Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Open Source Project Management

I like open source software for some things.

Interoperability is king, though, when it comes to providing a lower-cost alternative to products that are marketed more strongly.

Two project management applications I've recently tried?




These are both installable applications for PC, Mac & *nix.

Having played with ProjectLibre for a while now, I was looking for two specific features in it, and GanttProject.
1. The ability to schedule the Summary / Parent task either separate from, OR as a result of the children. In other words, I first want to make the parent task (that is, the phases of the project), define the dependencies between them, and then go back and fill in the tasks per phases.

When I fill in the tasks per project phase, I want the tool to stretch the dates of the parent automatically. It also works for me if, like MS Project, there's a button I can flip that tells the tool "manual or auto" for the date scheduling.

I use this all the time for roughing in phases - much faster than tweaking task dates first - and to quickly communicate in Gantt chart form.

2. Date selection that works. The dates, although you can manually define them as what you want, don't work, and aren't user friendly. For example, in ProjectLibre, I can't just type in today's date, and the tool figures out that "Oh, hey! You want to use today? Sure! I'm just going to assume the normal start/end time for that, OK?"

Instead, it requires manually typing in the date in a programmer-decided format. NO! Bad coder! I want to type in the date, not have to be precise. I'm trying to manage a project here, and prototype phases with dates, not get stuck in a syntax war with my software tool.

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