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Solo developer & life project management

tomasforsman profile image Tomas Forsman ・2 min read

tl;dr
What project management tool, or tools, would you recommend for a solo-developer?
By tools I mean both software, hardware and systems.


  • I'm currently rebuilding my dev webpage and my more general webpage.
  • I'm (slowly) solo developing a game as well as experimenting with a couple of different game ideas/mechanics.
  • I'm developing a component library together with a friend.
  • I'm working on my dev ops skills by having everything on a local server, including a git repository and my own websites.
  • I'm also learning more about React, Web Component, ES6, C# and C development.
  • I'm building a radio for my son with raspberry pi and a timetracking device.
  • I'm also slowly expanding my smart home, looking for a new job, working at a dev firm, building furniture, planning a vacation to Scotland, writing a book, becoming a healthier person and, as you can imagine, I'm not sure what I'm forgetting top put on this list.

So, you know, I'm living.

I belive in single-tasking rather than multi-tasking but, especially when it comes to the development projects, it has become increasingly harder to keep track of all the single tasks I have in front of me. I constantly have to juggle many different ideas and when I focus on one project I often remember I was supposed to have done a task in another project that I forgot about and when I'm done with the current task I forget about it again.

What project management tool, or tools, would you recommend for a solo-developer?

By tools I mean both software, hardware and systems.

Discussion (6)

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jjtowle profile image
Jason Towle • Edited

As a solo developer myself, developing a couple of different in house systems, I use Trello to manage the tasks for each. Each application has its own board and I then I split the board into lists of "To Do", "In Progress", "For Review", "Ready For Release" and finally "Done".

Nothing ground breaking but works for me and is particularly helpful.

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alanhylands profile image
Alan Hylands

I'll second this option. I've got a collection of Trello boards for different projects and one overall "Alan's To Do's" with lists very like Jason's.

Big help when juggling a multitude of different projects for work/businesses/family/hobbies etc.

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tomasforsman profile image
Tomas Forsman Author

I used Trello a couple of years ago. Now I'm hoping for a self hosted sollution and at the moment I'm considering installing Restya

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leogdion profile image
leogdion
  1. Keep it simple... don't spend too much time on optimizing tools and methods until you know they work. Right now I am using a spreadsheet to track my tasks of the week - I've used a markdown. Whatever reduces a friction and temptation to optimize.
  2. Separate gathering ideas and tasks from executing and managing.
  3. Do one thing at one time... you pretty much got that with trying to be "single-tasking"
  4. Time Buckets and Calendar - schedule everything for the week so you can visual how progress will be made. you can follow that schedule as much as you want but at least you begin to realize you can't get 25 hours in a day. :)

I am a solo-developer with 5 kids so I know how daunting it can feel. I talk about this on my podcast, OK Productive with my co-host. Here are a few episodes you might find helpful:

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tomasforsman profile image
Tomas Forsman Author

When I decided to create a workflow with project management I had this sinking feeling that it might just be avoiding to work. It's sometimes hard to know where preparation ends and procrastination begins.

I've been writing down a small set of rules to follow and on top is to start each day by doing one of the hard tasks, one of the ones I dread. If I put other such things off until later (tomorrow) it's ok, at least I've gotten one of those tasks done or started.

While I'm a bit worried about not working while setting this up I hope that it'll be for the better. If nothing else, since I'm doing everything self hosted (including project managing, git repository and web server for my .dev domain) I learn a lot and get some material to write about in the process.

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tomasforsman profile image
Tomas Forsman Author

Hah, now I see that your latest podcast is dealing with pretty much what I wrote in my comment! ;) Will listen.