Often the choice of software or platform software catches us unprepared and we tend to try the most expensive or the most famous software, or we trust the opinions of a colleague or the choices made by other well known companies. Alternatively someone rely on the consultant of the day who usually tends to show the best of his product and to hide the dark sides that so cleverly his company will settle with a certain ad hoc development of course not cost free.
The perfect software does not exist as there is not the best project management software ever. Instead there is definitely the Project Management software that suits our needs!
Now the software of this kind abound on the web and there are products of all kinds making the choice more complicated. Wikipedia provides a classification of software (Comparison of project-management software), but this list is not easy and intuitive for everybody.
We do not want to delve into a detailed analysis of software and especially we do not want to tackle the topic of software on mainframes, but we focus on web platform, personal software and open source ones trying to identify the main features.
Nowadays, Saas (Software As A Service) software are widely diffuse. They often includes all hosting, security and support fees as part of a monthly subscription and they are designed for organisations with limited IT skills and infrastructure, or those wishing to avoid the upfront capital investment of purchasing On-Premise software. In the following description we will underline also the presence of this characteristic.
Software on license
@Task is a software produced by AtTask a widely diffuse software-house. This software adopt techniques from social media which help to improve teamwork. The focus is on communication, which is clear when you look at the organization of objectives, schedules, resources and business data. To use this application you need to have an internet access and everyone in the world with an internet access can be part of the project. AtTask is multilingual. It’s ideal for creating an environment where employees and management can easily keep up to date with the project’s progress. This is a product that demonstrates how businesses can be more efficient and businesslike by applying humanistic values to human resources.
Celoxis is one of the top online project management services. It can stay on the Celoxis server or on a local server. While the interface of Celoxis is clean and appealing, it is missing a few key features especially on collaboration. It is not so easy to use, in fact it offer a user manual, FAQs, email and phone support, but, considering that Celoxis is based in India, phone support can become somewhat pricey as there is no toll-free number. Globally it is a good software with useful automatic scheduling features and the possibilities to add specifications to tasks.
Clarizen is a multi-tenant software witch offer support for customers that manage services. It can support project teams of differ size and it offers comprehensive help, shared interactive timeline abilities and full customization. There’s also social networking capability. It is easy to use considering the minimal learning curve despite the multitude of available features even considering that the interface looks similar to the navigation for an email service. The project management tools are accommodating to a variety of people from various technical levels. Clarizen provides a good base of reporting and dashboards, but it is also missing some significant support for portfolio management analysis (eg. Bubble chart). Globally it is a good software, that we can suggest.
Daptiv is software designed for collaboration and wide organization, in view of the fact that mere than one-third of Daptiv’s installed base of customers are using 500 or more licenses in their contracts with Daptiv. It offers a base PPM support for agile development environments and provides an integration to third-party agile methodology and process tolls, where required. It contains plenty of features and resources so that you can stay on top of your project, big or small. Considering that Daptiv is a single-instance and a multi-tenant software, the vendor can deploy features and functions to customers quickly and at a cost-effective price.
Epm Live is a software based on Share Point Server. Share Point is readily being adopted and supported by many PPM for IT vendors via integration strategies or direct OEM support. This product provides a string alternative to traditional desktop project scheduling and management, coupled with equally strong collaboration, communication, workflow and document management features. Unfortunately, due to the Share Point choice, EPM Live in exclusively based on Microsoft computing platforms and, therefore, only supports SQL Server as the back-end database. In addition to SQL Server, some competitors may also support Oracle and other databases, in addition to SQL Server. Finally EPM Live’s native portfolio management capabilities lack support for decision frameworks and prioritization capabilities.
Genius Project was developed as a solution for the Lotus Notes market. Since then, it has evolved to accommodate current work environments, and the on-demand version was launched in 2008. It focus on social media tools for agile team collaboration. Although you can configure the dashboard to include the modules you require, they are all included. You do not have to purchase separate modules; it is an all-in-one solution. It offers scrum, workflow, help desk and invoicing engines and a variety of hosting options. Genius Project belong to the few vendors that support IBM middleware technology integration to products such as Domino and DB2. Unfortunately it doesn’t support Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle databases as backend database, however it provide integration with these databases and other data sources to bring outside data into the Genius Project System.
