Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Experiment planning - logistics, or how to keep track of all the stuff

After I have had a good run in one experiment I often plan for too much work to be done in too little time in the next one. Vice versa, after running an experiment where everything goes wrong and takes double the time it should; I tend to plan rather less work per day, often leading to dead air and general inefficiency.

I have a feeling that this will repeat it self in absurdum.

This thought got me thinking of one of the hardest, least often discussed and maybe most important parts of the scientific endeavour, logistics. That is, who does what when and what does he (or she) need to do it.

"Logistics, I don't know nothing about these logistics, are but I want some." General Patton (from Actually I was looking for a source for the more well known quote: "Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics," but it seems to be too ubiquitous to have a known origin.

At the moment I am working with large hand-drawn sheets with one column for each experiment/project and one row per week. This works because you can see what is to be done every week and you can see all the projects at once. On the otherhand, it sucks because it can't be emailed or shared over the internet and is difficult to change or update. What I would like would be a scheduling and to-do system that was computer based, and had very good visualisation possibilities.

I have tried to work with google calendar, which is very easy to share, but it is not so good for keeping track of multiple projects. Keeping them each in a separate calendar is a horrible solution.

I guess it is possible in org-mode, but I haven't really gotten that far with it and visualisation probably has to be implemented separately (which could be fun, but which I don't have the time for).

So, does anyone have a good system for project tracking that would be appropriate for experimental science?



1 comment:

  1. Late to the party. Trello seems like it would have been a perfect replacement for what you're describing.

    Any update? Better tools/apps for keeping track of experiments?