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tim

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Can anyone point me in the direction of good, low learning curve and preferably free project management software.

I basically need to ensure that I can layout several critical paths for jobs and while I can do this to some level in Excel its a pain to alter and relatively difficult to read.

Thanks

Tim
 

Chris Knight

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Tim,
I recall looking for this stuff in the past and after ages, deciding that Microsoft Project was the answer - not cheap however.

This program looks reasonably priced even in the plus version ( http://www.minuteman-systems.com/index.htm ).

Quite a bit depends on whether you want to manage single of multiple projects, the latter are often much more expensive. However, one can often kludge it by running a separate project as tasks within another project - depends on the program of course.
 

Les Mahon

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Tim,

I use MS Project extensivly, but it's hard to guage the learning curve - my biggest headache was learning good project management methodology skils first, and then keeping on top of the project plan. I've worked on plenty of project where the plan looked lovely on day one, and still looked exactly the same when the project was running 50% behind schedule and 100% over budget!

I like the look of that minuteman software the chris liked - looks identical to project!

Les
 

RogerS

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Tim

IMHO MS Project is very good BUT has a steep learning curve. Do you really need something that complex? Are you REALLY sure that you can't carry on using Excel? All just IMHO :)

Roger
 
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Anonymous

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Tim

Have to agree with Roger, I use MS Project for work and encourage our students to do so too, however, for smaller projects I still use Excel to manange them.

Another option (That I really love and use to manage anything that is just for me) is to use mind mapping software such as Mind manager from Mindjet. Fantastic software and the underlying principles of mindmapping are based upon the way we think and learn

http://www.mindjet.com
 

tim

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Thanks guys.

I probably can manage with Excel but it always seems much more laborious than it needs. That said I also don't want to spend ages learning to use more new stuff that only adds a minor advantage.

The mind mapping stuff looks very interesting and worth following up.

There is a 21 day trial with the progs that Chris highlighted so i will try that and keep using excel as well and see whether there are any obvious benefits.

Cheers

Tim
 

Shady

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Tim, FWIW, I work with this subject professionally.

Unless you are seriously into very complex projects, I'd forget the software route altogether - the major advantage of these packages is in reconfiguring resource allocation - which, for a one man business, is not really an issue..

If critical path planning is your key concern, on 'one-man band' projects, I would make a strong case for a magnetic white board, a printed or purchased calendar, and coloured strips for the relevant activities. Intuitive, cheap, visually easy to grasp, and dedicated to the issue that concerns you. Project and its equivalents are really about facilitating team working... You could, of course, do this in something like powerpoint/star office as well - just draw some bars of appropriate length and slide 'em aroud on a base layer calendar graphic, which could be imported from excel......

Just a thought.
 

Scrit

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Shady":63pm8l5a said:
Unless you are seriously into very complex projects, I'd forget the software route altogether - the major advantage of these packages is in reconfiguring resource allocation - which, for a one man business, is not really an issue...
I'm with Shady here. MS Project is way too complex for smaller shops - it simply takes up too much time to change resources. The magnetic whiteboard plus a magnetic planner work well for small batch production. I used MS Project for years and I'm not enamoured of it - I'd rather be churning out work/drawings, etc than running Project

Scrit
 

Mike B

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Tim

You could also have a delve into the VBA functionality of Excel.

That way you could customise your current setup to better suit your specific needs - such as get it to automatically update itself when you make changes...

Cheers
Mike
 

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