Nicole Williams

Web-Based Project Management Software

I am looking for a good web-based project management software that is low effort for the client to see where they are in the project (what’s been completed, what’s coming up, what’s supposed to be in process), indicates what tasks are dependent on each other (and why) and the ability to copy setup from one project to another. What are the best suggestions?

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Peter Mello, SpS, PMP, PMI-SP

Program/Project Manager at TMSA. Representative of Spider Management Technologies in Brazil

@Nicole,

For collaborating online with discussions and team play organization, you may try WRIKE. If your project is a bit complex and you do need scheduling cababilities, I would first start with SHAREPOINT ONLINE with Project Professional.

You can PUBLISH a MS-Project schedule to Sharepoint online and you can easily invite team members to participate in sharepoint and also your customer.

Later, if you find out that you need more control over the users, the tasks and the organization of many projects, you can upgrade to PROJECT ONLINE. Everything that is published in SHAREPOINT can be immediatly promoted to Project Online.

One advantage of Sharepoint over Project is that you can distribute activities for others to work without paying licenses. Once you upgrade to Project (which is a sharepoint service now), then all the contributors involved in scheduling changes will have to pay for the licenses. I believe (not tested yet) that CLIENTS can still have read-only access to your Project portal without paying licenses (I am 100% sure of that for Sharepoint)

There is also a even lighter version of Sharepoint that you can have several contributors of all types without paying licenses. You can look for a Sharepoint Foundation installation at your company or rent it online. In this scenario, your administration of users are limited and people with links to parts of your project portal may have access to data without actually login in with a given password.

Important to notice: Project Online is a Project Server implementation that is supported online directly by Microsoft, so you pay a monthly fee for using it and you do not have expenses in hardware, IT support, etc. At some point, depending of the size of your organization, you will want to have more control over the system and customizations, so you can grow to a Project Server instalation of your own administration, either on site or in the cloud.

Another tip: You do not need to pay CLIENT PROJECT ONLINE if you already have PROJECT PROFESSIONAL installed. You can use any MS-Project Professional 2013 license to connect to Sharepoint Foundation, Sharepoint or Project versions.

Suggested steps:

1) Try Sharepoint Foundation from any online service that gives you an account; then connect to it using a local MS-Project Professional license.

2) Test how Project Sites can be created to work as a common enviroment for your teams and customer; test how you can share schedules and even work online while other person works in a local MS-Project file that can be later syncronized.

3) Once you see the pontential for very little money (I hired Sharepoint Foundation for USD 8,50 a month – one license fits all people in the team); you then can move to Sharepoint online (everyone you need more controle of access and scheduling sharing will need a license);

4) Later you can upgrade your schedule from a “sharepoint task list” to a project in a Project Online Site (very similar, but with even more control over uses, calendars, custom fields, etc)

5) When you dominate the online world with improved MSProject collaborative perspectives, you then can consider your own installation of Project Server instead of renting it from Microsoft.

I am working on these steps with my own team in Brazil, so I will be happy to exchange experiences. You can reach me with SKYPE petersmello or peter.mello@tmsa.ind.br

By the way.. Depending on the type of work and team play, WRIKE or LIQUIDPLANNER may be a better fit than MSProject and Project Online.

Regards,

Peter.