Project Software Options
There are many project management software applications that are designed to help develop project plans and schedules as well as keeping track of these plans and creating reports. Ten years ago, the de facto standard was Microsoft Project Professional. This product is still the most widely used and accepted within the profession. That being said, there are many competing applications that are available today that provide much, if not all of the same functionality. Some of these tools are more appropriate to be used with smaller project teams or to be used in conjunction with other project communication tools with distributed teams.
For this assignment and the assignment in Week 5, you will need to select a project management application that can be used to create Gantt charts and other reports. Some of the available options are listed below. Please take your time and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each of these choices. Free trials or free versions are available for all of these options, but you must ensure that the free trial will allow you to complete all of the work for the class and that this application is compatible with your computer.
Option 1 – Microsoft Project. This is the default application used, and if you do not have a specific circumstance in which this will not work for you, this is the application to choose. Microsoft offers versions of this software for both Windows and Apple. The trial is 60 days, which should be sufficient for you to complete the course. The only issue to consider is if you have the ability to install the software on your PC, and you have not previously used the trial on that PC.
Option 2 – ProjectLibre. This application is a part of the LibreOffice series and includes most of the commonly used features available inside Microsoft Project. It is important to note that this application is not as full-featured as Project, but it does include the ability to complete all the requirements for these assignments. This is a free product, and you should be able to download a desktop version of the software. This product is not updated as frequently has Microsoft Project, and lacks some features required for managing projects across large organizations. Note that there is a cloud-based option, but it is limited to a 14-day trial which may be problematic for our work.
Option 3 and 4 – Microsoft Excel or Smartsheet. Both of these options will allow you to complete some, but not all of the requirements of our assignments. Specifically, it will require you to create your own network diagram with another tool ( such as Microsoft Word). They will allow you to complete all other aspects of our assignments. While definitely not as full-featured, both of these options have benefits depending on your individual situation. Excel is beneficial because it is ubiquitous, and most people have a copy of Excel that they can use. It is also relatively straightforward and easy to use to create the WBS or Gantt chart. Smartsheet is different in that it is web-based and very easy to use and share with others. Smartsheet would be an excellent adjunct if your project team was using another web-based communication tool, but needed more robust scheduling and reporting software.
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