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Review of the Project Management Program OmniPlan

written by: Marlene Gundlach • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/6/2011

OmniPlan is a Mac-based program that boasts that it is designed to be user friendly so that you are not wasting your time learning how to use new project management software. But does it deliver on its promise?

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    The basic interface of OmniPlan provides a task view that includes a Gantt chart showing tasks, durations of the tasks, what has been allocated to each task and any interdependencies between tasks. This view is available by checking the task view box, the first of three options at the top left corner. To manipulate what you are seeing in the chart, you can go to "View" and then choose what you want to see. There is a check box where you can choose to see the Title, Assigned Resources or Milestone Dates. There is also a column where you can choose other chart options including:

    • Status
    • Options
    • Duration
    • Effort
    • Dependencies
    • Assigned
    • Completed
    • As well as a variety of cost categories

    Entering tasks is quick and easy as it is set up in a basic outline view. By selecting the options listed above, you can quickly and easily view what specific data you need to see for each task. When viewing the Gantt chart, the bottom of the screen will continually show a percentage of completion time and the current cost for the project. Task View Screenshot 

    In the resource box, the option in the middle looks like the outline of a person. It will show each workers' tasks, where they fall in the time frame of the task. You can look at all employees at once, or select one person in particular. Here you can see where resources are being wisely used and where there is a backlog. The last option in the resource box is the calendar view. Here you can schedule out the days of the week and when people are working. From here you can edit dates depending on project needs.

    Other options include viewing your project's critical path showing tasks that are necessary for successful completion of the project. You can also view any violations that may occur. These may include when a scheduled start date for a task occurs before the start date of the project.

    OmniPlan can import XML, MPX, and MPP files directly from Microsoft Project. You can also export information to iCal, CSV, Microsoft Project, Exchange, HTML, OmniOutliner, OmniGirafle, as well as image formats.

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    The inspect button at the top right corner offers four options:

    • Project Inspector: See start dates, title, milestones, style, formatting, duration display and hours worked.
    • Task Inspector: Select a task and it brings up task data, including dependencies and resources.Inspector Box 
    • Resource Inspector: Choose a resource and see general information on resources including contact information, type of resource, cost and assignments.
    • Style Inspector: Set basic style attribute.
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    Costs and System Requirements

    You can try OmniPlan for free. The trial I downloaded only said it would last 24 hours but it did state that if you needed more time you could send for another code. Base pricing for a one person license is $149.95. A family pack can be purchased for $225.00 and the Educational pack is $99.00. The educational pack pricing is for faculty, staff and students of educational institutions.

    The program will run on a Mac computer, with OS C 10.4.8 or later.

    This program is extremely versatile and easy to use. They offer video tutorials that are very user friendly and break down usage of the program is easy to follow steps. Support is available either via email for phone. They claim they try to respond to emails within one business day. For the price, this program offers all of the basics project managers will need to effectively manage their team and deliver a quality project on time and on budget.