Tom's Planner Review
The coolest tools are universal, with their help you can solve a wide variety of tasks. Examples of such tools are Google documents and spreadsheets, Mindmeister mental maps , Realtimeboards . You can adapt them for anything, especially tables. To invent and make such an instrument is the most difficult. I will talk about another universal tool that we are actively using - Tom's Planner .
I'll start with the background. We were looking for a tool to build Gantt chartsour projects. This problem appeared because we were desperate to find a project management system in which a good and convenient Gant was built. We used Redmine, and in it, as in most plug-ins for it, Gantt charts are implemented in such a way that they are quite difficult to use every day.
In addition, we gradually came to the conclusion that the distribution of tasks in the project management system and planning are essentially different tasks. Attempts to combine them greatly complicate the work. We decided to have a separate tool for planning and forecasting.
After reviewing a number of systems for building Gantt charts, we realized that they are complex. We needed a simple visual planning tool, and flexible, very flexible. Tom's Planner came into view .
After simple registration, you get a free and sufficient account to work with. You can quickly and easily create stages, drag them, drag the beginning and end of the stage. Each stage can be named and described, you can assign a color. A person who, for the first time in his life, learns that Gant exists, instantly begins to create diagrams without any training.
The ability to assign different colors to stages is a unique feature of the service. This makes the charts surprisingly readable - unless, of course, everyone adheres to a common legend:
But that is not all! You can insert symbols representing any events in the project into any part of the diagram. It is very comfortable.
All elements can be named, each element can be commented. Such flexible options for including information in a chart turn it into a convenient repository of the most important project data.
The tool is very flexible. Every employee here, despite the previously created legend, nevertheless began to use additional features that are important to him. Let's see how it looks.
Project manager Lena likes to plot all the events in a project on a diagram.
Light gets by with a minimum of tools.
Pavel either has VERY many payments this month, or he got confused with the icons.
When do the free features of the service end? When you need to export a chart out, share with colleagues or publish. Yes, yes, all these features are also available and work great. For corporate use, one paid account is connected, to which free ones are connected. It is more convenient if each participant has an extended account, since the tariffs are loyal .
Our project managers adjust the diagrams once a week, noting payments, delays, and exit points from the project. Once a week we collect individual charts in a general Review. Using it, we analyze the load and determine how to proceed. It turns out something like this:
It looks complicated, but knowing that brown is the design stages, you can easily determine how many projects are at this stage, and when the unloading will occur. Everything is clear and simple.
And here is an example of the diagrams that our sales men make for commercial offers, in order to explain to the client the stages of work, to show the dates of meetings and to argue the need to parallelize some stages. Charts can be exported to PDF or Excell and included in commercial offers.
The simplicity and versatility of the tool gives rise to some disadvantages. In Tom's Planner, there is no way to link steps; accordingly, a shift of steps does not cause a shift of the steps following it. There is no such entity as tasks in the system, although, if desired, they can be imitated by available means. Only Gant, nothing but him ...
In general, we recommend: http://www.tomsplanner.com