ConceptDraw PROJECT, the second piece of the ConceptDraw Office suite, is now available. MINDMAP was my last week review.
ConceptDraw PROJECT version 3 was reviewed in 2007. I was curious to see what improvements have been made.
The interface is simple and attractive. Hit Return to create a new task under the one you’ve just created. Insert adds another one above. This was a problem I had last time so I’m happy that it has been simplified.
You can also switch between windows easily if you have multiple projects open.
You can change the fill pattern, colour, and text style to personalize the Gantt chart. This is great if you have specific items that you need to quickly identify. The Gantt chart is easy to use.
All the standard functionality for project planning is available, including tracking costs. (Does anyone actually do that?). Although I was able change the currency symbol from PS, it didn’t apply the change retroactively. My new tasks were costed using my actual currency, not the default: dollars, when I opened a new project. You would have expected that there would be a prompt at install to tell you where you are located and the preferences for the application. This would need to be a PMO that was set up before project managers could get started with the application.
PRO is the last part of ConceptDraw Office suite. This is a graphics package (more details next week). You can generate reports, but they won’t be as useful if you haven’t filled in all costs, resources, budget baselines, time baselines, and so forth in PROJECT. This is a lot of data for a small project. If you are a project manager who uses Gantt charts as a graphical task checklist, it will be too much overhead to keep all the details current.
It’s a great tool. I also like the ability to export screen shots as PowerPoint slides. It can also create web-ready tabular reports, which could be useful for sharing your plan via other collaboration tools. The software also allows you to email your team with a task list directly from the software. Although it attempted to reset my internet connection, it failed. I was not logged into my POP3 account so I had to stop it immediately.
According to the marketing material:
ConceptDraw Office tools are used primarily by what we call Knowledge Workers. These are team players, which typically include executives and managers at all levels. ConceptDraw Office applications are directly compatible with the needs of Knowledge Workers whose responsibilities include resource management as well as works planning management.
I would argue that the executive staff member would be the one who consumes the data produced by these tools, and not the person actually pressing the buttons. Although ConceptDraw PROJECT is not as easy to use as Microsoft Project, it isn’t difficult to learn the shortcuts and icons. Some may find it even easier. This project management tool is solid and reliable. However, if you want to get the full functionality and benefits of the Office suite, you will need to use it with the other elements of the Office suite.
Next week, I’ll be reviewing PRO, the final piece of the ConceptDraw Office suite.

Review: ConceptDraw Project