Jack Wallen takes a look at a GanttProject-friendly tool that allows you to manage your projects on the go.
Project Managers live and die by the Gantt chart. These supercharged project schedule tools make managing projects and their constituent pieces less of a nightmare. But when you're a mobile project manager, and you can't always count on having a laptop with you, consider turning to GanttDroid on your Android device.
GanttDroid is a GanttProject-compatible app that helps you not miss a beat when you're managing projects on the go. Features include:
- 100% compatible with GanttProject
- View the Gantt charts and modify any data in your projects
- Dropbox integration
- Easy drag to change start/end dates
- Drag to connect the end/start of any task to the end/start of any other
- Redraw any connection to delete it
- Easily move tasks up and down or indent or outdent
The feature list above only applies to the Pro version, which costs $10.43 (USD). There is a free version with ads, but it doesn't allow you to connect to GanttProject or integrate with Dropbox. There's also an Enterprise version (GanttDroid Extended, for $12.02) that adds templates into the mix.
I highly recommend you use the free version of the tool to make sure:
- It works on your device
- It offers the features you need
If the tool fits your needs, then purchase the Pro version. But do not neglect to give the free version a try, especially to make sure the clunky UI doesn't get in the way of you having any success with the tool.
We'll install the free version and kick the tires. Follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on the device to house GanttDroid
- Search for ganttdroid
- Locate and tap the free version by Ratoconsulting
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing
- If you're okay with the permissions, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Once it's installed, you'll find the launcher either on your home screen or within the app drawer (or both). Tap the launcher, OK the bugfix listing, and then tap I Agree to the EULA. At this point, you should now be in the GanttDroid main window (Figure A).
GanttDroid running on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
If you're still reading, you most likely already know your way around Gantt charts. That being the case, using GanttDroid should be incredibly simple. From the main window, tap New Project, fill out the Project Data page (Figure B), and tap OK.
Creating a new project on GanttDroid.
At this point, you may get lost. What do you do next? Simple: The periwinkle bar (a shade of purple -- for those who don't know their colors) must be swiped downward. Once you do that, you can enter task data (Figure C).
Entering task data in GanttDroid.
What about resources? Using GanttDroid without resources makes no sense. To solve that problem, you must add resources. To do this, tap the menu button for the app (bottom right corner -- three vertical dots), and then tap Resources (Figure D).
The GanttDroid menu.
When you tap the Resources button, an overlay window will appear. In this window, you must select what you want to do with the resources. Tap New Resource to enter the necessary data. In the New Resources window (Figure E), make sure to enter both General and Days Off data.
Creating new resources in GanttDroid.
While creating a new resource, you may find yourself in a bit of a if/or state. When you tap the Default Role drop-down, you'll see only two options:
- Project Manager
You may need more roles than this. To create new roles, do the following:
- Go back to the main window
- Tap the menu button
- Tap Resources
- Tap User defined roles
- Tap Add
- Enter a new role (Figure F)
- Tap OK
Adding new user roles in GanttDroid.
Repeat the above process until you've added all necessary roles.
In order to modify an existing Gantt chart, you must do the following:
- Open GanttDroid
- Tap Open existing Project
- Tap the project to be modify
- Tap any overdue tasks (if any), and click Complete
- Drag the periwinkle-colored bar downward
- Edit any information you need (adding resources, predecessors, notes)
- Tap OK in the General tab when complete
The biggest issue with GanttDroid is its UI. GanttDroid is very clunky, and it's not even remotely intuitive. However, if you've used GanttProject, GanttDroid shouldn't be a problem. If you've never experienced GanttProject, you might want to install it on your desktop (it runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac) first and familiarize yourself with how it works.
The other caveat is that GanttDroid uses Dropbox in order to connect the Android and desktop versions of GanttProject. So, you'll need to make sure you have Dropbox on your desktop (and your mobile device). If you can't use Dropbox on your network, this will prevent GanttDroid from connecting to your GanttProject files.
Mobile workers looking for the best way to take GanttProject (especially those without remote access to a desktop), should definitely check out GanttDroid. Although it doesn't offer the most user-friendly UI, it does handle the task of helping manage projects on the go.
What do you think? Is GanttDroid an option for you, or does the UI need more work for it to be of any use? There are other Gantt tools for Android. Have you found one that works best for your needs? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.