply a scaling factor to keep track of an estimated end date.
("my schedule shows 67 more hours of work, but my optimism factor says I should scale that to 74, so we're looking at about two months out")

This is a useful system because it produces a degree of honesty that simple guessing ("about 30% finished") can't. With all the will in the world, you simply can't avoid the "stuck at 90" problem - most projects fail at 90% complete, after having been stuck there for far too long. It's not that they were 90% complete, it's just that nobody knew where they were, and eventually management pulled the plug.

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In the business world of development, as I'm a one man show, am I working at the required pace or do I have to perform a lot faster?If so how long would a project like this take to complete.


Nobody here can tell how long that "should" take to complete, since we don't ahve any data to work with. But if you make a schedule of work, you'll start to have an idea of how long you expect it to take - and the stakeholders can have an idea of whether that estimate fits in with their overall needs.

(and maybe they trim some features or find you some help or something)

This post has been edited by jon.kiparsky: 01 July 2013 - 05:50 AM

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#5 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Keeping Pace- First Major Project

Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:31 AM

Quote

With all the will in the world, you simply can't avoid the "stuck at 90" problem - most projects fail at 90% complete, after having been stuck there for far too long. It's not that they were 90% complete, it's just that nobody knew where they were, and eventually management pulled the plug.

There is a saying in programming that seems applicable here. The first 90% of the project takes 90% of the development time, and the last 10% of the project takes the other 90% of the development time.
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#6 RandomlyKnighted  Icon User is offline

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Re: Keeping Pace- First Major Project

Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:58 AM

Perhaps you meant that 90% of the project takes 10% of the development time and the last 10% takes 90% of the time.

I'm in a similar boat, I have a project that is taking me a long time to develop. Sometimes I wonder if I'm spending too much time on it, but as I get better at programming I begin to get faster at completing different parts.
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#7 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Keeping Pace- First Major Project

Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:05 AM

View PostRandomlyKnighted, on 23 July 2013 - 10:58 AM, said:

Perhaps you meant that 90% of the project takes 10% of the development time and the last 10% takes 90% of the time.



No, he meant that the first 90% takes 90% of the allocated time, and the last 10% takes 90% of the allocated time - hence, projects run over deadline. It's a joke, son.
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