One thing that’s missing from many online project management apps is the ability to plan your projects using a Gantt chart. Many project managers would argue that such apps aren’t really project management tools at all, preferring to stick with “real” PM software like Microsoft Project.
Gantter is a web app that provides Gantt chart project planning and much of the basic functionality of Microsoft Project for free. Considering that it is emulating a very complex desktop app, it works surprisingly well.
With it you can:
- plan your project and estimate timeframes
- review your plan using a Gantt chart, check project progress, review critical tasks
- manage project resources (work or material) and assign them to tasks
- manage project calendars (set working times, add holidays, etc.)
- manage resource calendars (indivdual working times, vacations, etc.)
The way you work with Gantter is also remarkably similar to what you might be used to from Project. Enter the tasks that make up the project, estimate the time they’ll take, assign the dependencies between them and allocate resources. Gantter will then work out when all the tasks should start and finish, and display the project in a nice Gantt chart. Make any changes and Gantter automatically adjusts the plan. It’s quite easy to use if you’re familiar with Project, and runs snappily.
One feature I wasn’t expecting to see is the ability to import files from Project itself; you just need to make sure that your .mpp files are saved as XML first. Perhaps a little unfairly, I first tested this out with a huge and complex Project file (over 500 rows, 7.5MB) and it didn’t work. But with smaller files it worked well, so Gantter could be an option if you want to share Project data with clients or colleagues who don’t have Project installed.
It’s probably best to think of Gantter as no more than an online Project clone as it lacks all of the collaborative features that you’d really want from a PM web app, like 5pm or Basecamp. You can’t even create an account; if you want to save your plan you have to export it as an XML file locally. However, if you’re looking for a tool to help plan a reasonably complex project and don’t want to shell out for Project, Gantter might be just what you need.
What project management tools do you use?