Software review: Viewpath Express

Viewpath 2.0 is a web-based project management software. The company announced earlier this month that Viewpath Express would be free and open to all at the Office 2.0 Conference San Francisco. Because there are ads all along the right-hand side of the page, they can do this. Viewpath Standard is also available at $10.95 per user per month. I tried the Express version.
Registering for an account is all it takes to get started. To have access, all members of your team will need a login. Once your team is established, it’s easy to create a new project.
Viewpath defaults in the Gantt chart view MS Project users are familiar with. Drag and drop can be used to move columns. Double-clicking allows for you to edit tasks in line without opening a dialogue box. Easy Projects.NET does not allow you to have fractions of a daily time. Viewpath has some great keyboard shortcuts. t will create a new task, and tab will indent subtasks. Attach documents to tasks. These can be made accessible to only selected users, although I have not tested it. Auto-scroll is when you select a task, the Gantt pane moves along with it so that you always have a visual view of how it fits in with everything else.
The video tutorial showed tasks being created using automatic work breakdown structure numbering. However, when I created a new project, this was not the case. This feature may only be available in the paid-for version. WBS is not something that I use in MS Project, so I could do without it.
After I had completed my tasks, I attempted to create dependencies. I received a strange error message when trying to link 8 tasks in succession. It could have been that one of the tasks didn’t have an alias. I lost all my dependencies even those I created after the error message, so I refreshed the screen. This is a concern because although the error message didn’t stop me from doing anything, my data that had been saved after that point was not saved. It was a little confusing and I ended up starting a new project. I also made sure I didn’t attempt to work on tasks without names.
You will also need to manage your own dependencies, both start-to–start and finish–to–finish. You have two options in the dependency menu: ‘link top-to-bottom’ or ‘link below the top’. It’s just another way to think about them. However, I couldn’t figure out how to get two consecutive tasks started at the same time. I created a summary task, then I hung all the start to-start dependencies from the end of it. They didn’t go back to their pre-linked positions when I unlinked them. The task date didn’t change, but the dependency was gone.
Viewpath also offers a ‘My Viewpath view’ that defaults to your daily to-do list across all projects. It is not possible to search the online help. It took me a while to realize that a ‘blocked task’ on my personal to-do list is one that is dependent upon another and not something to worry about. It will show me all tasks on my list, even if they are marked complete. However, you can change the view so that it shows only the completed actions. Click on an action to take you to the project. This function consolidates activity across multiple projects and helps manage multiple priorities. This is a good thing, since people rarely have one thing they are working on at a time. My to-do list is written on paper for me.
I like the idea of being allowed to schedule events as separate tasks. For example, you could submit all meetings of your steering groups. Emails can be sent to people with task and event information, notifying them that they were invited or assigned to work. Outlook does not sync event information. Viewpath is okay, but nothing special. It’s free for the Express edition. Project management is a new skill for teams just starting out.