Gantt Pro taps iPad project management power

Erik Eckel reviews the features of the Gantt Lite and Gantt Pro project management apps for the iPad. Here's what you get with both free and paid versions.

iPads are all the rage. Apple's on track to sell record numbers of the popular table device in 2012. Technology professionals seeking a way to squeeze even more productivity out of their iPads can leverage i2e Consulting's Gantt Lite or Gantt Pro apps.

Gantt Lite

The company's Gantt Lite app is priced right. It's free. But the free version possesses limitations.

I2e Consulting's Gantt Lite app enables iPad users to copy Microsoft Project 2003, 2007, and 2010 files to their iPads. Once Project plans are transferred to the iPad using email, Dropbox, iTunes or a Project server using the gAppServer plugin, project managers can review the Project plan information using several different views. In addition to the Gantt "swimlane" view, iPad users can select Calendar, Table, and Critical Path views, too, using a simple drop-down menu.

Navigation is straightforward. Clicking on tasks takes you to specific steps or stages within a project. A slider bar and "bird's eye view" that are also available within the Gantt chart view make it easy to travel to specific sections within the Gantt timeline.

In my tests, all of my Project's columns transferred over to the iPad. The Gantt app also provides support for displaying only specified columns, including % Completed, % Work Completed, Actual Duration, Completed, Cost, Duration and Work, among others.

The Gantt Lite version I tested did not enable adding notes to individual tasks. I couldn't get the notation feature to work either with sample project plans included with the app or on Project plans I emailed to my iPad. All I received when trying to save notations was an upsell message stating I should upgrade to Gantt Pro to enable using the "Edit Notes" feature.

One side note to remember is that Project plans transferred to the iPad must first be saved in XML format to enable opening within the Gantt apps. The exception is Project files downloaded directly from your Project server to the iPad.

Gantt Pro

For a modest $5.99, the Pro version supports editing notes. To add notes, users need only highlight the task and tap the "+a" icon to open an Add Annotation To The Task. There, notes can be added and saved to the respective task.

Another limitation of the Gantt Lite app is that users are unable to delete the sample files that load with the application. Further, only three projects can be used with the Gantt Lite version. The Gantt Pro edition, meanwhile, enables deleting files and working with an unlimited number of Project files, although the manufacturer recommends users work with Project files 10MB or smaller in size.