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December 04, 2005



You can refer to data in an external Open Office spreadsheet. Each employee could have their own sheet and project managers could use a central sheet to keep track of each individual.


Well, depends on the size of your team... For a big one, yes, locking might be an issue. For <12, not a problem... So probably works for indie developers.

And yes, I'm thinking along the same lines--at our currently capitalization, $500/seat savings is indeed material.


Reading Spolsky's article, it strikes me that the real value there is in the method, not necessarily the program. :) So I have to wonder... why not just drop Excel in favor of something better suited to it like a web app that can be run on an intranet server under someone's desk? Using a framework like Rails, you could probably get something useable (if a bit ugly) in 3 days.

The catch is, however, that assumes you know Rails or some other web framework that you can use to whip up the app in a short time. If you don't, then you're left with hiring someone to write it, in which case we're back to square 1.

Another option is to do a little digging on sourceforge.net or freshmeat.net and see what sorts of free scheduling software is out there... if something like dotProject can meet your needs then it's just a matter of getting the software installed and configured.


I didn't mean to suggest you should stick with MS Office. I meant to suggest that there's a general problem that people in charge think in terms of pennies saved now instead of dollars saved latter. They think "hmmm, I don't want to pay $600 a person for ____, I'll just force all my team to use this free thing and save that money" They don't realize that that thought should not be in the for front of their mind. The thought should be, "how will I make this team most efficient?" If Open Office truely meets your needs then use it just don't evaluate it based on price.

zachary j gamedesigner

FogBugz has some nice usability features but is overall far worse than bugzilla, mainly due to the interesting ability to silently error out when you try to upload a screenshot using it's own god damn tool if the screenshot is larger than it wants. Took me a few days to even figure that out.

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