A few days ago I saw several blogposts about an new project management tool OpenProj (www.openproj.com). The application is released as beta on Linuxworld. Solveig Haugland wrote this post (http://openoffice.blogs.com/openoffice/2007/08/openproj-open-s.html). Bob Sutor also blogs about it here: http://www.sutor.com/newsite/blog-open/?p=1780 .
I rushed to see what this was all about, thus I am a project manager and I been looking for an alternative to 'you-know-who'.
I have tried to use GanttProject (www.ganttproject.org) for some small projects in the past. But GanttProject doesn't actually solve my needs. So I was excited to see whats in this new program. GanttProject is a Java application based on the Eclipse platform. My experience is, that there is some minor problems with the graphical interface and sometimes it's very difficult to keep control with all elements in the grahical gantt view. GanttProject has several export filters, e.g. pdf and bitmap. But there is no support for ODF in any way. I tried to download and install a new beta version today, but unfortunately it wouldn't start (some java exception or what ever).
I tried OpenProj today too. Well knowing that it's only a beta release, I was actually surprised. This application is also a java program and it loads quite fast. It seems as a much more comprehensive project management tool to me, contains both resource management and also, and this is important: Financial tracking and several reporting capabilities. Thus I found several problems in the graphical display, it was rather easy to control the items on the graphical gantt screen.
I'm looking forward to see a release in the future.
I'm just a little confused about all the different names. The application is called OpenProj but in the title bar, it's suddenly called Projity. If you ask for on-line help, you are directed to a web page with help for Project-on-demand. Well, I guess that the company is Projity and the open source software is OpenProj. And the Project-on-demand must be another program.
Why is project management tools so important ?
Managing large projects has several serious issues that all have to be dealt with. We need to keep track of all the contracts and specifications. We must be able to register and maintain project roles and resources and as the project planner, I need a planning tool that corresponds with a database with all available resources (people) and their skills. My manager needs to keep track of the economy and my customers wants to know if we're late or on time.
What can I wish of OpenProj: I want to see the use of open standards like Ical and XML/ODF. As far as I can see, the file format is actually a proprietary binary file format.