How to keep clean organization while working on multiple projects ?

Answer to this question depends on workflow and nature of projects itself.

Below I would like to present my approach to manage sanity while having multiple projects going simultaneously. This would be Embedded Systems Consultant view and will mostly show directory organization, but I think it can be adopted to other programmers workflow.

Directory organization

Usually I have up to 10 projects from external customer running and ~3 internal. Obviously better organization minimize overhead related to searching and wondering where to put recently obtained file. During last 3 years I collected over 60 projects for 45 customers.

Based on that experience I created directory structure that work pretty good for above numbers. Scheme looks like this:

Customer/year order

One flaw that this setup has is for project that last more then year. I don’t think making it <customer>/<year> improve things, because then I would have tens of even hundred of directories in projects. Splitting it by year makes searching focused. For now, when I deal with project longer then year I just copy relevant part from previous year. By relevant part I mean something that I really have to use, not one time reference. This can be for example particular SD card image that is still used as development base.

Customer

Customer part is trivial, although sometimes can cause confusion. There are situation where I start research not knowing what company I work for, because I was reached not from company domain. There are also cases when someone reach me over freelance portals (Upwork, Guru etc.) that information provided are outdated or simply invalid.

Having correct customer name is important only at invoicing stage, before that if I’m not clear I just place some made up string that can uniquely identify customer. Usually this is company name and contact person name, if company unknown.

Project name

Usually prototype projects doesn’t have marketing name, but project can be called by SoC/CPU/dev board + main feature ie. a20_camera, bbb_canbus_reader etc.

What most embedded projects needs ?

After couple years I found that couple thing are typically needed:

  • logs – this directory is used most of the times, I tend to run minicom in it with enabled logging, you never know when you will need information form this directory, naming convention for log files is something I still struggle

  • images – this is directory for OS images, typically I have here SD card images and ISO images of distros used in project, sometimes you may end up keeping multiple instance of the same OS in various projects, but with 1 B disc this should not be big concern, you can always search for duplicates, knowing where your OS is and avoiding downloading it again can save some time

  • releases – this directory contain all releases, developers usually use work in progress code, but customer receive release version of deliverables and usually will report bugs against particular release version

  • src – this directory keep all source code related to project, those are mostly git repositories cloned inside directory

Sample directory structure may look like that:

Summary

I hope this concept is somehow useful for you. I want to keep above information for self reference, because I was asked couple times how to organize multiple projects. Explaining this each time leads to this article. Of course whole organization is very subjective and may not work good for everyone.