At Mac360 we don’t often review Mac applications that haven’t been released, or that you can’t buy.
Today I made an exception for an exceptionally attractive application. OmniPlan.
Project management applications are not a dime a dozen.
In fact, they’re complicated, complex, expensive, and have a steep learning curve.
I don’t know of a decent project management application that doesn’t require substantial effort to learn.
On the PC side of the world, there are plenty of such applications, led by Microsoft’s expensive and capable Project.
Nearly $1,000 will get you complexity and capability, if not a headache or two.
On the Mac side of the world, the choices are slimmer, though quite capable.
I’ve had experience with ConceptDraw Project, a bargain when compared to Microsoft’s behemoth.
Also a favorite is the multi-platform FastTrack Schedule, priced for smaller organizations and much larger companies, too.
What they have in common is rather straightforward—they’re good tools for managing complex plans and projects.
A few are expensive and most are very complex in and of themselves.
That brings me to the Golden Age of Mac applications.
OmniPlan is a project management application from OmniGroup (the same folks who develop OmniWeb, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, et al). They know something about Mac users and Mac-like software.
Creating logical, manageable project plans is a challenge, even with expensive and mature applications, Mac or Windows.
OmniPlan seeks to bring Mac simplicity and elegance to an ever complex world of projects.
At the basic level, Mac users will be able to set up project plans, schedules, tasks, milestones, and generate critical paths and Gantt charts without knowing much about any of it.
A friendly interface is a requirement of applications that reduce the complex to something more manageable.
That won’t happen in Microsoft Project. It’s what you get with OmniPlan.
Most projects of substance are made up of task management, resource allocation, and scheduling. Getting that far shouldn’t require a few weeks in a classrom.
It won’t. Timelines in OmniPlan are laid out in tru Mac fashion, left to right calendar with durations, stops, starts, dependencies, and more—all in a drag and drop environment.
OmniPlan is not a simple task manager of which there are many available for Mac OS X. OmniPlan is a planning application, a project management tool.
It’s so good that you can’t even buy OmniPlan, but you can download it and try it out for free.
Why? Truly great Mac applications are not just hatched or born. They’re developed by true developers who know Mac users, Mac user needs, and how to product a solution that works for Mac users.
OmniPlan remains a very capable beta application that compares favorably with similar tools that cost more, cost much more, or require you to refinance the house.
Mac360 staffers have been using OmniPlan for many weeks and we’re growing both impressed and impatient. As avid users of OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner (not to mention OmniWeb, the Mac browser), we look forward to a full release.
In the meantime, if project planning and task tracking is a problem for you, your ogranization, or your business, we urge you to try OmniPlan, even at this stage of development.
If you’re not experience at project planning, read the mini-manual. If you have experience with project planning software, jump in and you’ll find out why we’re impressed.
As always, feedback is appreciated.