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The Net Takeaway: A project to replace Project

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A project to replace Project · 12/13/2007 11:28 AM, Tech

As part of a project I was working on, the partner sent over a Microsoft Project file of the schedule, timeline, and dependencies for me to review. Everyone on any large project has seen these Ganntt charts which basically are designed to obfuscate that things are going over budget, over time, or both.

Anyway, I didn’t have MS Project on my box, so I went to the Microsoft Downloads page to pull down a viewer. I was surprised to discover that, unlike Visio (and the rest of the Office Suite), they don’t provide a standalone viewer for Project.

So, I went hunting, and found 3 pretty impressive MS Project replacements, all open source, and all read and write MS Project files.

Business model for these is either “charge for integrated database version for resource allocation and planning” or just “donations accepted” for GanttProject.

All of these are poorly documented, and assume you are both a project person as well as familiar with MS Project. GanttProject gives some links to learn about project management, but you really are on your own in most of these tools.

I wound up with OpenProj for the moment, but unless you spend your life managing really complex stuff, you may find that any of these tools do what you need without having to shell out for MS Project.

PS: for those who asked: Neither OpenOffice nor StarOffice nor IBM’s Lotus Symphony has any type of project manager, though you could fake some stuff up with a combination of Calc, Impress, and Base. It wouldn’t read MS Project files, but you could manage a small project this way.

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