Tuesday 30 July 2013

Free Project Management

By free project management software we mean a piece of software which will fulfil the following requirements:
  • Be truly free
  • Have a small learning curve
  • Be intuitive to use

Above all, it must help things get done.

Introducing Web2Project

After much research reviewing other project management offerings, time and time again we came across dead, or no longer maintained projects set to create ‘the best free project management app’. This is understandable, open source project management projects require a tight team of people working toward a common goal. The latter can be challenging in a paid working environment, let alone a non-paid project.

Web2Project is recommended as it has stood the test of time, rather it is a ‘fork’  (late 2007) of an older project called dotproject which is no longer maintained. A brief shot of Web2Projects features include:
  • Google / Apple iCal integration*
  • Create project tasks which depend on prior taks being complete
  • Tasks can be set budgets
  • Automatic Gantt Chart creation
  • Gauges actual project finish date based on completeness of tasks

*The calendar integration is not two-way in that only event created via Web2Project are pushed to your gmail calendar. For example an event cannot be added to your project calendar from Google calendar- although a solution to this is being looked into (as per Web2Project youtube interview Published on Jun 12, 2013)

Why Web2Project, what are it’s disadvantages

Right now Web2Project focuses on getting the job done, it works as a project management tool for small teams and larger enterprises. It “overkill” for a one person project according to the lead developer. That said, the ability to track progress of a large project can be a good motivator to give you that ‘big picture’ of where you are with a project.

Where Web2Project arguably falls down is its lack of design, which is currently stuck in the past. The default design is predominantly grey and blue, however a newer modern theme is on the way with the 3.0 release. To put this into perspective, however, it is very hard to fault Web2Project based on it’s core functionality. The design of a project management application should not be how pretty it is, it should be how well it helps your organisation get the job done. In essence, there are many free project management solutions available which look the part, but lack the years of tested development and features that web2project has under its belt.

A note on ‘Free’ project management software

Many offerings we review, and this is true for most applications, claim to be ‘free’ on the onset but after delving into the features of such tools, more often than not the ‘killer feature’ is often an add-on or an upgrade to a ‘pro version’.  In some cases it is baring on dishonestly when a solution is marketed as free, but then later the customer is told “it’s free apart from that feature” or “if you have x number of users you have to start paying”. There’s nothing wrong with these freemium models, but users looking for a free project management solution are looking for just that- don’t try to fool them.

Where to get web2Project

The installation of Web2Project is documented at: https://github.com/web2project/web2project/wiki/Installation#wiki-Welcome

Are you using another free project management solution, or currently using web2project? Post your experiences below.

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