Friday, June 21, 2013

Secret to providing work breakdown, estimates (LOE), Gantt chart and project schedule - Tech Lead perspective

Software Engineering tip of the day:

The secret to providing good level of effort (LOE) is to dive into deep low-level technical things and not get lost. This might mean that you do a brainstorming session and create a checklist of 100+ items. Then you need to eventually dive back to the surface and properly organize your information. The last step is to provide the numbers on each task per category and sum it up.

I like to refer to this approach as the the "rapper's cheatsheet" approach. Putting all the information on a single cheatsheet is crucial and then the organization (i.e. freestyle rapping) starts after that.

After you have done all of the above, then you can easily create a Gantt chart understanding all the task dependencies and resources available. The main thing is to keep the dependencies at the task level with right resources as opposed to keeping dependencies at the resource level.

Then if you wish to track this to the detail, you can plug it into project schedule using your choice of tool and one of them could be MS Project Office.

In the technical lead/management role, I prefer exposing the Gantt chart and big picture to all my engineering teammates as I don't want anybody developing in the vacuum. It pays off in the project in getting better results in the integration testing.

At the end of this exercise, I get all the information I need to lead the project and most importantly I get to focus on the technical things with the engineering teammates.

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#softwaredevelopment #softwareengineering #developers #development #LOE #estimates #SDLC #gantt #project #schedule



  1. I do project management stuff as well. I use a gantt chart software to draw all my gantt chart. Is there a tool you recommend?

    1. I am a technical lead and the tech lead role obviously overlaps with the project management role. When it comes to Gantt charts, I like to keep it simple to represent the big vision and I don't do it for the low-level tasks. Therefore, I resort to simple tools like Google Drawing/Diagrams on Google Drive. It is a very simple tool for putting quick diagram. Here are the two templates I created with the Gantt chart scale if you want to use it.

      I hope that helps.