Saturday, November 17, 2012

Project tracking packages

This request came from a colleague:

"Bruce, do you have a suggestion on a tracking software for projects and/or tasks that would cover things like:
  • Entering tasks, requests, and projects for tracking and scheduling
  • Attaching notes, documents, any other information that would be related to that category
  • Report on what’s open as well as what’s closed (to determine common areas of requests)

"I used something called dotprojects in the past..."

My response to her:

Project tracking for my IBM i clients is something that I need. Many years ago, I started custom programming a system that would not only track projects but generate scopes and interface with billing. Many times, I will quote a specific number of hours for a project, say 52. When I do, then I bill by the hour up to the quoted amount  plus 20% (62.40 hours for this example). Above the maximum, I eat the rest.

Two of my clients use JTrac for tracking projects. It's open source and only requires a Java Runtime Environment to operate. However, I'm not aware that anyone has ported it to IBM i.

One of my clients uses ServiceNOW (NOW not tomorrow!) but it's set up for incident tracking rather than project tracking. If you don't code the incident correctly, it will automatically close it on you. Also, it is a bit expensive; it cost the client over $100 per month to provide me with access.

I will look into dotProject. Something that runs on your laptop would be a good first step but I'm looking for something my clients can access as well.

I agree that spreadsheets have the flexibility to do the job but are a pain to handle. As far as tracking documentation, I set up a folder on my laptop for each client with the documents for that client. My goal is to burn a CD each quarter and give it to them for their use.

Any solution I come up with will likely be accessible through a secure (SSL) web site. I will try to make it available to you, although pricing is unknown at this point.

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