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Twproject: the power of an in-house solution

Complete control. This is the answer to the question that often comes back talking about Twproject: why, being used to online products, why our customers still prefer a software to be installed in-house?

As we said, the answer is simple: you need to have complete control over your data.

Even if there are many simple online project management services, it is a fact that we are dealing with data at the heart of your company’s production activity.

This data is generally more than simple to-do lists and time tacking reports: this data is connected with the whole productive process.

Let’s see a typical project life-cycle:

  • A project can be the result of a commercial activity or customer management (CRM).
  • Projects need to be managed and planned according to company’s productive processes (ERP).
  • Project costs result from resources, investments and external cost, and are overlapped with accounting software data.
  • Over that, many projects require after-sales support (help desk, issue tracking, etc.).

My data, my key to growth

We collects all data from the actual management of the project, and creates a database from which all the other company’s applications retrieve essential data for an organized and healthy company’s growth.

The power of Twproject is its extremely easy to use user interface that will help you adopting the software and collecting consistent project data.

Having this data available and easily accessible with commonly used tools for reporting, monitoring and synchronization will greatly increase benefits. What you accrue is not only what you see from the user interface. This way project data can be used and analyzed with any of your preferred tools.

Control, security, connectivity…

Having an in house project management solution will give you complete control over your data allowing easy integration with your infrastructure, and having Twproject in house will give you far more than that. Being in your network, under your privacy policies, your data will be always safe on your server instead of being hosted on some shared servers somewhere in the world.

It will be possible to integrate it with your LDAP or Active Directory, you can set every strict polices, it is up to your decision.

Control, security, connectivity, this is what you have with a Twproject in house installation.

Hey, but you have also a cloud service!

Although, of course, we also offer cloud-based solutions, our choice is always to have dedicated machines and databases; one for each customer.

This approach gives you the security that your data is not on a shared database  (so for instance you can ask for a backup of your entire database in any moment), and give you restricted and controlled access to your data. Of course we take care that your Twproject will be backed-up, updated and monitored continuously.

Twproject is smart, simple, full featured, easy to use, it has the flexibility of an online service and at the same time gives you complete control over your data. It sounds good right?

tour-it-integration1
 

Introducing Twproject 6: it’s all new!

We are really proud to announce that we have recently released an all new Twproject version and that it costs exactly the same!

You can get Twproject 6 here:

http://www.twproject.com/download.page

In the same page you can get a 15 day free evaluation license. You can try Twproject by downloading it, and you can then either use it from our online service or have it installed on your network.

Twproject’s costs have not changed, you can have it at the same price of the old version 5, for more details about pricing go here:

http://www.twproject.com/licensing.page

get things done

What’s new

When we started building Twproject 6 we’ve examined all users’ feedback on usability and by leveraging the evolving capabilities of browsers we created an interface that is readable, compact and can represent the state of several projects and tasks together.
Twproject 6 features a redesign of the overall user interface. Maintaining all the key features and flexibility now Twproject is more readable and easy to use.

Creating new projects and tasks is now easy and fast, and at the same time there is complete support managing easily projects changing in time.

project statistics

Every screen of Twproject has been redesigned and crafted in order to facilitate information gathering and input, and ease navigation between different sections. Data can be filtered and sorted in a simpler way, and more data is visible on screen. Pages are responsive to different screen sizes, so to optimize user experience in different settings. {issue list}

Twproject known capacity of handling complex projects has been preserved and empowered, for example by allowing Gantt-like functionality in a view spanning several independent projects, supporting portfolio analysis.

project portfolio

Overall everything is changed and nothing has been dropped, the user interface rework also meant adding functionalities and facilitating usage across the application.

Get Twproject 6 here:

http://www.twproject.com/download.page

And more

On top of being a major update with the entire user interface redesigned, we added a host of new features, while preserving the  model of all Twproject versions.

One of the immediately visible ones is the new home page / dashboard composition, with a notification top bar and “red circled button” news entry point.

All editors now have in place editing, which speeds up the creation and editing process and also eases checking related information.

All search / filter results have sortable grid layouts with very compact lines, without compromising readability.

A unique feature of Twproject 6 is that it provides a multi Gantt view that allows view and editing of entire project trees of different projects.

And beyond this there is a lot more: issue notes are now always visible, their editing process is streamlined, project discussions are easier, search speed and functionality improved … the best way to appreciate all this is to give Twproject 6 a try!

For all users of version 5 that purchased after 1st of September 2014, upgrade to version 6 is free. All users of the online services will get a free upgrade on request. For the detailed cost of your upgrade, free licenses and more information do write us here.

