Where the Heart Is was the final project of this trimester, and over 4 weeks, we needed to create a project that evoked the feeling of being “home”. Where the Heart Is was an interesting challenge, with four people we needed to create a game that was ‘Exhibition Ready’ to be shown off at Brass Razoo! As you can imagine, managing the time we had was critical, to ensure we were able to test and iterate on our product as often as possible.

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For Where the Heart Is, we relied on Hack’n’Plan more than previously to structure our time. During class, we would tick off tasks as we started and finished them, and add upcoming ones as we established them. Our strategy here wasn’t very structured, but I was satisfied that we were ticking these tasks off at all. From week to week we would add upcoming tasks and transfer the tasks we didn’t complete the previous week. We didn’t pay much mind to task due dates, because the dates themselves were only made in advance of milestones such as testing sessions and not considerate of task completion times or other factors. Task durations, however, were very helpful in gauging the time we spend each week/session, and squeezing the most out of class-time was really important. We found that our estimated task durations were often accurate, because everyone was consulted on their expected task duration when the tasks were assigned. Using Hack’n’Plan made a significant difference in how we approached tasks, my team and I could assign tasks to ourselves that needed completion that week and we were rarely without anything to do. The only way to streamline this process would be to have short sprints at the beginning and end of class time to assign tasks for that class, and tasks for between classes. This way, we can be even more organised with our time and ensure everybody has tasks to complete during and after class time.

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Jordon was our Project Manager to begin with, but because of personal issues, he left for a week, leaving the job to me. I wasn’t prepared to do Project Management along with my other responsibilities, which stifled our progress on his tasks for that time. However, we could rely on Hack’n’Plan to assign tasks to each other, and organised task list meant that I didn’t need to enforce anything for the project to continue as it was intended. We needed to cut some features to make up for lost time, but the minimum viable product for Where the Heart Is was never in jeopardy from any time lost.

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Our team organised a Slack for us to communicate, but everyone seemed to prefer Facebook Messenger. Everyone in our group has Facebook Messenger installed and uses it regularly, so Slack fell to the wayside. Slack ended up being used for Animation and Design liaising, however, but the ability to search messages, store files, and use Slack’s alert featured (@name, @channel, @everyone) mean the whole team should be on Slack for future projects.

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Overall, Where the Heart Is was a much smoother project, even despite losing people due to sickness or other problems. My team was very proactive and self-motivated, so despite our problems we were still able to ship more than just a minimum viable product. With a more organised use of sprints for assigning tasks and planning for the future, we can harvest more time out of every session.

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