Kiss Microsoft Project goodbye
Check out three Web-based project managers: LiquidPlanner, Clarizen, and Mumboe
If you use Microsoft Project, you might want to seriously consider three alternatives that run completely on the Web. In addition to supporting more contemporary features right now, and getting updated with even newer gadgets more frequently than Microsoft can muster, these products, being completely Web-based, offer much more robust collaboration tools.
First up: Liquid Planner. We saw this product at Demo 2008 but it will be on stage again at the Under the Radar conference that I'm moderating on Thursday. This tool's special sauce is its embrace of uncertainty. Users can put in best-case and worst-case estimates for their tasks, and the product combines all the estimates to tell you how likely you are to make deadlines, and also which sub-tasks are the most critical to achieving project goals.
Then there's Clarizen, the 2.0 version of which comes out this week. This product has a very nice, very Web 2.0 user interface, but what I like best about it that most users will never see the UI: managers can set up projects on the Clarizen site, but people responsible for delivering on those projects never have to use it. The product sends e-mail queries that users can update directly, bypassing the main site and the $50 monthly per-user fee as well.
Finally, there's the specialized Mumboe, which we'll also see at Under the Radar. This is a Web-based "CLM" (contract lifecycle management) app, but it's apparently one of the first to have a completely free subscription tier. The tool tracks the documents that go into a business agreement, and lets you specify start and end dates, deliverables, commitments, and tracking metrics. You can delegate tasks, of course, and also see your entire list of deliverables and commitments on one dashboard screen. Mumboe will also be at Under the Radar.
I stink at project management and can't offer an expert opinion on these products, but I do think that if you are a project management software user, you might want to try one of these Web-based tools. Of course, don't forget to also check out Basecamp.