For the 10th installment of this series about technologies for entrepreneurs, in the subcategory of software, there is a very interesting category. This category is software for managing projects. Every entrepreneur has projects of some sort, and this software aids us in previewing and tracking its progress.
When we think of software to manage projects, I’m sure most people will think about Microsoft Project, part of their Office package. This program is superb and quite complex. I used it back when I was in the university and loved it. It was easy to analyze projects, define times and keep track of time. However currently I’m not a Project user, mainly because of its high cost. Luckily there are cheaper and free alternatives.
I spent some time researching for alternatives to Microsoft’s Project. I tried several packages and finally decided to use OpenProj, which is an open source project, which means I can use the software for free. It is a good software, not as good as Project, but it works for all my needs. I use it frequently and so far it has been an ideal solution.
As good as Project and OpenProj can be, they have one major drawback. They have been created as desktop software, which means I have to access them locally from my computer. If there is a team who is working on the project, it’s very difficult to give all of them access to the project file. This problem is solved with cloud-based solutions that enable access to multiple users, form multiple devices.
When I needed such a solution, I analyzed several cloud-bases systems. There are many alternatives; many offer a free basic version. However I came to the conclusion that I usually needed the premium paid offering, which had two problems: the first is that although they are not that expensive, I was just starting and was not a good time for me to pay these fees. Second, I don’t use this software permanently, so I will be paying for something that I might no be using for months at a time.
As an alternative to these cloud-based solutions, I found a free piece of software that I could install on my server and allow access to many people. This software is called collabtive. The basic free version is good, but it lacks some features. However for my current needs, this software is great. Maybe the only problem for most people is that you require some technical knowledge to perform the installation.
This is just an introduction to a very important and complex subject. I invite you to dig-in deeper and find the ideal set of solutions for your specific needs.
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