Author Topic: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?  (Read 3372 times)

swick

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Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« on: July 18, 2016, 01:57:57 PM »
Howdy!

I was hoping to pick some Engineering brains. Hubs is looking for a solution for managing and project tracking that he can use for work. He's an EE. His company doesn't have a standard system so he is looking to build/obtain something for his personal use.

Currently, he is working in excel, but his list is becoming more cumbersome as new multi-stage projects keep landing in his lap.

There are TONS of programs and apps out there, but he has to spend a bunch of time inputting data into each of them and then finds out they don't really meet his needs. So I was hoping you could share your solutions and save us some time.

Basically he needs to be able to track lots of details and data for each project, be able to assign roles and responsibilities and due dates, see how they larger projects are connected and multiple views ways to sort (such as due, completed, due shortly, area) An easy glance overview would be a nice bonus, but not vital.

How do you keep track of your engineering projects and workflow?


Thanks for your help!

Updated with Hubby's wish list:

 I need be able to define projects (basically headers) and tasks underneath the header.

∑         I need to be able to give each task its own due-date and the software tell me what is coming up.

∑         I need to be able to tag or organize projects into different categories.

∑         I need to be able to update status and notes for each task

∑         It would also be nice to see projects in a table format such as excel


The big advantage to Excel is typing a new task or copy/paste is very quick. The downside is it takes a fair amount to effort to keep it all working properly.


Right now I have somewhere around 100 active/in progress/not started tasks spread over 30 or so projects. Thatís a lot of stuff to keep track of.


« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 02:08:48 PM by swick »

QueenAlice

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2016, 02:31:47 PM »
Commenting to follow.

When I was consulting, I was using Harvest to track my projects, time, and invoices. It sounds like that has some, but not all of what your husband is looking for.

I hadn't thought about using an app to manage my projects now that I am a FT salaried employee, but it sounds like a great idea. I look forward to see other recommendations you get here.

Lagom

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2016, 02:41:48 PM »
Also commenting to follow. I used to use The Secret Weapon system with Evernote (basically GTD), but it never quite felt right to me and now Evernote makes you pay if you want to use more than a couple devices. Currently, I use a very lazy and inefficient system, so I'm interested to hear other's thoughts. I've recently had people recommend Asana or Trello to me, but I haven't yet tried either.

swick

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2016, 02:49:57 PM »
Also commenting to follow. I used to use The Secret Weapon system with Evernote (basically GTD), but it never quite felt right to me and now Evernote makes you pay if you want to use more than a couple devices. Currently, I use a very lazy and inefficient system, so I'm interested to hear other's thoughts. I've recently had people recommend Asana or Trello to me, but I haven't yet tried either.

I have used both Asana and Trello. Trello I got tired of the constant upselling. Asana I have used with Client work and it is an option, but it doesn't handle a huge load well, again a lot of functionality is behind a paywall, You can only have 5 or so projects with the free version.  We don't mind paying for something, if it is going to be super functional and useful, so I am curious if anyone has any more suggestions!

Thanks!

Shor

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2016, 06:27:23 PM »
My company used to use an open source tool called dot project. It can handle project deadlines, tasks, expected hours, categorization. It has a calendar view to show what deadlines are coming up and what needs working on.
It can also be used to track the number of hours worked in a project, and add on new underlying task items.

It has some decent overview tools, one is called a Gant chart which displays the expected timeline for remaining tasks.
Overall it was pretty useful at the time.

Unfortunately our company dropped it because Germany decided that all development entities needed to use the tools that they were using, (Visual Studio TFS) which I think would also meet some but not all of your requirements (especially around displaying the information, also very expensive for what you're getting which is basically a relational database..)

Let me PM you some screenshots, maybe he can determine from that whether it fits his needs.
There's nothing particularly sensitive or company related, but OpSec *shrug*...
and I'd also rather not go through each screenshot and blot out the possibly sensitive, maybe maybe not stuff.. so chalk it up to laziness, yeah :D

syednaeemul

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2016, 07:24:40 PM »
Hello I'm in project management and did a comparison of various project management tools in the market, though the comparison was for a company.

MS Project is the expensive go-to at $900 or $300/year licence, but is the industry standard.

For something much lighter and web-based, he can check out Wrike which is pretty good, and also has a free version.

I'll hunt around for my comparison sheet later tonight.

swick

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2016, 07:47:37 PM »
Thank you, Shor!

dot project sounds like it might be a good fit, hubby is looking into the info you sent, his first comment was "Interesting, I kinda like the look of it!" The downside is he would apparently have to create his own server to access it, but it might be a good solution. Thanks a bunch!

Hello I'm in project management and did a comparison of various project management tools in the market, though the comparison was for a company.

MS Project is the expensive go-to at $900 or $300/year licence, but is the industry standard.

For something much lighter and web-based, he can check out Wrike which is pretty good, and also has a free version.

I'll hunt around for my comparison sheet later tonight.

Hubby tried Wrike, but the free version doesn't allow for subtasks, which are pretty important. Would love to take a look at your comparison sheet if you can find it!

