Saturday, July 5, 2008

Free Project Planner

GanttPV is free cross-platform (Mac, Linux, and Windows) project manager software. Installion on a mac was simple. Documentation is not so good. I was a bit stumped as to how to apply "prerequisites" across projects. I found the answer in the GanttPV forum here. Here's the instructions:

GanttPV supports multiple projects and cross-project task dependencies. If I were defining a sub-project, here is what I would probably do:

- Make sure that task parenting is installed (run "Install Task Parenting"). The script makes it possible to define a parent task for a task.
- Define the sub-project as a separate project. (Use the Project ID column to move tasks to the new sub-project if necessary.)
- Create a task in the parent project to represent the sub-project. Define its prerequisites and successors. (Faster to do this before children are defined. GanttPV v0.8 ignores parent tasks when chaining; after you specify the children, prerequisites involving parents have to be set for one task at a time.) (Alex - should we change this?)
- Add the Task ID columns to the parent project task report. Note the ID of the sub-project task.
- Add the Task ID and Parent Task ID columns to the sub-project task report.
- Enter the parent's sub-project's Task ID into the Parent Task ID column of each of the highest level tasks in the sub-project.

I created the main "parent" project and named it "WebDev". I then created a "Task Report". Within that parent task report I added a new "task row" for each of my clients, plus one for myself. Each of these task rows need only contain the name of a client. Add an "ID" column so that you can see what the ID for each row containing the client. We'll need to know that in the next step. Also add a "Prerequisite" column.

Now go back to the main window, and create new projects for each of the clients named as a task in the previous step. Create a task report for each client. Open that task report. The first task in the client report is the name of the website I'm working on. Add 2 columns, "ID" and "Parent Task ID". In that first row corresponding to the website task, add the client ID from the main parent project into the "Parent Task ID" column. Also make that first row corresponding to the website task the Parent for subsequent rows (tasks) concerning that website. Repeat for each client project. Now I can edit the "subprojects" individually, and see the overall Gantt chart in the parent "WebDev" task report. By setting the prerequisites in this main window, I get a nice Gantt chart laying out the time requirements across all the client subprojects.

Anyway that's how I set it up.

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