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OpenProj First Look


Projity is introducing a new free MS Project compatible scheduling program which they bill as "a complete open source desktop replacement of Microsoft Project". I have tried the beta briefly (https://www.projity.com/openproj/) and I like what I see. While it looks very much like a clone of MS Project, it strips down some of the complexity from the interface and makes some common tasks easier (viewing a stacked resource graph for example). It opened my MS existing MS Project 2003 .xml files with no visible problems - though even MS Project has some quirks in handling .xml files, so it will pay to double check this before using for a real schedule.

I think this is the first MS Project viewer which will really make inroads against MS Project. This is true for a number of reasons:

  • It is free
  • Look and feel similar to Project (maybe too similar... but let the lawyers decide)
  • File compatibility
  • Ability to edit and create schedules
  • Cross-platform compatibility (Mac users will rejoice after being denied the latest versions of Microsoft Project)

The developers of OpenProj appear to have come from Scitor (now Sciforma) which was known for their "Project Scheduler" software, the latest version of which is PS8. PS was always an also-ran in comparison to project because of Microsoft's millions of installed versions of Office and associated enterprise licensing. By focusing on compatibility and on Linux/Mac and by providing the software for free, Projity may have a better chance of initiating cracks in the marketplace. The ultimate goal for them must be in project hosting or selling enterprise-level features (multi-project support etc.).

On the other hand, I think that desktop scheduling products are fairly dormant. Microsoft has been moving away from them by adding things like server-side scheduling and the ability to create and maintain projects through Project Web Access. Meanwhile, new features on the desktop are very slow in coming.

The next battleground will be online scheduling and by providing a full featured client for free, Projity is signalling their readiness to fight. It should be interesting to see how things go. Competition in this space will drive Microsoft harder and that should be good for everyone.

I'll try and get to a more in depth review when I have a chance.

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  • Making the move from VBA to VSTO in Microsoft Project
  • Analyze Microsoft Project Resource Usage Data In Excel
  • Views and Tables in Microsoft Project

  • Comments (5)

    djouallah mimoune:

    thanks for the review, but you looks like forgetting primavera, you speak like all the market is dominated by ms project.

    i posted your review in planningplanet.com, i hope you don't mind

    friendly mimoune

    I didn't forget Primavera,. I just dismissed it as not relevant. Primavera is not free. The market IS dominated by MS Project which has >90% market share for scheduling software. P3 is dominant in some industries, but it is clear that OpenProj is not targeted at Priimavera. One look at it and you know it is trying to knock off or at least offer similarity and compatibility with Microsoft Project. -Jack

    Did a very quick review and they have definitely improved on MSP when it comes to effort driven tasks. However, one minor quirk. That is that it attempts to back-calculate the hours when the resource hour allocation is changed. If this was fixed, it would definitely have a shot in my book.


    Thanks for the info.

    The last version from Sciforma is PSnext, a full web version which competes against Microsoft EPM solution. The big Pros for PSNEXT is its ease of installation and implementation.


    And you are forgetting Open WorkBench as well, which is I guess currently the leader in the open source project management space.

    But ability to open Primavera files is definitely a bonus.

    Obieg dokumentów:

    IMHO Microsoft has to do something with MS PRoject in order to distinguish itself from open source. It worked with Word 2007 and Excel 2007 and I've heard that next MS Project will be more 'Excelish' in order to differentiate from open source products and gain attention from long time Excel users.

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