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5 Project Management Apps You’ve Never Heard Of

There are more options available to you than just Microsoft Project. Here are 5 project management tools that you probably haven’t come across before.

1.  Birdview Projects

Starting a new project in Birdview

Starting a new project in Birdview

About: The company says that Birdview Projects is “the world’s first human-centric project management software.” It’s been developed for creative teams who don’t have the time or interest to deal with learning and configuring a new software product.

Interface: Web-based, Apple-inspired user interface. Looks nice. Aims to give you a bird’s eye view of your projects.

Neat features: Track progress by setting and completing goals – no more using percent complete as a measure.  There is a slider mechanism to control what information you see by zooming in for more detail, or zooming out for an overview.

Random fact: The pricing plans are named after birds: Hummingbird, Robin, Owl, Falcon and Eagle.

Website: http://www.birdviewprojects.com

2.  2-plan

About: 2 products: a desktop version for individual use and a web version for team use. Company says it is a “free alternative to MS Project.”

Interface: Web version has a smart-phone interface. Tabular interface includes one view just for milestones. The team version can also be hosted locally if you prefer not to use an internet service.

Neat features: Includes a graphical Work Breakdown Structure. You can layout the high-level scope of your project and then work downwards to add additional details as they become available. Includes time recording features.

Random fact: The software is free, but you can pay 2-plan to develop extra features for you. Or you can develop them youself as it is all open source.

Website: http://2-plan.com

3.  Bontq

BONTQ logo

The little Bontq bug

About: Bontq is a new product made by a small team of developers and designers in San Mateo.  It’s a bug and issue tracking system and project management tool.

Interface: Web-based, with email notifications when things change. All the plans except the cheapest include a desktop client.

Neat features: Includes a wiki. Even the project management interface looks like bug tracking software though. There is built-in screen capture and video capture options so that you can record what users see in order to fix it. Includes Google Docs integration and the ability to set custom priorities.

Random fact: The software’s logo is a bug. Not for the squeamish.

Website: http://bontq.com

4.  PlanningForce Express

About: The PlanningForce Express suite is made up of the Planner tool and a Portfolio management tool.  It is aimed at small teams. According to the manufacturer, it “is not Gantt-centric.” The product focuses on project start up, resource planning, and project goals, and then delivers a Gantt chart. The Gantt chart produced reduces the need for manual resource leveling or juggling date constraints, so it automatically fits the available people to the available tasks. The latest version was released in April 2011.

Interface: Not web-based. The Express Planner is available free to download for Windows and Mac. Looks a bit like MS Project in terms of structure, but more colourful.

Neat features: The plan is automatically produced by the scheduling engine. It provides realistic start and end dates for tasks, taking into account resource constraints and ‘daily intensity’ i.e. how hard you work your staff. Manual scheduling is also available. With the Portfolio Planner, you can group projects by hierarchy into portfolios. Resources can be grouped into portfolios too.

Random fact: PlanningForce supports the Graine de Vie initiative, for Madagascar’s reforestation project. The project aims to open a tree nursery and plant 100,000 trees. Last time I looked, PlanningForce had only achieved 2% of its target donation this year. You can donate here, if you like.

Website: http://www.planningforce-express.com

5. TeamDynamix Task Manager

About: Task Manager is a free desktop application which is effectively a stand-alone application. If you have other TeamDynamix Enterprise applications it is fully integrated. Task Manager will create, update and manage plans and tasks offline. It is free to anyone who joins the TeamDynamix Higher Education PPM community – which means that you need a .edu or other institutional email address to sign up. The company says it is a “free, intuitive and easy-to-use alternative to Microsoft Project.”

Interface: Desktop-based, stand-alone.  You can’t see very much about how the application looks from the TeamDynamix website as you need to sign in to watch the videos and see more.  But from what I can tell it looks a lot like MS Project.

Neat features: The Gantt chart has a zoom feature so you can see big picture or detail. The Gantt chart also has a drag and drop facility for re-ordering tasks.

Random fact: TeamDynamix has a Higher Education Advisory Council. The council is self-directed and acts as the product governance committee, dedicated to promoting good project and portfolio management across the higher education community.

Website: http://www.teamdynamix.com/

Have you used any of these products? What do you think?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • SimonTomasi

    Thanks for bringing up these tools, it’s very useful to see what each offers and what their specific strengths are.

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Simon – you’re welcome! If you have any other suggestions please let me know.

      • SimonTomasi

        Hi Elizabeth,

        My suggestions are not more PM apps but rather how to use free tools for PM progress tracking. For example using OpenOffice or Google Docs to create Gantt charts. Here are a couple of youtube videos that show how to do this.

        How to make a Gantt Chart in OpenOffice Spreadsheet

        http://youtu.be/-QGC8_W5N8s

        Making a Gantt Chart with Google Docs

        http://youtu.be/dp6J6Bw92d4

        I’ve found these useful when people I work with do not have MS Project and need them to update the data. Admittedly though it takes some getting used to using the tools in this way.

        Simon

        • http://www.elizabeth-harrin.com Elizabeth

          Hi Simon
          Thanks for this; I use Google Docs with some of the people I work with, and I do find it useful. And it’s free!

      • SimonTomasi

        Hi Elizabeth,

        My suggestions are not more PM apps but rather how to use free tools for PM progress tracking. For example using OpenOffice or Google Docs to create Gantt charts. Here are a couple of youtube videos that show how to do this.

        How to make a Gantt Chart in OpenOffice Spreadsheet

        http://youtu.be/-QGC8_W5N8s

        Making a Gantt Chart with Google Docs

        http://youtu.be/dp6J6Bw92d4

        I’ve found these useful when people I work with do not have MS Project and need them to update the data. Admittedly though it takes some getting used to using the tools in this way.

        Simon

  • http://twitter.com/DMorisseau David Morisseau

    I like WORKetc, as it combines project management and collaboration features with CRM and billing. Many people get project management software but need additional integrations to take care of what their business does, i.e. CRM and timesheets. Then, by the time all is said and done they have a huge list of unintegrated software and high monthly costs.

    Ended up saving a lot of time and money once everything was moved over to WORKetc, as they take care of CRM, email marketing, project mgmt, reminders, calendars, to-dos, billing, help desk support, and collaboration.

    I think this comparison they do sums it up pretty well: http://www.worketc.com/compare

    • Elizabeth

      Hi David, it looks like you work for WORKetc, is this the case? Either way, thanks for flagging up an alternative tool.

  • http://edge.papercutpm.com/ Geoff Crane

    Thanks for this, Elizabeth. I enjoy seeing the different approaches companies take to creating PM software. Each approach is generally reflective of a particular problem the company has been able to identify. Sometimes the problems are obvious, but sometimes a new solution reveals a problem you might not have realized was a problem before. Cheers! :-)

  • Project management girl

    Good to see others than the usual Basecamp and Salesforce. I would like to add Teambox to this list, which I believe has an advantage when it comes to task management and file sharing.
    Hope it helps!

    http://teambox.com

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll take a look at the Teambox website.

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  • http://twitter.com/CherylHarrison Cheryl Harrison

    Thanks for including TeamDynamixHE in your roundup, Elizabeth!

    • http://www.elizabeth-harrin.com Elizabeth

      You’re welcome!