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heidad01
07-10-2009, 09:09 AM
Hi All,
Does any one know of a free software that does a decent gantt chart? I bought Smart Draw off the internet at a bit under $300 and even though it looked nice in the ads and does alot of other chart types, it is very weak in terms of features and flexibility. One main problem is that it can not show one task dependent on several privious tasks! It also redraws the screen and fleakers constantly with every change you make, enen if it is a text change in a task's title. I am stuck on this one for a project at work and would buy another one if I have to. Just don't want to get MS project. I tried it a few years ago and it did not go too well for me. Thanks for any suggestions. DavidH.

oldtiffie
07-10-2009, 09:35 AM
First of all - what a Gannt Chart is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gannt_Chart

and what critical path analysis is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_path_method

and what project planning is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_planning

a small critical path tool:
http://sporkforge.com/sched/critical_path.php

and of course - "Google" it:
http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=project+management+software&meta=&aq=2&oq=project+managem

When I was a Facilities Officer with Defence in OZ, I had lot of large projects for which we hired in Project Managers. For small jobs, we did it ourselves.

On just about every job we had a Gannt Chart generated and up-date pretty well daily by the Contractor. It was an essential document and tool at Site and Project Meetings as it "nailed" the status of every past present and future task as well as the state of the Critical Path. It was absolutely essential to good project management. The Project Manager had a Quantity Surveyor on his team as well.

Just about every Tender had to have a Gannt Chart as well as a QA plan as mandatory parts of the Tender. If they weren't there the Tender was deemed not to comply and was rejected.

A lot of Tenders/Contractors had no idea what Project Planning was as they did a quick price and guess-timate of time on the back of an envelope and wanted to "sort it out as they went" - no way!! But the better Contractors and Tenderers knew all about it!! And they used it!!!

willmac
07-10-2009, 10:28 AM
Just as OldTiffie says, Gantt charts are an essential tool for any project manager. If you have a new project that involves more than a few people or organisations you have no real idea of how long it will take until you have planned it out taking account of all of the dependencies. Whilst a Gantt chart is just a chart, to be really useful it should be part of a suite of other project management tools that work together consistently. This is why most good Gantt chart tools are part of a Project Management package, not just a chart making tool. The problem that you have with your chart tools of understanding dependencies is an example of this. To handle dependencies, resources and dates properly is non-trivial and a bit out of scope for a simple charting tool.

I suggest you ask yourself whether a Project Managment suite is a better fit to the problem you have. One of the most popular such project management tools is Microsoft Project Manager. This will certainly make your Gantt charts as well as helping with a lot of other project managment tasks. As an almost daily user of this and other such tools for a long time, there things about it that I dislike and many things it does not do that a project manager needs, but it is extremely widely used.

barts
07-10-2009, 12:33 PM
This is a useful technique, and tends to work better that traditional critical path methods:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_chain

- Bart

oldtiffie
07-10-2009, 12:52 PM
Bart.

That is getting close(r?) to Total Quality Management (TQM)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TQM

and Resources Management.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_management

They work well but are "Time and Motion man"s dream.

I thought I'd left "milestones", "targets" etc. etc. behind!!!!

But seriously though TQM (in conjunction with Quality Control - QC) really do work well if used properly and sensibly.

The down side is that in manufacturing and many labour-intensive industries they lead to "efficiencies", "contracting out", automation and the inevitable "down-skilling" and job losses.

Its a "time is money" thing.

Simon Legree and the Galley Slave Masters live yet!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Legree#Simon_Legree

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galley_Slave

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galley_slave

biometrics
07-10-2009, 01:05 PM
Microsoft Project does a good job of creating Gannt charts and every thing else Oldtiffie talked about. I have used it for years for scheduling projects and keeping higher management impressed with knowing what is going to happen when.

There is a free download 60-day trial to see if it suits your purposes.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/HA101672711033.aspx

kc5ezc
07-10-2009, 01:20 PM
DavidH: Have not used MS project manager. Howevr, after trying several different ones a few years ago for a major project we determined that having a separate person do the charts and info gathering was esential. We were totally unsuccessful with assigning the task as a parttime job. In fact, we used an othside firm who's only job was to get the data, organize it and display it in appropriate chart form.. Usually Gannt charts.
Glad it wasn't my task.
John Burchett
in Byng oK

Rich Carlstedt
07-11-2009, 12:11 AM
I am working on a project, and used this free download

http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/excel-gantt-chart.html

Its simple and easy to use and works with Excel speadsheets.

Rich

toastydeath
07-11-2009, 01:37 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_project_management_software

I have messed around with most of the open source packages for project management, but never actually used them for anything.

They're free, so try 'em all.

Paul Alciatore
07-11-2009, 09:26 AM
Here you go:

http://www.guysoftware.com/

It is called PlanBee. Not free, but quite inexpensive and you can try it for free. I have used it for years for large projects. Doesn't have all the bells and whistles as others, but it works. I have a 24 X 36++ chart with over 100 entries on my office wall now. It does do dependencies. You enter the events and it does the chart. Two kinds of chart and you can print a simple list of the events. You can edit the events, change the order, delete, etc. You can also run multiple time lines in one chart. Until you get a job at NASA or GM, it should do everything you need.

boslab
07-11-2009, 07:14 PM
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