We can say that one of the most appreciate characteristic of this product is the support. The balance of core PPM for IT functionality tied to strong service and support delivery enables customers to manage work at portfolio and project levels, and receive the help they need when issues arise. This software has all the main features of a good PPM product, but it is not widely present in the world and it doesn’t have the necessary flexibility in reporting.
This product has good collaboration features and one of the amazing aspect is the dashboard which give you a way to manage timelines and progress. You can also make sure you stay on track for the milestones and daily tasks. LiquidPlanner uses a system that is similar to a social network like Facebook, with a kind of wall where you can put information such as notes on tasks, issues you’ve encountered and discussions with other members of your team. It has a nice functionality: when a team member begins working on a specific task he can start the timer that will keep running in the background of the service until the person selects the Clock Out button. The resource management is not so advanced and the Gantt charts offered is not interactive, so you must edit the details of each task in order to make any changes to the chart itself, but the project managing capabilities are at the level of the main other competitors.
Project Insight has easy-to-use features and an interface similar to that of Outlook which is adapt for beginners. There are good collaborative features such as the mobile option: from your smartphone you can edit tasks and monitor what is going on. The dashboard is customizable and it lets you to prioritize the most important features. It is also possible to choose who has access to the project information including people outside the company (clients, vendors and subcontractors, etc.). It is possible to send emails to the people you need to and they can convert it to a task as necessary or it possible to send email alerts. The communal documents can be putted in one place and organized according to a structure that makes sense. The human resources tracking is well developed, in fact the software tracks skill sets and working hours (with timesheets). The application can even automatically schedule tasks and create custom reports viewing budget options, workloads, statistics, documents involved in the project and more. In the complex it is a good software.
Sciforma is a customizable software, offered as on-site, hosted or SaaS. It can be tailored to fit any company’s PPM environment and ensure that the company processes and methodologies are being followed. It is an adaptable and easy to use enterprise PPM software utilized by a quarter million users worldwide. Its 5 key features are Portfolio Management, Project and Resource Planning, Time Tracking, Reports and Collaboration for your projects. Sciforma offers different packages such as Start with PPM (based on the PMBOK methodology), Agile/Scrum, and NPD (New Product Development). It has a flexible architecture that supports a variety of databases, Java EE application servers and operating systems including Mac OS X.
Tenrox is well designed for collaboration, in fact there are a lot of options for this function such as to leave notes in the project tasks, to create memos for reports that you send out as needed and to comment on budgets. It is possible to track the skills of each team member. It is possible to work at Project Plans even offline. The interface is easy and basic, may be too basic.
]project-open[ is more than just a project management suite. It is a web-based software that covers not only the project-planning and the project-tracking but also related business areas like CRM, invoicing and payments. For this reason we can say that it is very close to ERP software. It well performs all basic project management tasks like managing projects, assigning tasks, generating reports and tracking overall results.
AceProject is a free online project management software that not only help you keep tabs on projects, but it also help you manage employees and expenses. It is possible to manage different types of projects using project template, to assign several users to a project with specific access rights, to use the project portfolio feature, track Gantt Charts, to manage documents and track expense. Collaboration is also well developed with email notifications, discuss forum and task remainders. The free version give you a limited number of projects with a limited number of tasks. It is possible to have paid packages with less limitations.
With over 3 million of active users Basecamp is one of the simplest, fastest, and most scalable service available. Basecamp is available in free for trial version but there are also pricing versions. File storage, online chat, or managing more than one project will cost you. However, for small business, especially those new to online project management, Basecamp is the software to beat. If you choose to upgrade to a premium account—where you can create more than one project—you can take advantage of templates. Basecamp Dashboard is the starting point; from here it is possible to see everything that’s changed in a project. Communication between team members is facilitate by the possibility to use not only Basecamp but also your existing technology, in fact, for example there is a way to post a message using e-mail. There is a writeboard in which is possible to create one or more forum and there is the possibility to manage milestones and To-Do-Lists. Finally we have to notice that the free version of Basecamp offers no file storage, but in terms of overall package it excels.
