21st January 2007
I decided to streamline my project management procedures with some kind of software, as the number of concurrent projects is increasing, and more and more time is lost both for switching tasks and trying to grasp a-new the global view of the project each time I turn to it.
One of the resources I came across is rather comprehensive – www.projectreference.com. It has both courses on better project management, and some software links.
One of the points when choosing PM (Project Management) software is the question whether it should be standalone (running without internet connection), or web-based (requiring connection to operate). I am not using the “client-server” dissection of PM software types, as standalone can consist of both client and server, but running on a single machine.
I decided to stick to the web-based solutions, as my activities are related to the internet, and if no connection is available – then no projects can be efficiently conducted and managed.
I needed the solution which would allow to have multiple projects with sub-tasks and task dependencies, and ability to assign people to tasks. A kind of projects visualization is needed as well. And, as the software is intended primarily to manage my private projects, I would be glad to have it free. Absence of support is fine.
Another good choice might be project-open, but I have to try it yet. Project-open has online demo as well, and they offer downloadable versions of Project-Open, which allow running it on a single machine with no internet connection.
After trying dotProject and (probably) project-open I’ll write a follow-up to what are the differences, advantages and disadvantages.
There is a project management knowledge base, but it appears rather dead. If you do not need multiple projects with tasks, you might find Google Calendar organizer or FreeMind mind-mapping software useful.
I tried the free version of BaseCamp.com, the product of 37signals. (BTW, 37signals have a good services marketing model, which is worth looking at and probably even repeating – the model, not the services). For me at appears too simple, but this might be an advantage to someone – so check it out.
Mark from Vertabase commented on their web-based PM solution, Vertabase Pro. They have a blog which discusses various PM software options available.
found some more PM and similar tools.
AceProject also has a demo. It seemed aimed at software developers at first, though demo has sample projects in real estate, head hunting and web design. Functionality is close to that of dotProject, though interface looks nicer. Gantt charts are available. AceProject looks light and promising.
GanttProject is an off-line PM tool. As the name implies, it is centred around the Gantt charts. Didn’t try this one.
ActiveCollab is “an easy to use, web based, open source collaboration and project management tool”. Apparently, this is a work in progress, though telling from the screencast (also a copy on my server, by Eli Foner) it’s pretty good. It’s really good! If you were considering BaseCamp – I advise you look at ActiveCollab as well: it’s free, it’s equally and/or even more functional than BaseCamp, it looks good, and it might offer you better experience than BaseCamp. (If you are interested in the hosted solution, and do not want to organize some kind of “intranet” for ActiveCollab specifically – you can contact me, I might be interested in contractual work on setting up “hosted solution” of ActiveCollab for you.) Didn’t try this one, but might do that after tinkering with dotProject. I’m interested in hearing comments/comparisons about this one.
QuickBooks is NOT a PM tool, it’s a kind of an accounting software, available also in online version. However, it works only in IE6, so I just couldn’t try it with FF2. (I wonder if IE7 is supported?)
There is also an interesting thread on drupal about PM software (that’s where I had taken some of the links above).
Please comment which PM tools/solutions you use and why.
came across another to-do list. Didn’t try it yet.