Popular Favorites

The Internet has presented many more options for project management software than were available in the past. However, ever since Microsoft Project, Primavera, and Open Workbench were released they have been favorites. Many project managers started with the first version of the product (Microsoft Project was first released in 1990), and having learned the program, upgraded to newer versions. The following are brief descriptions of some of the favorites in project-management software titles.

Microsoft Project

The most popular project software program comes from Microsoft. Designed for the individual user (the project manager), Project 2003 and 2007 let you easily create and categorize a database of information for your entire project. You'll be able to customize the network diagram to fit your project and make adjustments as you go. The software not only provides an overview of all facets of the project and helps you monitor them, it is also designed to help you think through scenarios using what-if situations. Essentially, the software is designed to provide great flexibility while helping you from the start of your project through each of your deliverables. For more details, go to www.microsoft.com.

Open Workbench

From Niku, which was purchased by CA, Open Workbench boasts many of the same features as Microsoft Project. The largest differentiator is the price. Open Workbench is free. It is a very graphics-based application that allows you to manage all aspects of a project. To download a free copy, go to www.openworkbench.org.

Make sure the software package that you are interested in is compatible with your existing computer setup. System requirements are usually clearly spelled out on the software package. If you're not sure, ask before you purchase anything.

SureTrak Project Manager 3.0

From Primavera Systems, SureTrak features a user-friendly KickStart tool that helps you simplify the often intimidating and worrisome initial planning and project-starting phase. Built-in tutorials help guide users through the process of creating project schedules and monitoring the project. PERT and Gantt charts are easy to customize and allow you to clearly examine the relationships between various tasks. You'll find specialized calendars, numerous customizable reports, up-to-the-moment budget-tracking capabilities, team member to-do lists, float calendars, critical path scheduling, baseline comparisons, and an easy manner in which to distribute assignments or reports. An extremely comprehensive program, SureTrak provides tremendous flexibility and assists you from the planning phase through organizing and tracking the project to its completion. SureTrak has proven to be highly effective for beginners as well as advanced project managers. To find out more, go to www.primavera.com.

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