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GanttProject: Open-Source Software For Project Management

Project management software (“project management”) is of fundamental importance, to say the least, within companies that wish to carry out effective planning of work activities and set up a timetable of dates to be respected for the completion of the operations taken into consideration. Load.

The open-source world offers several programs that offer project management features without requiring the payment of any fee. Furthermore, this software is proposed as products that can be installed on any system and do not require an Internet connection (they can work locally without having to rely on external servers).

Among the best products, there is undoubtedly GanttProject, software which, as an essential requirement, requires the installation of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) package from Sun Microsystems. GanttProject is a “cosmopolitan” software; it directly supports many languages ​​, including Italian. In the main window, it is possible to enter the various activities and organize them hierarchically. 

The properties panel allows you to match comments, customize colors, insert links to Internet addresses, and view and edit resources and dependencies. The program offers a reasonable degree of customization: if the standard properties proposed by GanttProject are not enough, the user is free to customize them as he sees fit.

Two activities can be related in many ways. For example, you can make them start or finish simultaneously or set a constraint that prevents the next activity from starting until the previous one is finished. A special tab allows you to set the resources (for example, the “human” ones) intended for carrying out the various activities defined using the Gantt diagram (horizontal bar graph which shows, on a timeline, the primary activities that make up a project as well as the various dependencies).

One of the strengths of GanttProject is the ability to share the data produced with users of other project management software. The default format in which the software stores information is XML, and it is also possible to directly open the documents produced with Microsoft Projects. Graphs can also be exported in PNG, JPEG or PDF formats.

To start GanttProject, once the installation is complete, you must ensure you have installed the latest JRE version on your system. The GanttProject setup procedure also installs a sample file which summarizes the planned activities in the case of the construction of a building. The example file is called HouseBuildingSample.gan and can be opened by choosing HouseBuildingSample from the Programs menu, GanttProject.

The various items contained in the project are in English: four phases of work have been identified (structural design, interior design, construction phase, and finishing). Each work phase can, in turn, be broken down into several activities: a start and end date can be set for each of them. The program will then automatically update the days needed to complete the phase.

The solid black lines in the Gantt chart on the right indicate the “macro-categories”, which are divided into several sub-activities (light blue rectangles).  The Add Indentation arrow key is needed for a task to be represented as part of a specific phase. To ensure that an activity does not start until the previous one is completed, select them both (using the SHIFT, CTRL and arrow keys on the keyboard), then click on the “Connect” button representing a link in a chain.

Through the Resources tab, it is possible to define the resources used to realize the project. Each resource can be used to carry out one or more activities. For each person, any days off or holidays can be specified (properties window), so these periods are not considered. 

After defining the available human resources, entering the reference data, roles and free days, clicking on the Gantt tab, on the Activity Properties button (the item can also be reached by right-clicking on the activity of interest), then on Resources, one or more resources can be associated with each activity. The Progress box ( General section ) allows you to note any delays in progress: in this way, GanttProject will update the graph accordingly.

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