Get Twproject 6 here:

http://www.twproject.com/download.page

Upgrading from Twproject 5

The multi-platform installer includes an upgrader from version 5 which updates the web app and your data, but it cannot update Java’s JDK (see FAQ), you must do that by hand or do a new installation; Twproject 5 needs Java JDK version 7. In order to try version 6, the best way is to do a fresh installation. The new installer requires 64 bit operating systems.

 

The never ending Twproject “war” with Microsoft Project

Through our customers and contacts we frequently get reminded about Microsoft Project© enduring existence.

Twproject was in fact first born as the limitation of Microsoft Project (it was 1999 🙂 ) were unsolvable by using the Microsoft Project API available at the time. And the two project management solutions are born to differ in their core philosophy – and they do. Web applications became possible at the time and Twproject development started, around 2002, and Twproject got developed as wed based and around the idea of making information gathering as easy as possible.

Why care about Microsoft Project then? The team that develops Twproject and the set of its customers are often large, even enterprise companies, and we have the experience and sensitivity to typical corporate problems of software and IT integration. In these contexts we are still frequently asked how Twproject and Microsoft Project compare as solutions for corporate customers, e.g.

I actually downloaded it and I am trying it on my localhost. I would love to hear though what advantages Twproject has over Microsoft Project Server. We are in the process of trying to decide. If you have a comparison white sheet I would be grateful.
Some information follows.

Twproject is web based (since 2001)

Twproject around 2002

Being web based then and today meant ubiquity, adaptiveness, flexibility, inclusiveness. This in our opinion is what Microsoft Project always lacked.

Microsoft almost made it (in 2014!) making a web version of Microsoft Project the reference one. Still if you check their user interface it tries to emulate desktop software, using an iconic language alien to the web.

Twproject is cost effective

Let’s consider costs:
is available for $58 per user, per month

Microsoft marketing in the referenced videos stress the simplicity of the price model, probably as an effort to distract from prices. Well Microsoft’s model is actually quite complex, price ranges from $33 to $58 (per user / month!) – and if you want to use the desktop client, prepare to pay $1556 for each client!

That is way more expensive than Twproject, which gives you a full user for less than $5 per month!

twproject-prices

Twproject is not Gantt centered 🙂

gantt-new

jQuery GanttIt is a bit funny to write this, because we released a free, open source amazingly popular JavaScript web based Gantt component :D, which is also part now of Twproject.

Twproject has a Gantt-like editor where we tried to get the advantages of the Gantt user interface model without adopting the unrealistic

(planned time = project effort)

equation which constitutes the core of the Gantt model.

Twproject focuses on real work done

While in the current version planning is fully supported, still the core of Twproject is collecting information about real work done.
So it collects multiple projects, allows temporary dis-alignment of dates and statuses, collects issues, to-dos, worklogs, does all it can to encourage users to insert information in the simplest, fastest possible way. Planning is supported, but Twproject works with and without planned work.

Twproject integrates with different IT structures

it-integration

Microsoft Project depends for everything on Share Point©, so including its collaborative aspects. it is strongly integrated with Microsoft Exchange©.

So you have to get the whole Microsoft package, like it or not, to adopt Microsoft Project. Meh.

Twproject instead is functionally and technologically widely compatible with different solutions and is built to be non-intrusive.
This is true for both the installed and the online version of Twproject.

For example, the installed version runs stand alone in Tomcat (a Java web server), and can run anywhere, supporting easy integration with say LDAP, single-sign on and directory services.

The on-line version comes as a dedicated server instance that comes with its own mail server for a dedicated notification email.

Twproject works fine without Microsoft Exchange©, simple connection with an SMTP and POP3 service gives you full e-mail integration.

Twproject has an “open” approach (even if is not open source, sources are available for our customers). It runs on every operating system and can use any database. It is available both on cloud on or customer premises. It is web based and you can use it with every “modern” browser. Twproject is a wise choice from the IT manager perspective because of its open data and infrastructure features, as IT infrastructure changes over time.

Twproject developers are people, easily reachable on-line

Twproject is built by a small, solid and very efficient company. Its developers are ready to give support on the solution; moreover complete sources are available for free for all customers. Twproject is structured to support customization, custom extensions, reports, wizards, complete custom forms, and export and import with other data sources.

We deployed and maintain many customized parts for our over 3000 customers, all compatible with Twproject main release and hence compatible with updates.

