Software review: Twproject [2014]

General Information
Name: TwprojectVendor Open LabHosting options for: Locally hosted starting at 1 user per annum at 45EUR. There is also an interesting non-expiring license option that allows unlimited users up to 5000EUR. Web hosting starting at 53 EUR per month for 10Gb storage and 10 users Cloud versions are more expensive but you get more storage and 10 users. It’s impressive!
Homepage of twproject Basic features: Creating projects
The projects tab allows you to create new projects. You can tick to indicate that the milestone start and end dates (which you choose) are milestones. You don’t have the need to enter the end date. Instead, you can put in the project duration in a number of days. It will calculate the end dates for you.
You can also specify the type of project (you define the types), and you can mark it with a range status types (active/suspended, completed, failed or undefined – not sure what the last one would be).
A screen similar to the create project screen is used to add tasks to a project. I did get lost as to which task or project I was on. Although there isn’t an obvious indicator, there is a link that will take you to the project tree. This will allow you to navigate and see where you are.
You can see what has been modified on the projects home page, but you cannot see if it is a task or a project. This is confusing and could be easily fixed. There are many online FAQs and the option to request help via Twitter. However, this did not work for the demo version.
Time and people management
The resources tab allows you to create new resources. They can be selected within the task/project via assignments once they have been created. You can specify the role that they play (project manager, stakeholder/customer/worker) and you can also estimate the number of work hours (operator load) required by that person.
A timesheet module has a great feature that allows people to ‘clock in’. The clock starts when you start working on a task, and it stops when you finish. The button to start and stop the timer are both red. I would have expected the opposite.
You can access the ‘check worklogs’ function and view reports from the timesheets tab. These include worklog approval and analysis, day missing or exceeding worklogs and assignment of priorities. Operator load and overall plan are all covered. If you have many projects and resources and need to keep track of what is happening and where potential problems may exist (either budget or resource capacity), you can create a report that will suit your needs.
View the resource calendar in twproject. Once a resource has been added to the task, it will remain open until someone closes it. It’s best to make it a task you frequent because it will have a shortcut to your home page. You can also go to the Projects tab. Overall, the navigation of this product was confusing.
Costs can be set at the task or project level. You can assign an hourly rate to resource which will be used in cost calculations. If everyone is filling out their timesheets, there is a neat feature that allows you to get an instant update on the financials, including current margin.
Keep everyone together
The homepage displays your open projects, open issues and appointments. It also shows what I’ve most visited. This is a useful shortcut considering the navigation challenges. It looks good and you will find it easy to use once you get used to it. It is more suitable for people who are familiar with project management.

Software review: TeamworkPM [2011]

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
General Information
Name: TeamworkPM
Vendor: Digital Crew Application Developers
Hosting options: Only Web hosted version
Cost and plans: 30-day free trial. Prices start at $12 per month for a personal plan and go up to $149 for an enterprise plan.
Languages: There are 24 languages, including Indonesian and Norwegian.
Currency: A long list of standard currencies.
Building projects: Basic features
It is simple to create a new project on TeamworkPM. After creating your account, click on the big green link to create your first project. You can create more projects by using the Dashboard/Add Project menu.
Start by creating milestones. You can then create milestones by entering the dates you want to reach them. Next, you can create a tasklist and link it to the milestone. Once you have a tasklist, you can add tasks to it. Tasks can include resources, dates, and priorities.
TeamworkPM: Project overview tab The missing Gantt chart feature
For me, the ability to display tasks graphically using a Gantt diagram is a key feature of any project management software. This is not possible with TeamworkPM. It is not possible to link tasks and milestones. It is also impossible to create tasks that last more than one day. This is quite strange considering you can create dependencies.
To create dependencies, you can link tasks together. Although it’s not obvious how to do so, you can choose to’show more’ to create a task. Another option is to set up predecessors.
Once you have more than one project, with start and finish dates, there is a Gantt chart option that can be enabled from the Dashboard. It is so simple that it can only be used to show your manager what is currently on the go.
Project Chart ViewYou can export TeamworkPM data into a format that’s compatible with MS Project. It is not obvious why you would want both products. MS Project has a better scheduling tool than TeamworkPM. MS Project is not as easy to use as TeamworkPM. However, project managers who need to be able to communicate with their team members via messaging, file sharing, and task allocation and have a reliable scheduling tool would need to use both. They would need to modify the MS Project schedule and then manually update all dates in TeamworkPM. If you prefer to work in this way, exporting is an option.
Calendars and people
You can switch between the corporate and personal calendars.
It is easy for people to be added to tasks. You can give each person a photo and allow them to set their own status. It can be confusing at enterprise level if you have to scroll through many users to find the people that you want to add.
It was interesting to see TeamworkPM make a distinction between “Resources” and “People”. It’s nice to see that people are not lumped in with GoogleDocs and the projector.
Time-tracking and billing
TeamworkPM, a web-based project management software, has integrated time tracking. You can set up a timer and track your time. Then you can decide if it’s billable. Although I liked the idea of this, I didn’t remember to use it during my time with it. This clocking in/clocking out approach requires discipline.
Once you have tracked time, you can add it to invoices along with expenses. Although the software cannot replace your invoicing software, it can export invoice information to FreshBooks or any other accounting software.
This is a great feature to show the team how much time and money they are spending on the project. Y

Software review: Simplestimate [2016]

