PlanBee Project Management Software Review
I must admit I felt a bit confused when I first started up PlanBee. I had never used a Project Management tool before, and the idea seemed a little intimidating.
I don't have a lot of patience to begin with, so my usual way of doing things is to glance over the instructions, then dive right into it. As it turns out, this worked well with PlanBee.
Considering the complexity of the task, PlanBee was, in general, surprisingly easy to learn. I was able to plan a basic project pretty quickly, but I did have some difficulty figuring out the more complex attributes of the software.
I think this is because PlanBee does not operate quite the way you would expect with Windows. It doesn't pop up a new Window for every little operation. This takes a little getting used to at first. The text is smaller than we are used to with most Windows applications. Rather than popping up new Windows, PlanBee makes extensive use of panels or frames within the main program window.
Once you get used to it, though, PlanBee's setup does have some advantages. For one thing, too many open windows can be rather confusing. Some big commercial applications like Quickbooks handle every data operation in a new window. While many people use Quickbooks to great advantage, I find it a bit cumbersome and slow. When you are forced to enter information into a new window that fills your whole screen before you can proceed, then you are actually forced into a very linear thought process.
I would like to see the next version of PlanBee use new windows a bit more often, but you can see many more parts of the process by its use of the panels under the current design.
The strengths of PlanBee
PlanBee is great because it forces you to look at the bigger picture. This is something I sometimes have a problem doing, and it's absolutely essential for success in business. I am often guilty of jumping into tasks without really thinking about the ultimate plan.
Michael Gerber says, in his famous book, The EMyth Revisited, that most people who start businesses are technicians. They fail to plan, or envision their goals, as an entrepreneur must do. And they fail to manage their goals effectively. PlanBee can definitely help you plan and manage your goals.
When I have an idea for an essential large project now, I start up PlanBee and create a new project, filling in the details as more ideas come to me. Before these project ideas did not have a home on my computer. Sure, I could make a quick note somewhere, but that's kind of like writing something on a bit of scrap paper in your office. Eventually these scraps of paper pile up and get thrown away. PlanBee helps keep my project ideas safe.
PlanBee creates Gantt charts. This is really a very satisfying way to look at a project schedule, with estimated completion dates of overlapping tasks.
John D. Rockefeller is said to have used this basic idea to build Standard Oil: "Everything that is watched improves." How often are we guilty of going about our daily business mindlessly without goals, guides or other progress indicators?
The Great Experiment
As a kind of test, I used PlanBee to set up some projects that I have been stalling on for quite some time. I tried to compare my progress over a one week period to the previous week when I was flying blind.
Of course, the final results of my projects won't be seen for months, but I did notice a definite difference by using PlanBee.
I could refer to the charts, and reexamine my project goals any time I wanted to. I could quickly start up a new plan when I had an idea. This gave me a feeling for whether or not I was getting in over my head with too many projects. PlanBee gave me a feeling of accomplishment, as I did actually perform the work on schedule, and could see progress toward my goals.
How PlanBee Works
It's pretty simple to get started with PlanBee. Just start up a new project, and list your tasks. Use the down arrow to enter a new task. Enter an estimate for the duration of the task. Then choose a precedent for the task, if necessary. This means some other task from your list that must be accomplished before you can start your new task.
Assign resources to your task. This one got me at first. With PlanBee, you have to watch for little buttons and panels that pop up on the screen. But once you get used to it, it's a piece of cake.
You can rearrange your tasks as you plan, and reassigning precedents, duration, criticality or resources is a snap too.
Your projects can be based on either workdays or calendar days. If you use workdays, then PlanBee sets your schedule around weekends or holidays. You can adjust the calendar for your own particular schedule. Personally, I usually work weekends, so I used calendar days. If I have a holiday or vacation, then I simply add it into the project schedule.
I really like the Gannt charts. Some people prefer PERT format, and PlanBee can produce PERT charts too. Other software to produce these kinds of charts costs hundreds of dollars, so PlanBee is definitely a money-saver.
You can resize the charts, copy them to the clipboard or print them out.
As an example of a project I set up using PlanBee, I offer my plan to redesign some websites. Here is a link to the Gannt chart for the work I have planned: my website project
In conclusion, PlanBee is a great alternative to some other costly and cumbersome project management software on the market today. PlanBee performs flawlessly, and PlanBee's purchase price makes it affordable enough to use for small business or even personal use. But PlanBee is also adaptable enough to manage even large corporate projects. Thanks, Guy Software, for creating PlanBee!
The Great Mind Review Team
Great Mind Software