Who needs a task management software and when?

By | July 22nd, 2011|Project Management Software|Comments Off on Who needs a task management software and when?

Many people find themselves at a certain point in their life looking for a task management software to help them refocus and keep their finger tips on what is important. Task management products organize, schedule and ensure that tasks get done on time. On short it can boost your productivity. By being better organized and more focused on what you have to do, you save time and reduce stress.

Good task and project management software was hard to find a few years ago when people were using Outlook. Nowadays productivity has become almost an obsession of geeks everywhere, so the increasing request for such tools generated a large base of good task and project management solutions. There are a lot of choices to help manage the tasks, ranging from standalone applications to web-based services.

What exactly are users looking for?

Most of them are actually looking for a personal organizer application to put some order in their busy and messy life. “In the beginning, I somehow managed to keep everything in my head. Then, as I began to take on more projects, I realized that I needed a task management system to keep me organized and focused.” says Deborah Woehr a freelance researcher and writer.

These personal organizers generally take the form of the so called “To Do List” applications where users create a list of tasks for which they set a start date, some deadlines and a priority – something very simple.

The Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology

Most of the to-do-list applications these days adopt, to one degree or another, the GTD approach to task management according to the work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress free productivity. Apps vary as to how tightly or loosely bound to GTD they are.

The problem, though, with To Do lists and personal organizers is that are only good for your work. Task management or task tracking software is more than just a to-do list. In a business many of the tasks are collaborative and require multiple team members to fulfill several tasks in a single project. In this case you need an application where assignments could be made, all tasks could be tracked, and completed work could be archived. This is a true task management tool.

Users sometimes need to manage multiple projects and delegate work to resources, schedule tasks in time or even create plans. This is a further step to an upper level: project management or project planning software. (more…)

Project Management Software Alternative for Microsoft Project

By | July 11th, 2011|Microsoft Project, Project Management Software|Comments Off on Project Management Software Alternative for Microsoft Project

One of the most used project planning software of all times is Microsoft Project with millions of users worldwide. The product is used mainly by companies to manage projects in almost any activity area. However the users base does not end here and the software package is also used for educational purposes or for personal use.

In the past there were very few project management tools hence a poor competition and for this reason the prices for such tools were high. In the last years the software market has grown rapidly such that at this moment there are hundreds of such products: some of them have just some basic functionality while others offer a full solution to manage projects. For this reason the prices have dropped significantly.

What to look for when searching for a Microsoft Project alternative

However many users still use Microsoft Project despite the high price. Why? Simple: Microsoft Project is still considered as the “de facto” standard in project management and many project plans are stored in its format. The biggest problem in migrating to another project scheduling software is the conversion of existing data to the new format. For this the new adopted product must be able to successfully read Microsoft Project files. Even more if it is needed a Microsoft Project integration then the new product must also be able to export data in MS Project Data Exchange format.

Another important factor in deciding what alternative to Microsoft Project to choose is the list of available features. It must supply some powerful tools like Gantt charts, scheduling mechanisms, resource management, cost management, etc. If it provides even additional features like running on multiple platforms, support for collaboration or even the possibility to handle multiple interdependent projects that is even better.

One major problem that users have with MS Project is the fact that they do not always need to modify projects. Many times they only need to view the projects or even less to see what they have to do. OK you might say that some printed reports will do the trick but this is somehow limited. Instead of using some static reports it would help a lot more to have a dynamic view over the projects: on short a Microsoft Project viewer.

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