ProjectLibreCredit: Javrsmith

ProjectLibre is the free open source project tracking application which has evolved from OpenProj. This tool is available for anyone to use for any purpose. The capabilities rival those found in commercial products which often cost hundreds of dollars. ProjectLibre is a great general use tool that can improve the ability of anyone to deliver better quality projects. Do you want to track all tasks, deliverables, milestones and other components of a serious project plan? ProjectLibre can help. Do you want to store relevant information as a project is executed? ProjectLibre is the tool. By using this application, anyone can improve their work, save money and gain valuable skills.

Project Planning
It is an unfortunate fact that many projects are poorly executed. Cost overruns are common. Deadlines are often missed. Tragically, many projects are canceled, despite the expenditure of significant money. The root of many project problems lies in poor planning. Small projects are often little planned, maybe only with a simple task list crafted in a spreadsheet tool. Larger projects may have commercial tools available but perhaps not all team members have the expensive software available. ProjectLibre provides a free solution for small projects. The application is open source and may be used by anyone for both commercial or personal projects. This allows anyone to start tracking projects regardless of the project size. By planning even the smallest activities with ProjectLibre, execution will often work better. Tasks can be fully defined. Schedules can be tracked. Work assignment to team members can be examined. Using ProjectLibre to create project plans is beneficial.

ProjectLibre User Guide Reference Manual
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This publication is the comprehensive reference guide to ProjectLibre. It contains actual screen shots of the application is use with annotations and text descriptions.

Using ProjectLibre as a Project Viewer

ProjectLibre is able to open project files created by the large commercial task tracking applications. By using the free tool, some agencies can provide the ability for more team members to practice better project tracking. Some agencies start by defining representative projects within their commercial application. Perhaps they have examples of projects that have been successful. These are used by staff with the ProjectLibre application. Costs are greatly reduced compared to having a commercial project tracking application loaded on each desktop.

Using ProjectLibre For Project Documentation
Many projects are poorly documented. This causes valuable information to be lost by organizations. It happens quite innocently. Perhaps a project is underway and a team member runs into a major problem. The project manager is advised and mitigating options are examined. The project plan is modified to quickly add a new task to deal with the problem. Perhaps a new tool is purchased, a contracted resource is hired, or the team has to devote extra time to resolve the issue. At the end of the project, the organization is keen to have staff assigned to new projects. Without proper documentation of the issues encountered, the knowledge gained can be lost. The staff moves on without providing adequate explanation of their problem solving actions. Later, a new similar project is started. Without the knowledge of the previous issues, this project may run into the same problem despite having a good project plan. ProjectLibre can help this situation by ensuring that everyone involved in the project has the ability to document their tasks and store those lessons learned.

Using ProjectLibre For Status Reports

ProjectLibre has various reports that can be useful when organizations need status updates. The task list is often quite helpful in meetings. It can show management what the actual tasks are in a project. Since these can be shown as high level tasks, the list can often be presented as an overview. The Gantt chart calendar view is also helpful during status meetings. This report shows how the project is tracking against the schedule in the project plan. With up to date additions of task completion information, the Gantt chart graphically shows progress. When ProjectLibre is fully used, with staff salary and other resource costs, the tool will produce budget reports that are excellent for status reports. The key is to be thorough in using the tool. All resources must be entered with accurate costs. Each day, (or at least weekly), the tasks have to be updated with the percent completion metric. This ensures that the budget reports are as accurate as possible.

Using ProjectLibre For Load Balancing
When projects are planned, it is natural to start assigning many tasks to the best team members. These are the most productive workers and most project managers want to have the benefit of productivity. Unfortunately, it can be possible to overwhelm team members by assigning too much work. ProjectLibre provides the resource usage report which clearly shows when staff have been given too many tasks. The report shows how many tasks per staff member, allowing the project manager to recognize when some people are too busy. Similarly, ProjectLibre shows when other team members might not have enough work to do. Having idle workers is costly. ProjectLibre then allows project managers to balance the work load by adding tasks to the less busy workers. This will easily alleviate the overloaded worker problem.

Using ProjectLibre For Critical Path Analysis
The critical path is the longest amount of time that a project will take to complete all of the required tasks. When parallel tasks are defined in the project plan, ProjectLibre allows the project manager to easily see which tasks have the most impact on the overall planned schedule. This allows managerial actions that can shorten long running tasks on the critical path. Perhaps additional resources can be assigned to certain tasks. Perhaps other tasks can be executed in parallel. ProjectLibre always shows an updated view of the critical path in red. This allows instant validation of actions that can have dramatic impacts on the project's planned schedule.

ProjectLibre is Open Source Software

ProjectLibre is freely available for any purpose, commercial or otherwise. The tool has evolved from the OpenProj application as it was built from the same core source code. Released as an open source tool, anyone is able to download either the application or the component code. Those with more technical abilities may even modify the code and provide changes to the entire user community.