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Which PM software to learn?
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Hello everyone. I am very new to project management, as a matter of fact am a student member of PMI. Along with my online course for PMP cert I would also like to take a course on a good Project Management Software, can anyone recommend one?

Thank you very much for your kind advice.
Ronnie.
Houston, TX
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For most of us, Microsoft Project is a suitable entry-level project management package to learn. One of the least costly ways to learn this tool is to acquire one of the many books about Project that includes a trial version with it. One such book is IT Project Management: On Track from Start to Finish by Joseph Phillips. If you need an even more hands-on approach or prefer a non-IT related introduction, consider Microsoft Office Project 2003 Step by Step by Chatfield and Johnson.

If you're entering the engineering or construction field, you might encounter Primavera P3 project management software. In that case, SURETRAK, is the entry level version of P3. There's one book on Suretrak out there -- Planning Using Primavera SureTrak Project Manager by Paul Harris (but there's no free-trial software; you'll have to download that separately from Primavera's web site).
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Try to immerse yourself in as many project mangement scenarios as you can- that will be a great motivator to further your grasp in this discipline. Personally, Rita Mulcahy's book on project management/PMP preparation has helped me to understand some areas I wasn't exposed to previously.
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I you have access to MS project, that would be a good start.
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MS Project can be quite daunting for the beginner. You can also try GanttProject to start with. Its free and has a smaller footprint than MS Project. Once you get the hang of it, you can go for MS Project, which can be quite daunting for the beginner.
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I currently use MS Project, but I only need about 10% of what it offers and it's hugely bloated.
I would be interested in what's out there in terms of OS project management software. Will give GanttProject a try.
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Hi Ronnie,

Great post and replies. I would only add the following. First, if you are new to project management, then you might not meet the requirements for the PMP. This will not preclude training providers from selling you a seat at a class, online or otherwise. If you haven't done so already, I would recommend having a look at the PMI requirements for the PMP certification. Second, you can't go wrong learning Microsoft Project. It is the de facto standard project management tool. And third, a great book that belongs in any project manager's business library is Dynamic Scheduling with Microsoft Project by Eric Uyttewaal. It is a great learning aid and handy reference.

Good luck! ~ Mark

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There's now a great open source alternative to Microsoft (MS) Project. Besides being free, it is also compatible with .MPP (MS Project) files and runs on multiple platforms (Windows, Apple OSX and Linux).

You won't shorten the learning curve much with OpenProj, as it has similar functionality to MS Project, but at least you won't be paying for all of those unused features.

However, I should caution that it's my experience that many of the often ignored features in MS Project are those which can actually help you the most. Here's two examples to consider:

First, it';s about taking your project plan to the next level, with tools such as resource leveling, critical path analyis or using PERT vs CPM task estimates.

Second, it's about the ability to use the project plan as a control tool, using tools such as time entry and earned value analysis, throughout the life of the project. Unfortunately, it's been my experience/observation that too many users of MS Project use it to merely create, and not to actively manage the plan (and hence the project) throughout the project's life.

You can find OPENPROJ at: http://openproj.org/openproj

Enjoy!


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Hi again Ronnie,

I quite agree with Robert. OpenProj by Projity is an open source alternative to MS Project. Of course, the price of free may still be more costly to you than a $600 copy of Microsoft Project when you consider that as a de facto standard Microsoft Project comes with thousands of people, no doubt colleagues of yours, that already know MS Project and can provide coaching to you. And, books like Dynamic Scheduling with MS project are readily available to help you quickly and effectively learn and use MS Project without undue difficulties and frustration. And, with a few clicks, you can find unlimited help, resources, tips, and techniques on the internet for MS Project. And, in most organizations, if you are a project manager you will be expected to know MS Project. As a student, however, it is well worth your time to have a look at free open source alternatives. To hear more about OpenProj, have a quick listen to Episode 111 of The PMO Podcast that features an interview with Marc O'Brien, the CEO of Projity. Marc talks about OpenProj and how it fits in the open source ecosystem.

Good luck. ~ Mark

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In comparison with the experienced people here, I graduated in 2003 and now have been in Project Management for 4 years so I'm relatively new to Project management.

In the past, I would have thought that MS Project would be the way to learn only because it was most popular. However, just prior to getting my PMP. I got hired by Emerald Associates which consulted on Primavera P6. So I learnt Primavera P6 as well and it helped me pass my PMP exam.

I found that Primavera P6 is structured closer to PMI's PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) for me anyways.

I would recommend Primavera P6, if you can get access to it .

just my thoughts.

Benit
www.emerald-associates.com
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Primavera is a widely used project management package in the construction field. However, it is a relatively costly product if you are not working in a company that is already using it. There is a lower cost, single user version of Primavera, called SureTrak, which will provide the new user a good idea of what Primavera is all about.

Another option is to check with Oracle/Primavera on availability of a no-cost, limited time evaluation product, which might be good enough for self-education purposes.
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