[thelist] Web-based project management ( Gantt charts? )

Martin Burns martin at easyweb.co.uk
Thu Apr 23 14:52:42 CDT 2009

On 20 Apr 2009, at 14:56, Bill Moseley wrote:

> I know this has been discussed a few times in the last year or so.
> I'm looking for suggestions of PM software that might fit our needs
> and that someone here has experience with.
> In our medium sized organization we have about ten people working on a
> project.  They include designers, front-end/javascript coders,
> back-end coders, QA, and IT for managing hardware and deployment.
> The team uses Windows, OS X, and Linux, so a web-based approach
> would seem best.  Team often works on concurrent projects.
> We have used RT and Basecamp but neither have worked that well for
> managing projects.  Basecamp is easy to use and has a nice fast UI,
> but was too basic for our needs. RT is cumbersome and works better
> for managing our more isolated issue and trouble tickets.

Have you looked at TeamworkPM?

> I was away for a week and had provided tasks for a number of people to
> complete during the week.  Of course I get back to find that some
> things were delayed -- and as a result other dependent tasks are now
> delayed.  Something like a Gantt chart would have help to show the
> interdependency of tasks and keep the team informed of everyone's
> progress.

Yes, it would (actually, regardless of the visualisation that a Gantt  
would give you, simply having a tool that supported dependencies would  
do that for you).

I suspect that Gantt Charting is devilishly hard to implement, which  
would explain why it's rarely implemented in affordable tools[1]

> As is common, as people work on the project the complexity of the
> project becomes more clear and the loose ends that need to be managed
> increase.

> So, the PM software also needs to work on a granular
> enough basis to allow tracking all the little issues that need
> attention.

Yes, but you can understand this at two levels:

1) The design is evolving, and later work is influenced by the  
reaction to earlier work (this is the classic Agile situation, and is  
generally more true the closer to the UI you are)
2) 'shit happens and needs dealing with' - ideally planned for before  
it happens. This is basic Risk/Issue Management (you get the  
difference right? A Risk is A Bad Thing that may or may not happen. An  
Issue is A Bad Thing that has *already* happened)

Of course, even without going full-blown Agile, it's always sensible  
to divide a project into phases, and only do the most detailed level  
of planning for your current (or imminent) phase.

> I am concerned that managing the project management tool will be a
> significant project in itself.

For any non-trivial level of complexity, this will be the case - you  
need to provide *very* clear standards, and police them. True for any  
tool-driven process (Config Mgt is another one)


[1] Of course you *could* go for the web enabled, central repository  
version of MS Project, but I'm not sure how usable it is on other  
platforms. My dayjob employer produces something even more impressive,  
but for reasons I can't fathom, it has a Win/IE dependency. Although  
maybe not the portalised version

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