A project like project Stratos faces many challenges. Some of them are technical, but a lot of the challenges we face are different. As most of the team members are technical students, we are usually able to solve most technical problems. We are far less educated in management and other non-technical tasks. Considering the fact that we have over 60 members, putting in over 1400 hours a week, there is a lot of management and support work that needs to be done.
In order to keep an overview of the project we have structured a lot of the work that is done within the project. One of the main ways we work is by giving out so called work packages to the members of our team to work on. These are clearly defined “blocks” of work with requirements, required knowledge, background information, the expected results, and some more information. This allows people to work on the project effectively without needing to know every little detail about everything in advance.
In order to properly manage this, we use ProjeQtOr, an open source project management code with a ton of features. This allows us to keep track of who is working on what work package, whether they have been checked or not by the chief engineer, how far along they are, and whether they are completed. We can also keep track of the schedule, and when things are behind we can divert resources from different teams.
With a lot of other tools we have tried in the past the tool forces you to work a certain way, and that means we cannot use many of the available management tools for this purpose. Working with ProjeQtOr allows us to use our own way of working, yet still use the features to keep oversight.
The pace in the project thus far has been incredibly high, and only by constantly improving can we achieve our goals. By constantly looking out for new ways to work, new software to use and new methods of management we can also apply this to the management side of the project.