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PG
 
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Default Fow chart software or other sytem for planning complex projects?


When you embark on a very difficult and complex project (like building
your first house for example), I guess it's helpful to have some
graphical system like a flow chart to plan the smooth progression and
coordination of the work. Can anyone recommend a shareware or freeware
software for this purpose? Or do you prefer to use pencil an paper?
Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

PG
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PG
 
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On Sat, 01 Jan 2005 02:50:45 +0000, The Natural Philosopher
wrote:

PG wrote:

When you embark on a very difficult and complex project (like building
your first house for example), I guess it's helpful to have some
graphical system like a flow chart to plan the smooth progression and
coordination of the work. Can anyone recommend a shareware or freeware
software for this purpose? Or do you prefer to use pencil an paper?
Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

PG


Frankly, this is one case where the job is not sufficiently complex to
make the tool a time saver.


Pencil and paper I reckon.


Fair comment; thanks. However, one thing attracts me to the software
route: (1) space will presumably be virtually unlimited and (b)
erasing and re-drawing will be much easier - and I anticipate doing an
awful lot of erasing and re-drafting.

Having said that, I don;t want spend an age having to learn the
software. Indeed, some of the project-planning programs I tried years
ago wee way too complicated for my needs, with too many bells and
whistles built in, etc.

Also, be aware that managing for shortest time and mimimum cost are two
very different exercises.


Critocal ptahs are more about the simple order in which things are dne,
than about complex interdependencies.


I'll bear that in mind - thanks.

PG
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PG
 
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On Fri, 31 Dec 2004 21:16:19 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:


I'm sure M$ project has lots more bells and whistles, it's been years
since I used it and don't remember using them all even then, just the
basic stuff like dependencies and fixed milestones to give a nice Gantt
chart for the PHB ;-)


Yes; I used M$ Project once, years ago, mid-1990s, on loan, but at the
time, couldn't; justify the cost of buying it. I can't remember much
about it now, axcept that it seemed quite easy to get the hang of.

Thanks a lot for the GanttPV suggestion; I'm just about to take a
look..

PG

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PG
 
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On Fri, 31 Dec 2004 21:20:46 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Andy Burns wrote:

http://www.simpleprojectmanagement.c...nner/home.html


Actually linked from there is
http://www.pureviolet.net/ganttpv/index.html
which *is* available for Windows and (cough)Mac(cough) instead of Linux.


Couldn't get HanttPV to work on my Win98 PC. I've identified now that
what I think I need is a critical path analysis program, rather than
gantt chart software, though, the latter might just prove useful too.

Just about to download "Planner" via the fist link above.

PG

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PG
 
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On Sat, 01 Jan 2005 22:27:02 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

PG wrote:

Couldn't get GanttPV to work on my Win98 PC.


I had a quick play with GanttPV too, installed OK on winXP but looked
fairly primitive :-(

I've identified now that
what I think I need is a critical path analysis program, rather than
gantt chart software,


M$project and PMW handle that, it's part of handling the dependencies,
resources and earliest start/latest finish dates, a Gantt chart is as
good a way as any to view it.

On small projects the Gantt chart has a tendency to boil down to a
diagonal line with only a few minor items not on the critical path :-(

|---+
+---+
+-----+
+-----+
+-----+
+-------|

Just about to download "Planner" via the fist link above.


Did you find a win32 version, or are you OK with a linux version?


The one I downloaded turned out not to be win32, so I'll look for a
win32 version. Meanwhile, I've just found one or two others that might
do. I'm passing over the ones that cost $3,999 to register! $39 is
more like my price range. Freeware better still, if it's worth using.
I'd like something that will draw me an instant flow chart based on my
list of tasks, durations and dependencies - and perhaps offer some
suggestions that I wouldn't have thought of, using pen, paper and
dopey human brain.

PG


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PG
 
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On Sat, 01 Jan 2005 23:18:43 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

PG wrote:

The one I downloaded turned out not to be win32, so I'll look for a
win32 version.


I couldn't see one, plenty of other gnome (well actually gtk) based
software ports OK(ish) to win32

Meanwhile, I've just found one or two others that might
do. I'm passing over the ones that cost $3,999 to register!


Sounds like Hoskyns PMW price from over a decade ago :-(

$39 is more like my price range. Freeware better still, if it's worth using.


