When I first thought about enterprise uses for the iPad, project management was at the top of my list. When I first held the device in my hands, I could imagine it replacing many paper based tasks and offering an unprecedented level of mobility for tasks like project management. ProjectPlanner HD for iPad helps fulfill that early of vision of mine for the iPad as a project management tool. While it can be easy to argue that iPad project management apps lack the robustness of mainstream project management applications like Microsoft Project and cloud-based apps like Liquid Planner and Zoho Projects, they do offer the features that the non-PMP ninja PMs should find useful.
ProjectPlanner HD for iPad takes advantage of the entire iPad screen. Press + to setup a new project and specify the basics like project name, start date, end date, and any project specific notes. Tap the new project chart and you can start filling out the project schedule by task, summary, and milestone.
Tap Task and you are ready to start filling out task information including task name, start date/end date, duration, priority, and completion percentage. While specifying out the project data may sound like it requires a keyboard, the app’s interface is easy to navigate through, taking full advantage of the iPad interface, without having to type in long passages of text. During the testing for this post, I used on the iPad’s virtual keyboard.
Specifying summaries and milestones is even easier than specifying a task because each requires you just specify a few fields.
While there isn’t quite the programmatic interrelationship between tasks, summaries, and milestones like you would have when building a similar schedule in Microsoft Project, I am not sure there needs to be one. To me, iPad project management apps could find a home in sole proprietorships, freelance projects, and small to medium businesses where perhaps the budget for project management tools isn’t what it should be nor the requirements for the sophistication of Microsoft Project or other higher end mainstream tools.
In the use case where a project manager using Project Planner HD for iPad needs to get project data out of the app, it can be done by tapping Export (at the bottom of the app). By default, project schedules can be imported in PPF, PDF, GAN, and PNG formats. Export can take place via email, Wifi, iTunes, or Dropbox. In most cases, email export is going to be the most expedient and choosing that option bring up a blank email with the exported project schedule attached in the format(s) you specified.
Importing project data into ProjectPlanner HD for iPad is available through WiFi import, iTunes import, or Dropbox. My personal preference here is Dropbox because WiFi import/exports from iOS devices never seem to work the first time for me and I find iTunes too torturous for little else than buying music and videos. When you select an import method, the app then prompts you to select at one project for import.
Project management data formats have always been in the background in my opinion since it was a Microsoft Project world in many respects for today’s project teams. The rise of alternative project management apps for iOS and the cloud mean the use case for having to transfer project-scheduling data between different project management apps to be a reality and this is where the PPF and GAN formats come into play.
ProjectPlan HD for iPad is worth a look if you have light project management duties and are looking for a portable app that can capture the basics. It’s not MS Project and if you are looking for a more robust iPad project management solution than I recommend exploring cloud based project management apps like Liquid Planner or Merlin that have their own iOS client.
Have you tried out ProjectPlanner HD for iPad yet?