OPINION – Best OS X Project Management software… OmniPlan

A while back now, I asked for advice on the 43folders forums on what folks considered to be the best project management software on OS X. Now, I’m more than happy to express the view that I think that PM software is largely a plan by the minions of Satan to drive people insane (why else would you use a Gantt chart?) and that project timelines, scheduling and resource allocation done this way is by and large futile, ‘cos running projects (particularly in the web development space) just doesn’t work this way.

OmniPlan logoA couple of days ago, I received an email from someone who had read my question and wanted to know whether I’d found a suitable solution. The answer to that question is yes, and the choice is Omni Group’s OmniPlan, which has recently come out of beta.

Now, while I still believe PM software is evil, for many of us, particularly if your client is large and bureaucratic (I’m in Canberra, so that’s a given), PM software is a key component of your working life. Get used to it and learn to use it properly.

OmniPlan has it all:

  • multiple format compatibility (although Microsoft Project is probably the only one you’ll care about);
  • a great interface that matches the other Omni software;
  • resource allocation and task breakdown;
  • critical path and clash management, and;
  • a decent price of US$149.

So, if you’re a Mac user and need to use PM software that plays nice with all your co-workers stuck on Windows, do yourself a favor and get a copy of OmniPlan.

Wanted: OS X PM software. Must play nice with Microsoft Project

The time has come for me to once again mess with the mess that is Microsoft Project. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Microsoft doesn’t make Project for OS X, so here I am with no PM software. I’ve hunted about, and have come up with two seemingly viable options:

Now, they both happily suck up and play nice with Microsoft Project files, but the demos are effectively crippleware; FastTrack Schedule doesn’t save and Merlin won’t let you have a project with more than 20 lines! How am I supposed to accurately evaluate the usefulness of these things unless I can use them over several days of project plan iterations? Dumb. I’d probably be happy to fork over the US$349 for FastTrack Schedule or the €145 if, and only if I was given the opportunity to adequately evaluate them.

I’m feeling like both these companies have lost my business.

So now, readers, I’m looking for a free, open source, Microsoft Project-friendly, PM tool. Alternately, is there something out there which isn’t necessarily free, but that give me decent opportunity for evaluation without crippled functionality?

Private: Make that software free

macZOT SubEthaEdit

I have no idea whether you’ve ever tried the collaborative editing capabilities (I haven’t, but it’s a cool idea) of SubEthaEdit from CodingMonkeys, but even if you haven’t, it’s an excellent editor. Merlin Mann of 43folders is a fan, and if Merlin likes it, chances are it’s excellent and useful.

I’ve tried the software as just an editor, but haven’t actually bought a copy yet, and I may not have to if BLOGZOT 2.0 on MacZOT.com pays off. As I write, SubEthaEdit is down to US$7.60 from the original US$35, so that’s already quite the saving. With any luck, I might get a copy for free… Overall, MacZOT and TheCodingMonkeys will award $105,000 in Mac software in giveaways.


Google Pack

Google are now apparently in the business of software distribution, with the launch of the Google Pack for Windows; a bundle of several Google products (Google Earth, Google Desktop, Picasa, Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer, Google Pack Screensaver) plus a number of very good third-party apps including Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar, Ad-Aware SE Personal, Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition, Adobe Reader 7.

This strikes me a a cracker of a deal; all the products, apart from NAV are already free, but getting a free six month subscription to NAV is great. Only problem is that the people I see downloading this are not the people who need it most (inexperienced or tech-unsavvy users), but the already tech-savvy who see it as a time saver to get everything all at once.

Now all they need to do is release the same bundle (appropriately kitted out) for OSX!

TheOpenCD 3.1 released

We all know I’m an open source software advocate. TheOpenCD is the best 650Mb of download you’ll ever get. The range of expensive and/or bloated software you can replace with this one CD is awesome!

Get it!