Had another search http://ganttproject.sourceforge.net/
looks much more promising ...


Thanks. I'm currently trying another one I found that looks like it
might suit me. It seems to do all the things I think I need it to do:

http://www.guysoftware.com/planbee.htm

If you look at it, I'd be glad to hear your comments.

PG


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Andy Burns
 
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PG wrote:

When you embark on a very difficult and complex project (like building
your first house for example), I guess it's helpful to have some
graphical system like a flow chart to plan the smooth progression and
coordination of the work. Can anyone recommend a shareware or freeware
software for this purpose? Or do you prefer to use pencil an paper?
Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.


The opensource "Mr Project" is available for Gnome, not seen a win32
port but should be feasible, actually I remember it went a bit quiet
then came back with a new name

/me goes off to play with google for a while ...

Aha, it mutated into this
http://www.simpleprojectmanagement.c...nner/home.html

I'm sure M$ project has lots more bells and whistles, it's been years
since I used it and don't remember using them all even then, just the
basic stuff like dependencies and fixed milestones to give a nice Gantt
chart for the PHB ;-)
  #8   Report Post  
Andy Burns
 
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Andy Burns wrote:

http://www.simpleprojectmanagement.c...nner/home.html


Actually linked from there is
http://www.pureviolet.net/ganttpv/index.html
which *is* available for Windows and (cough)Mac(cough) instead of Linux.
  #9   Report Post  
The Natural Philosopher
 
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PG wrote:

When you embark on a very difficult and complex project (like building
your first house for example), I guess it's helpful to have some
graphical system like a flow chart to plan the smooth progression and
coordination of the work. Can anyone recommend a shareware or freeware
software for this purpose? Or do you prefer to use pencil an paper?
Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

PG


Frankly, this is one case where the job is not sufficiently complex to
make the tool a time saver.

Pencil and paper I reckon.

Also, be aware that managing for shortest time and mimimum cost are two
very different exercises.

Critocal ptahs are more about the simple order in which things are dne,
than about complex interdependencies.

I.e. I never appreciated fully (though I had a rough idea) how amazingly
difficult it would be to mocve a toilet from planned position once
building work commenced.
  #10   Report Post  
Andy Burns
 
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PG wrote:

Couldn't get GanttPV to work on my Win98 PC.


I had a quick play with GanttPV too, installed OK on winXP but looked
fairly primitive :-(

I've identified now that
what I think I need is a critical path analysis program, rather than
gantt chart software,


M$project and PMW handle that, it's part of handling the dependencies,
resources and earliest start/latest finish dates, a Gantt chart is as
good a way as any to view it.

On small projects the Gantt chart has a tendency to boil down to a
diagonal line with only a few minor items not on the critical path :-(

|---+
+---+
+-----+
+-----+
+-----+
+-------|

Just about to download "Planner" via the fist link above.


Did you find a win32 version, or are you OK with a linux version?


  #11   Report Post  
Andy Burns
 
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PG wrote:

The one I downloaded turned out not to be win32, so I'll look for a
win32 version.


I couldn't see one, plenty of other gnome (well actually gtk) based
software ports OK(ish) to win32

Meanwhile, I've just found one or two others that might
do. I'm passing over the ones that cost $3,999 to register!


Sounds like Hoskyns PMW price from over a decade ago :-(

$39 is more like my price range. Freeware better still, if it's worth using.


Had another search http://ganttproject.sourceforge.net/
looks much more promising ...
  #12   Report Post  
Andy Burns
 
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PG wrote:

Thanks. I'm currently trying another one I found that looks like it
might suit me. It seems to do all the things I think I need it to do:

http://www.guysoftware.com/planbee.htm

If you look at it, I'd be glad to hear your comments.


I liked the look of the Java one better, obviously intended to be
familiar to anyone who's used M$project before, it has fixed/movable
dates, subtasks, finish/start to start/finish dependencies, milestones
and resource allocation, with completion tracking.