General Information
Name: Simplestimate
Vendor: Switchback Interactive, Inc.
Hosting options: Only a web-hosted version is available
Basic accounts with 1 user and 2 active estimates are free. A single account costs $10 per month, while a company account with unlimited users costs $35 per month. If you sign up on an annual basis, you get 2 months for free.
Languages: English
Currency: You can now change the currency in the Company Settings area as of February 26, 2016.
Basic Features: Creating Estimates
Simplestimate allows you to create financial estimates online for your projects.
As you can see in the screenshot, you first create the project sections and then add tasks to them. Finally, assign resources to the tasks. It is necessary to estimate the time it will take to complete each resource. You can choose how many estimates points you want to use in the estimate. In the screenshot, I have used low and high. However, you can use one or both low/most likely/high.
Once you have entered the details, the estimates for your sections or tasks will appear. Each resource has a cost. Simplestimate calculates the cost per resource and presents that information to you.
The pie chart showing how the total project cost is divided between each section is very appealing to me. This would be a great tool for project stakeholders to see where the majority of the money is going.
Paid plans include templates that allow you to create estimates for projects that your company has done time and again. This will save time and prevent you from having to start over for every client.
Managing Expectations with Ranges
This is a great feature of the tool. One of the biggest problems with managing stakeholders’ expectations is that they believe that if you tell them that it will cost PS1,050.85, then it will really cost that much.
Real life, hello! It won’t.
This is why it’s so important to be able to present data in a range from optimistic to conservative estimates. While you can do this without Simplestimate by providing range data and +/- confidence levels to the tool, I believe it makes it more official. It is possible to be believed more if someone else calculated your estimate.
Simplestimate allows you to calculate low, average, and high estimates based on the data you provide.
You will need to include a lot of project tasks, resources, and other details to make your estimates detailed. It’s almost like creating an entire mini-project plan. This is redundant effort. You’d like to schedule your project and track the performance against it outside this tool. Simplestimate does not offer any tracking options, so once you have created your estimate, you will need to manage your time as well as your costs.
It is possible to avoid this by only including the most important milestones or project phases in your estimate. This would work especially well if you are only trying to make clear figures for clients.
If you want to increase your margin by adding a markup to your actual costs, then you can do that. Markup can only be applied to all tasks.
It is not intuitive to include software, licences, and equipment hire costs in your project. When you are asked to select a role, it is to enter a resource to complete the task. In one estimate I prepared, I put ‘Van Hire’. While it is possible, you need to think outside of the box. Add the cost price into the hourly rate, then say the high/most probable/low estimates. This takes about an hour. It works, but it feels awkward.
User Interface
It is easy to use because there aren’t many options. It only does what it is supposed to do.

Software Review: Roadmap Planner [2017]

General Information
Name: Roadmap Planner
Vendor: KeepSolid Inc.
Hosting options: iOS, macOS downloads (no Windows yet).
Cost and plans: A free plan for one user, then monthly subscriptions starting at $4.99 per month. Prices drop if you add more users or functionality. You can also get discounts if you pay annually.
Languages: English
Goodbye complicated slide decks and spreadsheets
Roadmap Planner is an easy app that helps you create strategic plans. It is ideal for portfolio managers and programme managers who have many phases to manage. They also want a high-level overview.
Business owners who wish to plan their company’s future would also benefit. The vendor’s website suggests that top athletes would also appreciate the ability to see a road map for their professional goals.
You should create a strategic plan and keep it handy while you make decisions about projects or other things. Keeping your eyes on the end goal will help you stay focused.
It’s flexible so you could adapt it for planning anything high-level, such as writing a book or your wedding.

It’s easy to get started
Although the company is located in the US, their marketing copy looks like it was written by someone who doesn’t speak English. This shouldn’t discourage you. To get started, you don’t need to have much help, if any.
Templates are included in the software so that you don’t have a to start from scratch. After you have completed a few steps, the picture below shows how it looks. To add a shape, tap the + icon and then tap the button to link it to the roadmap items.
You can create a strategic plan using swim lanes and icons to highlight key areas. The 21-day trial period lets you try the Professional plan. You will automatically be switched to the Free plan, which has basic functionality, when it expires. Upgrade your subscription to continue accessing the full set productivity features.
Roadmap Planner: Benefits
You can customize the look of the tool by changing colours, fonts, and more. You can also add icons to your roadmap items to make them easier to read and call out the most important elements. There are many icons to choose from, but you can’t create your own.
These are the settings you can customize. This is where you can add tasks, notes, or projects to a section of the roadmap to ensure you don’t forget about what that particular element of your strategy was. Although it is not meant to be used in the same manner as an Agile backlog, it can be useful to keep track of everything you thought when you created the roadmap item.
You can create a backlog that includes notes about your milestones or projects to remind yourself of the details when you are implementing the strategy. Roadmap Planner also creates a strategic planning plan that is aligned in swim lanes. This allows you to adapt it to any process you want. Although it is flexible, I think if you do a lot of process maps, you will find other products that are more suitable.
You can display your roadmap as a presentation on a large screen or print it as PDF. This will allow you to share it in many ways.
I tested it a few days before the major update was released to the app. As you can see, there were some feature changes such as the addition of milestones.
Roadmap Planner now includes milestones. You can also mark the percentage of tasks completed (hmm, we’re moving into project management territory here! Interface improvements and a back-end update to speed the app.
Roadmap Planner Limitations
I tried the software on my iPad. It wasn’t easy to make a nice looking map.