Project managers are constantly on the go. I repeatedly find myself meeting clients at coffee houses, touring new company sites, managing office and server room relocations, and visiting numerous other locations while having to take notes, update schedules, and adjust project milestones. Increasingly, I found myself pressing my iPad into service and in the process discovered several apps that are designed to help power projects in the field.
Bento for iPad
Bento for iPad isn't a dedicated project management application. In fact, there really aren't many fully capable project management apps for the iPad. (If you find one, let me know, because I'm unable to find Microsoft Project for iPad.) Instead, Bento for iPad is a collection of database templates that help users organize a vast array of items, from contacts and notes to issues and projects. But the program can assist project managers.
The application can be run as a standalone app. Alternatively, users can opt to synchronize their iPad edition with Bento on a Mac.
With the ability to track projects, tasks and deadlines, Bento provides iPad users with an approachable app that also leverages existing contact and iCal information and helps synchronize changes to that data. The app also supports collaboration among teams. Using Bento, iPad users can share contacts, project plans, event details, and other information with up to five other Bento users on a LAN. At just $4.99 (for the iPad; $49 for a single-user Mac license), the application's features justify its minimal cost.
eTask Project for iPad
Emagine's e-Task Project for iPad enables tying an iPad to a user's online e-Task account. Without an online subscription ($10 per month per user), the app's not much good. Many users complain of bugs, too, so the buyer needs to beware. The app may not prove entirely stable. But heavy e-Task.net users should find eTask Project for iPad an app that can help track tasks and time, manage projects and better leverage investments in their e-Task.net subscriptions.
SG Project Suites
Fourth Frame Technologies' SG Project 2 provides a wide range of project management features tailored to the iPad's interface. In addition to tracking multiple projects, including tasks, developing child tasks, supporting table and Gannt views, and enabling exporting to PDF and XML (for importing into Microsoft Project), SG Project 2 also lets iPad users trigger alerts and set task dependencies, as well as import data from Microsoft Project.
At $9.99, the application is immediately affordable. Serious project managers may wish to purchase SG Project Pro, which includes action item and risk management functionality as well but costs $39.99.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.