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Tasks: Managing Information Systems Projects 1.

Jesse wants me to investigate Open Workbench software to determine whether it would be suitable for SCR. She asked me to prepare a summary of pros and cons, and a sample of screen shots and information. 2. Jesse likes the idea of using task completion estimates with best-case, probable-case, and worst-case estimates. She said that I should use typical formulas and weight values to create a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that would make it easier to calculate expected task durations. 3. To practice my skills, Jesse asked me to create an imaginary project with 10 tasks, which include dependent, multiple predecessor, and multiple successor tasks. She wants me to create a list showing the tasks and dependencies, and then lay it out on paper to show the logical flow, and the duration, start, and finish for each task. 4. Im excited to be part of the project team, and Jesse wants me to prepare a brief handout for the other team members with some dos and donts regarding project management. She said to make it look like a checklist of keys to project success.

Open Workbench is an open source, Windows PC application for project scheduling. It is freeware, with no limitations on the number of users. It allows project planning for complete projects, including subprojects with all their various dependencies. Schedules of tasks can be made automatically or manually, and linked as desired. Resources, whether people, equipment, or financial, can be defined and assigned. Projects can be reviewed with the help of GANTT and PERT charts, and various comparisons can be made. Baseline settings can be changed to reflect major project changes. It is a really fast app that is stable and it works. It runs smoothly, its small and efficient and gets the job done. There is a typical master file to which resources can be added, in detail, throughout the duration of the project. They can be arranged in categories. Only the categories can be arranged in a hierarchy. The employee workload is clearly presented.

Pros

Planning options are the key strength of Open Workbench, particularly in comparison with other free project management tools. Open Workbench provides a fully-developed planning algorithm (not released as opensource!) and some important planning and controlling features like base lining, work profiles, critical path, earned value, and variance analysis. The package has the ability to import XML files from MS Project. Export of files in other formats (in particular, export to a spreadsheet) is not possible. However, all table views can be transferred to other applications via the clipboard (copy-and-paste). I don't like the UI. User Interface Open Workbench, like other Java-based project management tools, has some minor deficits in its user interface. This means it can take a while for a new user to find the appropriate functionality. After a few hours with this tool, though, the user will learn how to deal with it (although, during our testing, we never really enjoyed the user interface)

Cons

Conclusion

This project-management package is aimed at the demanding planner. While its navigation and look and feel may spoil the fun initially, this tool offers very good support for planning. In particular, when the duration of a given task matches the estimated work remaining and the current availability of employees, Open Workbench provides good support for the project leader. In contrast with MS Project, the user can trace the calculation of the schedule at any time, and the schedule can be deactivated for individual activities. Given its range of functionality, it is surprising that Open Workbench has such a small market share among project-management tools: 100,000 users is a relatively small number for a tool that costs nothing and is this good.