Codendi is an open-source collaborative development platform offered by Xerox first and then by Viseo Group. This platform based on a LAMP architecture was born to manage the life cycle of software applications. It integrates open-source tools for industrial development, project management and collaboration. Codendi platform is designed for the whole of the project team: project managers, functional experts, technical leaders, architects, developers, quality and IT managers. It enhances collaboration between all the actors in a project ant its tools guarantee a good visibility of the projects status. All the services are accessible anytime, from anywhere and It can be customized to your working methods thanks to its large choice of tools. Codendi can be used to apply agile methods such as SCRUM or XP, or more traditional development processes such as UP or the waterfall life-cycle.
DotProject is a free web-based project management program that provides functionality for scheduling, planning and staffing projects. The Dotproject system fundamental units are companies, projects, tasks and users. It has an extensive functionality especially when using it for task management. It gave life to other open source products like PMango, a web-based software for planning and controlling projects created and maintained by the Department of Computer Science of the University of Pisa (which is a project by Professor Giovanni A. Cignoni). PMango initially was created as a module for dotProject to develop later as an independent application.
EGropupware is a free open source groupware software intended for businesses from small to enterprises. Its primary functions allow users to manage contacts, appointments, projects and to-do lists. It is used either via its native web-interface, making access platform-independent, or by using different supported groupware clients, such as Kontact, Novell Evolution, or Microsoft Outlook. It can also be used by mobile phone or PDA via SyncML. It is not properly a software for project management, but more an Online Collaboration Tool adapt to big enterprises, small businesses and teams within and across organizations all over the globe.
GanttProject is a free tool that offers a plethora of task building, project charting and milestone implementation. It can also export and import functions to Microsoft project which makes it a really versatile program. It is ideal for small to medium sized projects. GanttProject supports milestone feature, is quick and easy to install, can save files as .xml. With this product it is also possible to share projects using webDAV.
OpenWorkbench defined by developers as the killer of Microsoft Project, this software allows the project planning, project tracking and resource management. It is possible to create the baseline adding the activities and defining their dependencies. To each activity it is possible to add information on resources, which are of three types: human, material and tools. It is also possible to associate advanced features such as the start and end dates of activities covered by a particular contract, delays or advances that the project manager can manage. The software allows you to synchronize information with CA Clarity PPM. One of its best features include the ability of the program to also read Microsoft project files which are not a common feature to even the paid project management programs. This program is ideal for large scale projects with its robust functionalities such as project planning, resource management, project scheduling and project review.
OpenProj is a good free tool for Windows-based desktop project management which is a great alternative to Microsoft Project. It is equipped with efficient scheduling engine. It also supports all major project management features such as resource management, task handling, project scheduling, and work bench approach. Unfortunately some features are not designed for the novice and someone are available only for premium members.
Project.net is a fully featured Project & Portfolio Management solution, it works well as a solution for a single project, but it can manage also multiple projects in parallel. With Project.net you can manage projects, collaborate, and use social sharing tools within your team. It has project templates and dashboards. Project.net is available as a hosted SAAS solution, avoiding IT hassles and enabling you to deploy quickly. Unlike other solutions, remote/external Project.net users can securely access and seamlessly interact with project work flows. Besides, Project.net offers paid services like training or top-priority support so you can migrate to the new project management system smoothly
Redmine is a flexible project management web application. Written using Ruby on Rails framework, it is cross-platform and cross-database. It includes multiple projects support, calendar and Gantt charts to aid visual representation of projects and their deadlines.
Zoho Projects 2 is free but it offers also pricing versions, depending on services. It provides online collaboration tools, such as messages, forums, wikis, and online chat. It is possible to configure project milestones, assign responsibilities, set due dates, schedule meetings, and even post documents to an online storage space. It offers a vast features set which seems to be a little bit confusing. Zoho Projects only offers you one project for free.
Which is the best software for you? Tell us your opinion, write a post!