Best Project Management Solution (maybe able to export MS Project files)
September 9, 2013 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Are there any websites or programs that can read and export MS Project .mpp files that are more affordable and just as capable as MS Project? Failing that, what's a good online website that can achieve the same effect of building the chart for the customer and maybe even allowing them to collaborate with us on it? We're a small company whose customers often like to see and modify MS Project files at the beginning of a project. Project is expensive and locked to one computer per license, and I don't feel like installing it on lots of computers here when most of the users will use it maybe 1% of the time. Plus, none of us know how to fully extract all the value from this expensive software to justify it. I'd like a solution more tailored to our small needs that still will satisfy our customers. I'm also open to other project management solutions as detailed below.

I think I'd prefer something web-based, just for the simplicity of being able to login anywhere. An Android and iOS (iPad) app would a nice additional luxury. It's not mandatory, though.

We've had Project in the past, and our charts were simplistic: Tasks, dates, relationships between tasks. We didn't even use the percentage completion option, because usually these charts were a one-time thing. I am not a trained project manager (just a frazzled engineer), but I would like to keep track of the project ongoing with these charts these times around.

It'd be swell if whatever solution could output something that our customers with Project could open, modify, and send back to us. I guess ideally that would be a .mpp file. I know that programs like OpenProj and its relatives can output a .xml file that can be read by Project, but I have no clue how well that translates back and forth. I don't particularly want to cause any hassle for our customers with cumbersome or bad translation of files between programs.

As I said, I'm open to an online option where the chart exists online and the customer and my employees either see or work with it. I don't have a real clear picture of how that would work right now, but I'm becoming very interesting in simplifying a lot of our company information management structure with The Cloud. I'm just an engineer, who does IT on the side, after all.

I'm willing to pay for the right solution, but I'm definitely open to free options as well.

Finally, I'm if you have other project management software, websites, approaches that you think might fit my bill, let me have them. I know everyone in the business world likes Gantt charts, but if there's a better way that customers might also like, I'm cool with that, too.

To be honest, we just need to get our PM act together and share information as efficiently as possible. I've mentioned the Gantt charts because a lot of customers like them, but I'd gladly sacrifice them for a great internal solution. I could go for a good internal PM solution and a good separate interface with the customers with the charts or something equivalently effective. I know you guys know a lot more than me, so I'll gladly accept whatever advice I can get. Thanks.
posted by KinoAndHermes to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I freelance for a company that uses Wrike, which is a web-based project management system. It doesn't export to a Project file although it does export to an XLS, which may be importable into Project?

The company doesn't take advantage of the available features (it's mostly used as simple list of ongoing projects with responsible parties and due dates) but I've found it very easy to use and could foresee it being very useful if it were fully utilized.

Also, I believe Wrike offers a free trial...and it has GANTT charts! :)

Please feel free to memail me if you have any specific questions. I've used it for more than a year and am happy to offer opinions or answer any questions I can.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2013

i like Project Libre - it's java based, so it works on most everything, and it's been open sourced, so it's free. I've found it to be pretty capable.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:02 PM on September 9, 2013

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