Milestones :URL: http://www.kidasa.net/kidasa-products.html
Not that I am a masochist or anything, but it is difficult to get an entirely accurate picture by reviewing a single software, even if other software is reviewed by equally discerning cohorts for a couple of reasons. The first is that I might be a person really into wizards, tutorials, and videos and someone else would prefer a very simple, quick, and dirty interface. Another issue is that what I may consider user-friendly may not be considered such by someone else. However, with that disclaimer stated, I did check out the Milestones Project Management software.
First and foremost there are actually two versions of the software, a “Professional” version that sells for $279-$299 and a “Simplicity” version that sells for $99-$104. I appreciated that the company offered this type of flexibility, which is akin to Microsoft’s breaking out of different versions into student, premium, and professional. This is helpful for those who want to keep it simple versus those who really like having all the bells and whistles.
Personally, I am a bells and whistles girl. I am also a very easy sell when it comes to most software, once I have done my due diligence. Typically, I would review all of the software on the list, read reviews, check out the tutorials, key features, etc., and then pick the one with the best reviews and had the most bells and whistles in my price range.
WHAT ARE THE KEY FEATURES THAT THIS SOFTWARE OFFERS THAT WOULD MAKE THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESS EASIER?
The Milestones software offers the complete laundry list of must-haves according to our resources (Portny et al., 2008) and then some. It qualifies as an “integrated project-management software” as it combines “database, spreadsheet, graphics, and word-processing capabilities” (Portny et al., 2008, p. 49) either directly within the software or are easily linked and/or added-in to other combination software such as PowerPoint or Word.
What was really great about the software was some of the numerous examples provided demonstrating various uses in different contexts. For example, there was an example of a student’s course schedule and another example of a teacher’s lesson plans for a semester. If I go back to teaching either at the secondary level or at university level, I will definitely check out this software for some of the planning elements. Of course, if I win the lottery, I would buy it just to plan my multitudes of projects that are always coming up: garage sales, scrapbooking days, DJ events for my husband, fundraisers, etc. I guess I really liked the program.
WHAT BENEFITS WOULD THIS SOFTWARE TOOL PROVIDE TO A PROJECT MANAGER?
In addition to all the basic requirements for any useful project management software, Milestones provides a plethora of templates and/or ready-made formats including earned value, resource, summary, milestone, and Gantt. It is also customizable, and flexible enough to manage larger and/or longer term projects. It also offers an automation interface combining data from related linked sources.
This all sounds great for the seasoned Project Manager, but what about the novice? In that case, this is still a truly great software choice. At first I have to admit the initial interface was a little intimidating; however, it has a step-by-step wizard to walk you through your entire project. Even more impressive was the help and support screens. Yes, screens. When I clicked help there were over 14 different categories of help to choose from including, but not limited to, help topics, automation help, tutorials, videos, online help, submit a question, manuals, and samples. Quick tips, latest news, and a link to the MAIN SUPPORT PAGE. Dang, I thought I was on the main support page. Wow, this company really wants you to be able to utilize their program.
WHAT DRAWBACKS TO USING THIS SOFTWARE CAN YOU IDENTIFY?
It is difficult to get a real sense of difficulties of using software while only trying it out for a couple of days. This particular software has a very short trial window and it must be downloaded onto your computer. For my course project I used SmartSheet for the majority of the charts and schedules, supplemented with Word, pdf, and Excel. The advantage to SmartSheet was a 30 day trial period and your data is kept online, allowing access from anywhere at any time. This means a lot to me as I work on my school projects at home, at work, and anywhere in between with my laptop or iPad. I need ready access. The Milestones software did not offer this capability. You can share the data via easy export and pdf, but that is not the same as having the data online and/or taking up a chunk of your computer space with another heavy duty software.
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.