Jacob Chan

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Jacob Chan

Appease (Side Project)

A Task Management Software to make everyone happy.

Situation

In my experience, it is a very good indication of a well developed team when the PM and the engineers work well together. Although this should be the case 100% of the time, in reality, there exists misalignments between each parties' priorities, expectations, and vision.

Problem

Although this problem varies from team to team, company to company, there is one common, tangible medium that (try to) harmonize the two sides: PM Software. Products like JIRA, Asana, TargetProcess, and many more all aim at giving the vision at a high and low level to appease all groups: PMs, Designers, Engineers, etc.

However, from my experience, the Software gets neglected here and there, complained about a ton, and really doesn't give a good job at overviewing stories, tasks, epics, from all levels. To me, it seems like PM software were built for PMs for devs to use, and for devs to understand it from the PM perspective.

I wanted to take this from a dev's perspective. Here is the problem to be tackled:

Why do popular PM Softwares require so much work? Why are engineers/devs so against using them?

Target Users

The idea of this app is to appeal to both PMs and devs.

After analysis, devs are very oriented around the following desires:

After analysis, PMs are very oriented around the following desires:

Target User - Dev

Target User (dev) Brainstorm

Workflow

The workflow must be super simple, and incorporate these needs and desires expressed by the two main target users. The interface needed to:

Workflow Brainstorm

Workflow Brainstorm - 4 screens

Features

Automation

Metrics based cards will have a configuration to watch a certain metric (i.e. PagerDuty, Grafana, etc.) and report back. The user can set certain threshholds to deem its "health" (e.g. 90% uptime is "Good" health). These cards are persistent, so they are not ever 'complete'.

Development based tasks will also have a configuration to watch a certain feature to be built, tests to pass, etc. This will be done through watching the version control agent (e.g. GitHub) and wait for a certain trigger (e.g. PR gets merged, Issue gets resolved) to be marked as complete.

Appease Metric

Metric Cart Data Structure

Transparency

Users can configure their dashboard to however they want. Using search queries (database-style), that will be stored and saved as 'what the user wants to see', and will curate results based on that (e.g. First 10 from "Platform Team" and assigned to me). They will also see metrics at a glance or see the trigger that will complete the task. (Use case: PMs will want to see high level of multiple teams, devs will want to see low level of their own team).

As well, you can search for and navigate through all tasks (results curated by DB-style query). A nice GUI will aid the PM in dragging & dropping tasks from team to team (sorted and grouped by a DB-style query).

Appease Task Appease Task

Task Data Structure

Development of Idea

Initial Idea

Create a PM software for the whole company, to align company vision (such as objectives, key results) with low-level tasks (such as bug fixes, features). The misalignment between C level execs and lower level employees could have been better. This would include configurable dashboard so that people of all levels can see what they want to see.

Initial Idea Initial Idea

Initial Idea pre-pivot

Pivot

The idea of automating the PM software rolled into another huge problem that causes PM software to not be so widely used: people are lazy. By setting these auto metrics and triggers, this would save a whole lot of headache.