The other day someone dropped me a note and asked for some reasons why they should use Web2project over some of the alternatives out there. If they were a developer, I would have talked about code quality, good object-oriented principles, quickly closing bugs and a host of other things. But since this person is primarily a Project Manager, I thought a bit more and came up with user-centric reasons:

First, User-based Time Zones are an absolute must. In my Regular Job(tm) we have five people split across two time zones and regularly work with people in a third. When we set meetings, we always specify a timezone but occasionally we forget and end up running late for calls, being unavailable at bad times, or just generally annoyed. Within Web2project, when I create a meeting for 10am Central  (America/Chicago) others in DC get it as 11am Eastern (America/New York). It seems like such a simple thing, I can’t imagine using a system without it.

Next, the Gantt Charts are easily exportable. Everyone loves to have the colorful gigantic Gantt Chart on the wall. The problem is how useful is it really? The most useful chart that I’ve ever found is the one I can print a few copies, stuff it in a folder, and pass around to everyone involved. In Web2project, you can select any time range – from a single day to the lifetime of a project – and export it to PDF with a single click. We also have a few cosmetic things like color-coding, a simple legend, and alternating line shading for easier reading.

Finally, the subproject system is solid. Quite often when you’re working on one project, there’s a whole other project within that. Previously, you could link the two but there was nothing tying them together or aggregating the information. Now when you have Project X as a subproject of Project Y, everything aggregates and ripples up similar to a “roll up task” in Microsoft Project. Project X’s scheduled and worked hours and percent complete appear as a “Token Task” within Project Y. As a result, you get all the same reporting, calculations, etc without any extra effort.

Realistically though, this isn’t a fair representation of Web2project. In every release – for almost two years now – we’ve included anywhere from fifty to a hundred fixes, improvements, features, and changes. Some have revolutionized the system, while others just annoyed the community and were improved in the next release. Regardless, we’ve made some major strides in the underlying architecture and now we’re going to do some great things with it.

… project budgeting anyone?