Our Score: 83/100
For you, project managers are certainly familiar with the Microsoft Office Project. However, have you ever known about ProjectLibre? If you don’t know it, then we suggest you to start looking at this software. One of the reasons is that this software was developed as an open-source which means that this software is totally free.
ProjectLibre is an open source project management software alternative to Microsoft Project. It provides a feature to import Microsoft Project files. Also, it offers a UI that is quite similar to Microsoft Project to make a transition easier. Until this article is written, this platform is compatible with Microsoft Project 2003, 2007, and 2010 files.
The software has been downloaded over 3,000,000 times in 200 countries. Also, it was won InfoWorld “Best of Open Source” award. Considering ProjectLibre is desktop project management software which is written using Java technology, you can simply open them on Linux, Mac OS, or Windows.
ProjectLibre Overview by Helen Bradley
Table of contents
Judging from its function, ProjectLibre is very similar to the Microsoft Office Project. This project management software provides important features for project management. Its features including Gantt Charts, Network Diagrams, Earned Value Management, WBS / RBS graphics, and Resource histograms.
|1.||Project Planning & Scheduling|
|1.1.||Setting priorities and deadlines||√|
|1.2.||Resources & Workload Management||√|
|1.3.||Support Agile Methodologies|
|2.1.||Assigning tasks to team members||√|
|2.2.||Attach files to the task|
|2.3.||Comments on task||√|
|2.8.||Progress Tracking / Status||√|
|4.||Project Financial Management|
|4.2.||Payments / Billing|
|4.4.||Integration with Accounting Systems|
Planning and scheduling arguably constitute the most important stage of project management because they form the backbone of the entire project. In ProjectLibre, you can list each of your project’s tasks in the left side of the Gantt Chart view, and then organize them into a hierarchy of summary tasks and subtasks. You can also link tasks together, to show task dependencies.
In addition to the tasks list view, the Gantt Chart view also provides an illustrated version of your task list, with Gantt bars that show the duration of your project’s tasks across a timeline. This part of the Gantt Chart view is called the chart. For each task, the associated Gantt bar begins at the start date and ends at the finish date. Also, if you have linked tasks together, the Gantt bars are connected on the chart with link lines.
The logic of the project schedule has a significant impact on how the schedule proceeds. It is important to know, in particular, which activities are performed in parallel or series. One of the best way to clearly see your schedule’s task logic is to display a network diagram of your schedule.
It is good to clearly see what activities are performed in parallel as they will, most likely, require more coordination. That’s why ProjectLibre provides a network diagram view that specifically highlights the relationships between tasks. So you can easily view tasks in parallel and series.
Earned Value Management
Earned value management (EVM) is a project management process that aims to identify performance problems early during the project execution. Therefore, EVM is an important contribution to project management.
More recent research studies have shown that the principles of EVM are positive predictors of project success. Also, EVM can surface in and help substantiate contract disputes. Therefore, ProjectLibre provides essential features of any EVM implementation such as Baseline Cost (BC), Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS), Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP), Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP), Cost Variance (CV), Schedule Variance (SV), etc.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a decomposition of a project into parts. In ProjectLibre, The WBS menu visually defines the scope into manageable chunks that a project team can understand. It starts with the project as the top level deliverable and is further decomposed into sub-deliverables using the following outline hierarchy.
ProjectLibre provides “Indent” and “Outdent” tools to create a work breakdown structure. Indent a group of tasks to make them as a subtask of the previous task, for instance.
Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS)
In addition to WBS, ProjectLibre also provides a Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). It’s a hierarchical list of resources related by function and resource type that is used to facilitate planning and controlling of project work. ProjectLibre allows you to create resources on which project funds will be spent, including personnel and materials.
Resource histogram is specifically a bar chart which is used for the purposes of displays the specific amounts of the time that a particular resource which is scheduled to be worked on over a predetermined and in a specific time period. A resource histogram is a tool which is often used by the project management team and it is a means of providing a visual representation to the team.
Through the resource histogram, you can get the answer to the following questions: What are the resources available? What are the resources are being utilized at the time now? And how long those resources are expected to be tied up?
Based on my experience using ProjectLibre, this software is very easy to use. For example, entering data into the spreadsheet automatically generates various chart like Network chart, WBS, Gantt chart, etc. Furthermore, the “Indent” and “Outdent” tools make it easier to create a WBS and RBS.
Overall, ProjectLibre has project management feature that supports most of our needs. It makes employee stick to the plan and allows them to plan their schedules like vacations or something else. In addition, we can perform the analysis of resource management through Resource Histogram. It allows me to see the graph of the use of each resource and compare it with its availability. So we can decide if it is necessary to increase the availability of the resource or redistribute its allocation.
Customer Service & Support
Keep in mind it is freeware so there is a lack of readily available direct online customer service support. However, users can access online tutorials quite readily from existing user forums. Though they never ignore it, the immediate reply is not expected.
ProjectLibre is a free open source desktop solution which means that the software is free to use. However, similar software with basic functionalities have fees that range from $0 to $50 per month.
Pros and Cons
The main advantage of ProjectLibre is that the software has similar functions and features as a paid for MS Project software. It is fully compatible with import, export, and opening of Microsoft Project files. The most important thing, this software is totally free.
ProjectLibre can take some time to load when the project sizes are larger. The user interface looks a little old and is not as modern as MS Project.
For anybody learning how to use project management software for managing personal projects or other uses, starting with ProjectLibre is an excellent choice. Also, if you are familiar with Microsoft Project and looking for a similar product with a lower price or even free, ProjectLibre is a good alternative for you.
Although the software is good for use, ProjectLibre has also some drawbacks. For example, as mentioned above, ProjectLibre can take some time to load when the project sizes are larger. Therefore, some users said that ProjectLibre is just suitable for manage small project. However, this drawbacks is understandable considering this is free software.
Reviewed by Audrey Addison
In 2012 the founders of OpenProj announced that they forked the project and will be releasing a new version of OpenProj in August 2012. The name of the fork is ProjectLibre which currently hosted on the SourceForge open-source hosting service. On February 2016, ProjectLibre was selected as the Staff Choice Project of the Month by the SourceForge staff.
Not sure if ProjectLibre is the right fit for you? Read our following reviews: Best Project Management Software, Top Free Project Management Software, Top Open Source Project Management Software, Top Desktop Project Management Software.