Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Project’

ProjectLibre – Free project management software

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

This is another of our free alternatives to Microsoft Project.  From the reviews it is a relatively similar product to Microsoft Project.  It has a ribbon menu and covers such things as scheduling and resources.  It can provide Gantt, Network and work breakdown structure.  The only thing missing seems to be a body of knowledge or help files.

For more information Click Here

Project Administrator without Microsoft Access

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

You can now download our Project Administrator Project Management software even if you don’t have Microsoft Access installed.  We have developed a version that installs an Access runtime file that will allow you to use the software. Project Administrator enables a project manager to manage the schedule, risks, issues, actions, changes, budgets and expenditure, documents, roles and responsibilities and much more – all through one piece of software.

Download a fully functional 30 day trial version by clicking here

If you would like to find out more information click here, or view some videos.

Stoplights in Microsoft Project

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Some time ago Brian Thompson from Capgemini in the US wrote a white paper for us on adding Stoplights to Microsoft Project. We continually get questions about it, and people wanting to have some sort of variation.  We had one such request last week.  I copied Brian on the request, and when I did not hear from him, and received another urgent email from the person seeking help, I put together the example and sent it to him.  Not only that, Brian had worked out how to achieve the same thing and sent the code to the requester.  We provide service way beyond the call of duty.  Two solutions from two people in one day.

Brian and I were chatting and he has kindly provided some more information on his white paper.  Here is Brian’s supplementary information. I suggest you read the original white paper Stoplights to Microsoft Project before the additional information below.

Microsoft Project Stop Light Additional Information (Covers two different models for reference)

Original Code (Model 1):

IIf([Duration]=0,(IIf([% Complete]=100,2,IIf([Finish]<Now()+7 And [% Complete]<100 And [% Complete]>=80,3,IIf([Finish]<Now()+7 And [% Complete]<80,4,1)))),IIf(([% Complete]=100 Or [% Complete]>100*(Abs((Now()-[Start])/([Finish]-[Start])))),2,(IIf([Finish]>Now(),IIf([Start]>Now(),1,3),4))))

Blue section applies to milestones, orange section applies to tasks.

This code provides a model that enables the following:

1)        If a task or milestone is =100% complete then green light
2)        If a milestone is due in the next 7 days or past due (the 7 days can be changed to suit your requirement by updating the ‘7’s’ in the formula above) and is 80% or more complete then yellow light (can be changed to suit your requirements by updating the ‘80’s’ in the formula above)

3)        If a milestone is due in the next 7 days or past due (the 7 days can be changed to suit your requirement by updating the ‘7’s’ in the formula above) and is less than 80% complete then red light (can be changed to suit your requirements by updating the ‘80’s’ in the formula above)

4)        If the current % complete on a task is better than the current rate of progress of a task (i.e. ahead of schedule on a task) then green light

5)        If the start date of a task is a future date then white light

6)        If the start date has passed but the finish date is a future date and % complete is behind the current rate of progress then yellow light

7)        If the finish date is past due then red light

Microsoft Project Traffic Lights

IIf([% Complete]<100,IIf([Finish]>(Now()+14),1,IIf([Finish]<=(Now()+14) And [Finish]>=Now(),3,IIf([Finish]<Now(),4))),2)

Code applies for both milestones and tasks.

This code provides a simple model to enable the following:

1)        If a task or milestone is =100% complete then green light
2)        If a task or milestone is <100% complete and is due within the next 14 days then yellow light
3)        If a task or milestone is <100% complete and is past its’ finish date then red light
4)        If a task or milestone is <100% complete but is not due for 15 or more days then white light

Note: The 14 day planning fence can be changed to suit your requirements by updating the ‘14’s’ in the code above.

The Graphic Indicator logic remains the same for both models:

Microsoft Project Traffic Lights

Microsoft Project Traffic Lights

Alternatives to Microsoft Project

Friday, March 27th, 2009

I remember presenting at a project management conference and asking the audience who used Microsoft Project.  All I could see were hands in the air.  I had to reverse the question to find out who didn’t.  It turned out over 90 percent used Microsoft Project.  There are alternatives and without getting into too much detail, we list some below.  Thanks to Techrepublic for providing some information.  If anyone wants to add their experiences or other packages, it would be useful.

Packages seem to fall into two categories.  There are the ones you rent as a SaaS (Software as a Service) and those you buy and run yourself.

Saas

  • ProjectManager.com Online project management software for professionals. Project Manager.com gives you a project dashboard for planning, tracking and collaboration real-time.
  • ProjectOffice.net is developed by and for people in the IT business. Bug tracking is included.
  • Basecamp. Web based project management tool.
  • Quickbase. Web based project management tool.
  • GTD Agenda. Manage and prioritize your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
  • Zoho Project web base project management. Plan, Track, Collaborate and Manage your Projects Online. Pay per project.
  • Project Insight. Another web base scheduling tool. /
  • ProjectManager.com. Another web based scheduling tool.
  • OpenProj. This software has been aquired by Serena, which still provides the personal version for free.  They recommend a paid subscription for the collaborative version named Projects On Demand. This costs $10/month per user for the first six months, then $20/month thereafter.

Desktop products

  • Primavera. A top end product which is many times the cost of MSP.  Used for things like major infrastructure projects.
  • Artemis. Another top end product.
  • Open Workbench is an open source desktop application that provides robust project scheduling and management functionality. Already the scheduling standard for more than 100,000 project managers worldwide, Open Workbench is a free and powerful alternative to Microsoft Project.
  • Primavera SureTrak. Now owned by Oracle.
  • RationalPlan. According to them they are a great alternative to Microsoft Project with some extra-features like multi project management (only for Multi Project version). It offers you the most important capabilities of a good project management software while beeing able to operate on various platforms starting with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and all other Java enabled platforms.
  • GanttProject. It is free and is java based so cross platform (OS X, Windows and Linux).
  • DotProject. An open source project tool.

Project Administrator Phases

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Our Project Management Software – Project Administrator – imports information from Microsoft Project. This is basically the task information. One question we have been asked is why we cannot link phases set up in Microsoft Project with phases in Project Administrator. I will attempt to describe the difficulty involved.

The connection with the project plan in Microsoft Project is relatively basic. We have never found a flexible way to link phases in PA to phases in MSP. The problem is that if you create a phase in MSP, it is just another task record. A task, a summary task and a milestone are all task records. Whilst you can differentiate between tasks, summary tasks and ordinary tasks, there is no differentiator for phases.

A phase is usually a summary task, but beyond that, there is no way to recognize it as a phase. We thought of searching for the word “Phase” but then there are things like “Phase Preparation” or “Phase Review” which would also appear as phases.

Another option we thought about was to have people use specific wording such as “Phase 1” or “AAA Phase” however it was bound to lead to complications – particularly with people who were not using the terminology.

We looked at special fields (Text1, Number1 etc.) but some organisations have a convention to use these for their own identification. In the end, we have not been able to come up with a solution that would work in a generic way. The way we set it up is that when you set up a phase in Project Administrator, you establish a date range (start to finish). Any task or milestone in MSP that falls within the date range is considered in the phase. It is not perfect, but is the best solution we have been able to come up with.