Petra’s Call + Google Docs = 1 man agile development

Petra's Call Backlog
Petra's Call Backlog

In my day job, I am a project manager/producer type. That means that spreadsheets and schedules are a large part of how I spend my day.

When I decided it was time to get it in gear and start working on Petra’s Call, between making the comic, setting up the website and learning all of the Flash, I realized I had A LOT of work to do.

Being the project management nerd that I am, I adapted my favorite agile project management system, Scrum, to a solo operation.

I broke all of the things I needed to do into small steps and estimated how many hours it would take to do each one. Then I prioritized everything that needed to be done and set up a series of 2 week ‘Sprints’ to get everything ready for launch.

Every day, I update the doc with what I’ve done, and if something is taking longer than expected, I update the hours on the doc. If something new comes up, unless it’s an absolute EMERGENCY, I add it to the ‘backlog’ of work that is remaining and keep focusing on my 2 week Sprint.

For me, it works wonders. It gives me a place to throw ideas for new features in the browser/website, let’s me break all of the different things that I need to do into individual steps and makes sure that I stay focused.

If you want to check out the how I do it (with a clear look at some of my future plans for NRD/Petra’s Call), I have made the doc public.

If you have any questions, comments etc on the process, please ask away! it works great for me and I’m sure it’ll help other people overcome chronic procrastination.

The War of Art – The book every creative must read

I am not a religious person, but if I were to have a bible, it would undoubtedly be The War of Art ( by Steven Pressfield.

It is the one piece of published work that has changed my life and how I live it more than any other.

It’s the book I give to dozens of friends who have dreams that need chasing. It’s the book I read on New Years day and Summer Solstice every year. It’s the book that I turn to when watching UFC re-runs is more enticing than working on Petra’s Call.

When my alarm clock goes off at 5AM and I want to press ‘snooze’ one more time, it’s The War of Art that gets me out of bed and gets me in front of the computer.

While many factors conspired to make Ninja Robot Dinosaur and Petra’s Call a reality – I know, without a doubt, that it never could have been done without The War of Art.

If you ever find yourself fizzling out on a project, watching TV instead of writing your novel or constantly putting off your most important creative work for ‘just one more day’, The The War of Art is the kick in the ass that you need. I cannot recommend it enough.