Gantter Puts MS Project Online

16 Comments

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 (s msft).

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.

A project plan in Gantter

A project plan in Gantter

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.

(Via Lifehacker)

What project management tools do you use?

16 Comments

me

I’ve been looking at this thing, but I can’t edit dates on line items… anyone else running in to this or is it just me?

Dina

To put my 2 cents into the basecamp/wrike discussion, I would prefer to toss LiquidPlanner into the discussion. Wrike does have the collaboration and drag & drop gantt chart (that basecamp is lacking) but LiquidPlanner has a powerful scheduling engine with ranged estimates, allowing for more realistic schedules. Also, LiquidPlanner is a great tool for managing resources across multiple projects, and flagging when a resource is overloaded and his/her milestones are at risk of being missed. Does Wrike do that?

(www.liquidplanner.com)

Simon Mackie

@Josh – I mentioned Basecamp as it’s the most popular app for managing projects that I know of. Gantter and Bascamp (and most other online PM tools) have different use cases. Basecamp is good for managing projects, communicating progress, etc, whereas Gantter is for planning and estimating. Wrike probably does span the middle ground here as it has Gantt charting.

Agreed that Project is way too expensive for a product that hasn’t seen any serious improvement or development in years.

@tom It does look very much like a Google Docs tool, but I think that’s quite unlikely. Project is quite a niche app compared to the rest of the Office suite.

Josh

I don’t think that Google will buy anything that has less than 100 000 confirmed users. Anyway, it sounds like a good app for those who doesn’t need any collaboration, simply a gantt chart and doesn’t want to pay for the Project license, which is way too expensive. It’s weird you mention Basecamp in this post though, as it doesn’t have any chart. I think a tool like Wrike.com could be a better reference in this case. It has drag and drop support for creating tasks, rescheduling them and building dependencies on the gantt chart, which is pretty cool.

tom

my guess is Google will buy this web app within the next couple of week following an integration into Google Docs…

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