Finding the Perfect Online Project Management Tool Day 105

$400/month can’t buy you project management happiness.

I think I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. My efforts in this project management search are entirely fruitless so far. Even after giving up the idea of a free and open source solution, paid services also do not provide what I’m looking for. Take the case of projectinsight.net. Its an online, subscription-based service that offers you all the flexibility and power of, well, Microsoft Project Server. At least thats what it appears to be. For a small company such as ours, having 20 people using ProjectInsight would cost approximately $400/month. With this strong monetary seed we could still not track bugs or personal schedules, although recreating complex projects from Microsoft Project would be very easy. Then we could get the resources assigned to each project (people) to fill in time sheets at the end of every day, in up to .01 hour increments, and by calculating their hourly rate we could easily determine, at a click, the fastest way to piss off talented engineers and give myself additional headaches.

That is not the direction I want to go. I was initially interested in projectinsight.net because it had the feature of tracking Issues for each project, which would have served as an acceptable bug tracker tool. However, that feature is not activated on the evaluation copy of the service which I am testing now, so I can’t even see if it would serve.

I am now thinking that my torrid love affair with Gantt charts might need to come to an end. They are pretty but they just aren’t included in enough project management programs.

3 Responses

  1. I’ve just come across your quest while undertaking my own review of on-line project management tools.

    One way round your “torrid love affair with Gantt charts” is not to use them. My personal experience is that their only real use is as a reporting tool to senior managers who seem to think they understand them; bizzare since I know few project managers that actually produce them in detail and even fewer that hreall keep them up to date!

    What I have found works instead is using the DSDM project management methodology http://www.dsdm.org. One of DSDM’s key techniques is the use of rigid deadlines called timeboxes which are 2-6 weeks apart typically. I won’t go into the details of how timeboxing works (its a 100 page manual) but one of the side effects is that Gantts become irrelevant and you can manage the scheduling of a project on a high level PERT chart and a prioritised list of requirements.

    Drop me a line if you want more details. Im currently investigating using Project Spaces as a lightweight support for my projects.

  2. Have you already looked at openworkbench.org? I’d love to read your thoughts.

  3. We’ve just released a new free web2.0service for managing and sharing tasks. You may find it interesting to look at http://task2gather.com

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