However you can't set calendars for resources, so it likes 24x7 work
schedules, also it doesn't seem to redraw the gantt chart when you make
changes, until you select the affected items.

it does identify over allocated resource, but not the critical path, but
as I memtioned before on a "simple" chart the diagonal is fairly
obviously the critical path, anything dangling isn't

Not run the planBee one, it looks a bit garish/win3.1 style, from
feature list has all the functionaility of Java one and more, including
your critical path analysis with float times and lead/lag, and does have
a resource calandar so you can have weekends off ;-)
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choco
 
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PG wrote:
When you embark on a very difficult and complex project (like building
your first house for example), I guess it's helpful to have some
graphical system like a flow chart to plan the smooth progression and
coordination of the work. Can anyone recommend a shareware or freeware
software for this purpose? Or do you prefer to use pencil an paper?
Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

PG


maybe drifting a bit ot here but Excel is very good for project managing
software (apparently it's what all the ms coders use and so is somewhat
built for that task) - I reckon it could be adapted to a building job
esp. if your main concern is time management.

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articl...000000245.html
  #14   Report Post  
Anna Kettle
 
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On Sat, 01 Jan 2005 02:50:45 +0000, The Natural Philosopher
wrote:


Pencil and paper I reckon.


This is getting worrying cos I am agreeing with NP twice in two days

What you don't want to do is turn into someone who starred on one of
the Property Ladder programs who had the whole project down to a T on
their computer but failed to note that writing complex lists on
interdependencies is not the same as actually doing the work. I'm sure
its heresy but I reckon that unless each stage is straightforward
enough to put on a sheet of paper then it will be ignored by the
builders

Building work is notorious for throwing up problems which hadn't been
scheduled for so allow lots of slack time in your plan

Anna
~~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England
|""""| ~ Lime plaster repairs
/ ^^ \ // Freehand modelling in lime: overmantels, pargeting etc
|____| www.kettlenet.co.uk 01359 230642
  #15   Report Post  
Andrew Sinclair
 
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In message , Anna Kettle
managed to combine nouns and verbs in a pleasing
form to communicate the following;
What you don't want to do is turn into someone who starred on one of
the Property Ladder programs who had the whole project down to a T on
their computer but failed to note that writing complex lists on
interdependencies is not the same as actually doing the work. I'm sure
its heresy but I reckon that unless each stage is straightforward
enough to put on a sheet of paper then it will be ignored by the
builders

Planning projects is not just about producing pretty Gantt charts (but
they do impress the management!), a thorough understanding of the whole
job is needed before one even puts pen to paper (or fingers to keys).

My entry for free/open source is http://www.openworkbench.org/ which is
effectively Project Managers Workbench, very powerful if you can put the
time into learning. Sadly (but luckily for folks who make a living
running training courses on these things), project planning software is
just about as complex a thing you are likely to find on a PC these days
and you can't just sit down and bumble your way around discovering
features as you can say with a word processor. MS Project is successful
because it is relatively easy to learn but compared with some of the pro
packages (like Primavera) it is a toy.

HTH,

Andy
--
Andrew Sinclair http://www.smellycat.org


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PG
 
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On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 08:38:22 GMT, (Anna Kettle)
wrote:

On Sat, 01 Jan 2005 02:50:45 +0000, The Natural Philosopher
wrote:


Pencil and paper I reckon.


This is getting worrying cos I am agreeing with NP twice in two days


Fair enough and thanks for the input. However, I still fail to grasp
why pencil and paper can be better than a good computer program,
except perhaps that doing it on paper is less of a learning curve. I
guess that anything that software can do can also be done with pencil
and paper - it just takes longer, is more prone to calculation
errors, takes up much more space, and is much harder to modify quickly
- wouldn't you agree?

What you don't want to do is turn into someone who starred on one of
the Property Ladder programs who had the whole project down to a T on
their computer but failed to note that writing complex lists on
interdependencies is not the same as actually doing the work.


That sounds like a singularly daft mistake; they must have been
backward or rediculously negligent. Lesson: name the tasks clearly
and accurately with no ambiguity, yes?

I'm sure
its heresy but I reckon that unless each stage is straightforward
enough to put on a sheet of paper then it will be ignored by the
builders

Building work is notorious for throwing up problems which hadn't been
scheduled for so allow lots of slack time in your plan


Sounds like good sense. On the other hand, maybe not too much slack,
since, "Work tends to take the time allowed for its completion" etc...
But what appeals to me most about software for planning is that the
plan can easily be changed when you come up against some unforseen
event such as the type you just alluded to. I'm no expert on this
subject; just stating my impressions.

PG


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