Of course, MS Projects is THE tool that anyone who wants to get into project management wishes they had, but just can’t afford. Hence, the need for alternatives.
Open Proj is scheduled for release on August 7th, but you can download a beta from here. The download is a JNLP file, which is handled by the Java Web Start application. Once you run that file, it will install OpenProj. It is surprisingly easy to install, considering that I had it running in less than 30 seconds on Ubuntu 7.04. It looks like the OpenProj team will be coordinating with the OpenOffice team, which I think is a great idea. They should combine marketing and distribution efforts so that these great open source applications can reach a wider audience.
Might be worth checking out if you’re into project management….
Although I learned project management the hard way (it sure seemed that way) during a $1.9 million dollar grant implementation/administration, enjoyed great support, I’ve come to appreciate project management as critical to success. I was delighted when I went to work in my current district and found a whole office of project managers. They immediately became my new best friends, and I often have joked with the Director that her office was an extension of my office (we had lots of initiatives to implement).
While I didn’t know about project management tools, it’s clear that those types of tools can be helpful. They help track all the many details that one has to worry about. Of course, follow-up is critical in any project. Having played a leadership role in many large implementations, success boils down at minimum these points:
1) Advance planning for everything to go well, including planning for failed steps, etc.
2) An enthusiastic team with a great attitude to deal with what comes up as it comes up…and that includes delegating the authority to allow “response-ability.” There’s a temptation for a manager/leader to take on everything. As a I made the transition from a coordinator to a director, I felt obligated to “take over” when things started to go south. But over time, I’ve learned to lay that responsibility squarely on the people responsible and, most knowledgeable. Reaffirming their responsibility empowers them to respond when things start to deviate from what makes sense.
3) Manage success.
Here are some free tools for managing projects, and I’m going to start with an example Ray Schroeder over at Educational Technology shared about:
a) OpenPlanning 2.11: Ray writes:
There is nothing wrong with bringing together complex (or not-so-complex) projects together over the internet, and OpenPlanning can help users make it happen seamlessly. With this latest version, users can use their community project planning environment to bring together other professionals who may work from great distances. Additionally, there is a repository of previously created projects that may provide new users with some ideas about what has been done with the application so far. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2006. http://scout.wisc.edu/