Love the suggestions and this community :)


katsiki

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2016, 07:23:39 PM »
I used Gantter a few years ago and recall that it worked well.  Check it out.

http://gantter.com/

kudy

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2016, 07:40:15 PM »
Not built specifically for engineering, but we use Teamwork (https://www.teamwork.com/) - I find it to be robust enough to have features I really like (task dependencies, milestones, a calendar view, etc.), but basic enough to not be overwhelming. It probably works best in my company's environment because it's great for collaborating - if he's looking for a tool that he'll use by himself, there might be better options out there?

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2016, 11:51:36 PM »
Following

Anatidae V

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2016, 02:28:07 AM »
I am also keen to try out some of these. We used trello to track our wedding, but that's it so far. I track my own stuff in OneNote, but I'm only tracking myself and 6-10 Jobs... And not at much detail either, far more like a task list.

Great suggestions here, I was going to suggest MS Project just to start with and now I need to investigate some of these more interesting options...

scruffydan

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2016, 04:23:00 PM »
I love, love, love dapulse.com

Slideguy

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2016, 11:14:21 AM »
Have a look at Smartsheet. Our office uses MS Project but some that do not have it use it. Worth a look as it can import and export to Excel and MS Project.....I believe.

Cognitive Miser

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2016, 12:35:32 PM »
I use Wunderlist.  It's free and online.  There's an app for my smartphone, and you can get to it an any browser on a desktop computer as well.  You can share tasks and lists, and assign responsibility to other people, and leave each other notes within each list/task.  My husband and I actually use that function for grocery lists and trying to decide on a name for our upcoming baby.
www.wunderlist.com

I also have used Outlook with the Getting Things Done tweaks to make it GTD-friendly, if your husband is into GTD.  I paid a few bucks for the white paper that told me how to configure Outlook for better functionality.

Unhoard

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2019, 11:28:31 AM »
I am between jobs now, and while considering part time work/side hustles and doing a lot of home improvement projects, I have been looking at a many of these project management & tasking solutions.  I have been using a bit of Trello and a lot of ToDoIst.  Also dipped my toe into OneNote.  I'm finding it hard to go back to see what I've been accomplishing and the ability to track costs, labor and expenses seems a little kludgy.  Microsoft Project is pricey as mentioned, and feels too complex for my needs.  OneNote is easy to create structure on, but it's too open range for me and I need some structure. 

I've stumbled across a Windows 10 app called Eclipse Manager.  For a single user solution, it seems to do everything I need.  The pay model is $2/month which will add cost tracking.  I may come back to this thread after evaluating the paid version.

Some cons vs. many other solutions:
- it appears to really be for only one user.  You cannot assign tasks or share the app.  With the paid version, you can export to CSV.  If collaborating you could use this tool for overview and simpler task sharing apps but you'll be doing a bit of duplicate labor.   
- It is not multi-platform.  With ToDoIst, I really like that I can add tasks from my phone (even using Siri while driving) and they'll be on the PC windows app when I get home.   
- "Nobody" appears to be using it.  There's a great guide on their website, but no blog, no forum, no active Reddit crew etc. etc.  With zero user engagement, I can't expect any future improvements and this won't scale up should I find myself in a growing operation. 

Still, for my current situation it seems like a good deal. 

Since this topic is now a bit out of date, I'm wondering if others are using another/newer solution to track projects with costs or for which you could invoice? 


shelbyautumn

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2019, 01:45:55 PM »
I use MS Project as well - it will do everything he's asked but it does have a learning curve.

I am mostly self-taught, but have found this online course to be helpful: https://www.udemy.com/microsoft-project-tutorial/

I bought the course for $11.99 so I'd suggest waiting for a sale if you go that route.

SwitchActiveDWG

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2019, 08:57:19 AM »
I'm a big fan of OmniFocus.

traveler

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2019, 07:47:46 PM »
You want Redmine. Itís open source, covers all your use cases, and can be found here: https://www.redmine.org/. Take a look at the online demo.

You can pay someone to run it (cheaply) for you in the cloud. Or you can get one of these turn key virtual machines and run it yourself: https://www.turnkeylinux.org/redmine.

belly05

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Re: Engineers - Project tracking/management solutions?!?
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2019, 07:18:59 AM »
Based On Your Husband's Wish List Basecamp sounds like a perfect fit:


 I need be able to define projects (basically headers) and tasks underneath the header.

This is exactly how the basecamp task list section functions.  You can create a list with header name, and then subtasks assigned to users with due dates.  In the new version you can also create client facing task lists that the client can login and comment on.  You can also require the client to approve/deny items which is great for leaving an accurate breadcrumb trail.

∑         I need to be able to give each task its own due-date and the software tell me what is coming up.

Each task in basecamp can be assigned a due date, and then when you login you can click the calendar view and see only assigns you have today/tomorrow/whatever time you select

∑         I need to be able to tag or organize projects into different categories.
∑         I need to be able to update status and notes for each task
∑         It would also be nice to see projects in a table format such as excel

All three of these are easily do-able in Basecamp


If your husband has any other questions feel free to ask, you can also PM me and I can create a "test" project in our company's Basecamp account that he can login and play with.  We get unlimited projects so it would be nothing to create a sample project for him to play around with.