Conclusion

After 15 years, the divergence of the two products is still considerable. In the meantime, the road of the web as a platform for applications has become the main path for collaborative software. And the diversity and richness of IT environments has increased. So we believe there are ever more good reasons to pick a safe, compatible solution as Twproject instead of the closed Microsoft Project universe.

References

http://windowsitpro.com/office-365/microsoft-announces-project-lite-cloud-based-productivity-team-members

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/technet/en-us/office/media/video/video.html?cid=pstc&from=sharepermalink&VideoID=ebe00785-db66-44d6-8ed3-86eafa63c7e4

Twproject is not affiliated in any form with Microsoft. Microsoft Project, Microsoft Exchange Share Point may be Registered Trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

 

Teamwork conceptual evolution leading to version 5

Teamwork 5 UI

Teamwork’s design and user interface has evolved in time, adapting to the evolution of web based tools and user needs and habits. Teamwork 3 and 4 UI

Version 3. In version 3 Teamwork was a solid and standard web application, before web applications were widely used for management.

Version 4. With Version 4 we introduced gamification elements (before they became trendy) and more explicit functions. We added scores, skins, prizes and badges years before gamification became a buzzword.

Version 5. The idea of version 5 has been to get a clean interface, using large, nice web fonts, whitespace and an unbounded bottom of page, assuming that users are used to scrolling. We removed tabs, creating more readable dedicated pages to sections.

We removed the gamification layer and skin customization, in order to get a clean and more controlled design. We shortened click paths with overlay layers. We sped up pages using data denormalization when necessary.

Teamwork 5 workgroupWe identified users with their images, making it easier to “see” who is working where.

In version 5 we have more functions and less buttons. We hope you like it!

Predict the future or improve today

Here is a very short video on predicting the future vs. improving the current situation – which assumes that you know what is happening, who is doing what.

Predict the future or improve today - video

Freakonomics radio

The quoted Freakonomics podcast “The Folly of Prediction” is here.

 

 

Teamwork for work managementTeamwork, with its focus on recording work in very different ways and from different sources is a good tool to know what is happening and lead change.

 

 

 

 

Transcript

Almost a transcript of the video.

Traditional PM tools are based on the attempt to predict the future in detail. This is really hard.

Listen to this great podcast by the Freakonomics economists that studied predictions, “What do Wall Street forecasters and Romanian witches have in common? They usually get away, scot-free, with making bad predictions.”

The increased flexibility of work, people, changing conditions, even more in times of crisis. Being capable of reform, changing ideas in companies can be a great strength.

Base your reform on what is happening every day instead of what could, maybe, maybe not, happen.

Trying a more modest approach of understanding what is happening today, every day, can facilitate reforms.

Teamwork is built around the idea of collecting information, even partial information, of what is happening day by day. The app has great flexibility in handling projects, work logging in the most diverse forms

If you want your ideas of change reform and efficiency – hence also increasing quality of work – knowing what is happening can be a great help.

Used in thousands of medium and large companies to know what is happening – give Teamwork a try.

How do I begin project management?

Project management tools - software

In “Making things happen”, the author (Scott Berkun) states that he assumes that the reader is not stupid, is curious and pragmatic, does not like jargon or big theories, and does not take herself, software, or management too seriously. Well, we do the same in Teamwork.

Still, you may have no or little experience in managing team work. Whatever work you will be doing, you may have some requirements, and some dates. if your company has no notion of project / task / issues, you can start this way: list all the things you are doing in your organization. You could separate internal work / external work. In the list obtained, group dependant activities: each group can be called a project, and the people that should work on it are the assignees.

You may notice that when you are listing “thing that we are doing”, you may also include “things we should be doing”. Notice which of these are stated in the form of concrete actions, like “call X”, or “write Y”, and which are still to be transformed in actions. You should try to transform everything into actions, and get rid of the rest. And still among actions there are simple, brief ones, and others that group many others: you could model the simple ones as issues, and the ones comprising others as tasks (that is, projects which are child of other projects). This is a start of management.

Often we get asked by people evaluating Teamwork:

How do companies really use Teamwork?

In the new user guide you will now find several examples. Here are also some good books where to start learning about personal and project management.

Some reference books:

This book by Berkun is our main reference:

Making Things Happen
Mastering Project Management

By Scott Berkun, publisher  O’Reilly Media, 2008

http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596517717

From a personal productivity perspective:

Getting things done

By David Allen

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Things-Done-Stress-Free-Productivity/dp/0142000280/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273848829&sr=8-1

On the Agile/Scrum theme:

Agile Project Management with Scrum

By Ken Schwaber

http://www.amazon.com/Agile-Project-Management-Microsoft-Professional/dp/073561993X