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We use bugzilla to track bugs and feature requests, and we also require developers to write to a separate release notes should they finish coding a feature. Old fashion, I know.

One problem we have with the above arrangement, is that while it works great for software that we are already selling, it is completely useless when comes to track the progress of a new software development project. The reason is that at the point of developing new software, we don't,or rather, we can't, use bugzilla to trace the features simply because bugzilla is not suitable to represent the complicated intricacy of feature dependency ( To complete a new software application, there are just too many features to code and we just don't feel like putting them in bugzilla, and even if we did, we had no way of knowing which features depend on which, and we won't be able to get an accurate prediction of the shipping date anyway).

Then, our stakeholders will get concerned about our development progress ( or lack of) and start banging on the team lead ( yours truly)'s door on the estimates, which I can't answer because tragically, I also honestly don't quite know how far is the new application from completion.

How would you present your software development progress to your stakeholders?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Do it the Agile way: Demo early and demo often.

Nothing beats the visceral feeling of actually using it to give a feel for progress.

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+1 for visceral feeling. – karlphillip Mar 14 '11 at 1:58

Disclaimer: I've never used Bugzilla before, so I'm unsure of its project management capabilities (although Bugzilla:Project Management with Bugzilla appears to look good).

This issue sounds like the result of a lack of discipline. You should be using project management software to plan and be accountable for your time and effort spent. Any project management software (I've been impressed with Jira and Redmine) has functionality to split tasks down to a level so you can give an accurate (~hours) estimate on each task.

From there, it's a case of being disciplined and filling out the task details. This will provide the an overview in the form of a gantt chart (Redmine) or a project burndown chart (Jira) which provides instantaneous evaluation on your project's progress.

At the end of the day, it's simply providing a time estimate (which is done by breaking tasks down to maximise accuracy), then as development starts, comparing progress against the initial (or revised) estimates.

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