We’ve made some big leaps with the new project module. Conceptually, the biggest change is the ability to work with a project, inside of a timeline view.
So, with the old project management and indeed every PM tools I’ve played around with, there are basically two types of views:
- An agenda view which lists all the activities and assets in a long list down the page. This is Basecamp style.
- A timeline view which lists all activities along a project schedule, otherwise known as a Gantt chart. Think Microsoft Project.
The existing WORK[etc] allows you to switch between the two methods, but they never felt particularly integrated. It was basically a timeline view with an agenda view stuck in below it.
Now, with this next release we use lot of Ajax trickery to bring agenda-type functionality directly into the timeline view. But we also still allow you to minimise (hide) this view if you are more of an agenda/flow type of project person.
The other key changes in this release include:
- Sub project dependency. Create a sub project and lock the start date until another (parent) project is completed. Automatically send an alert to members once a dependant sub project is ready to start.
- Single project page. Every element of a project can now be viewed on the single page. Previously you had to click through to the next page to view a sub-project or task.
- Better Gantt chart. The new timeline/schedule view is slick and clean.
- Rapid project creation. Soon you will be able to create a sub project or task by simply clicking on a free line in the Gantt chart. Previously you had to click through to a new screen. This change means you can rapidly click -> create ->click -> create your way to create your project structure.
- Progress, People and Budget views. The current project management software just displays the activities. The next release has activities as the default view, but lets you switch that view to clearly show progress across the project, people working on the project (resource utilisation) and a real time budget view.
- Other inclusion are project templates, various visual controls on the timeline such as “hide weekends’, a new color picker, projects that can be set as timeless (perpetual), ability to export an entire project, expand project screen to view full screen on your PC, automatic project numbers (ie job bag) and a whole lot more.
As with all WORK[etc] tools, you can use as little or as much of the tools that you want. Anything you don’t need to use, can easily be hidden. And of course, the more time you spend putting data in and the more time understanding the options, the more value you’ll get out of it and the more in control of your business you and your team should be.
Below is a screen shot diagrammatic of the new project schedule (Gantt) view…
It’s obviously a detailed diagram to take in all at once, so I’m going to break it down a bit.
We’ll release more information on the features as we move toward a general beta release. I’m loathe to put a timeframe on this as it is an incredibly complex piece of code Simon has crafted (remembering that everything has to be 100% compatible with the existing tool and all other WORK[etc] tools!). Maybe by mid August we’ll make it available as a general public beta at which point we’ll migrate the new Contacts tool into the main product release.