My recent writing for WebWorkerDaily about project management applications has been focusing on productivity, and the need for the democratization of project data to make it accessible to audiences who may not understand (or want to understand) the ubiquitous Gantt chart.
In this post, I’m going to explore some project management apps for the Mac that fit that vision because they offer intuitive user interfaces and flexible views over project data.
OmniPlan from OmniGroup — one of the brightest minds in Mac productivity applications — includes an intuitive user interface with customizable views.
Task management in OmniPlan takes an outline approach, which is good for users who aren’t full-time project managers. From the outline view, you can track the costs associated with your tasks (resource cost, task cost and total); view task constraints and dependencies; and create milestones that represent completion points in your project.
I came to OmniPlan for my own project management needs because I was looking for a reasonably lightweight project management application and was already using OmniFocus, OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner Pro. One worry I did have was that I work with clients standardized on Microsoft Project, but OmniPlan can import and export MS Project files, and looking at my projects I saw most schedules were saved as PDF before they were distributed to the project team anyway, which took my worry off the table.
OmniPlan costs $149.95 for a single license (a free trial is available).
SharedPlan Pro from SharedPlan offers a project sketching tool (with network diagramming) and an online project editor with additional views, including Gantt chart and resource views. It also includes some more complex project management features including reports, analysis tools and management tools, offering flexibility as to how you can slice, dice and otherwise present project data.
You can easily overlook version management of project schedules, but Shared Plan includes version management features enabling you to compare previous project versions and check historical information.
Merlin2 is another strong Mac project management offering that includes several views of project data, including Activities, a comprehensive Gantt chart, Netplan, Resources and Utilization.
The Merlin2 Library is a source for project-specific information. You can drag and drop information from the library to any of your active projects. Out of the box, the library contains a range of documents and activities for general projects. You also have the option to customize the library to meet your respective project needs.
Merlin2 costs $210, with a free trial available. There is also an iPhone application available.
Which Mac-based project management application do you use?