Summary Planner is an open source project management application developed solely for the Linux operating system. Unlike many other groupware programs, it is developed by a community of contributors working on it as a passion project. Despite the fact that it is completely free and was written a small group of collaborators, it compares favorably with much bigger name programs like Microsoft Project 2010.
Planner is developed solely for Linux operating systems. However, unlike many other Linux oriented groupware solutions, it does not use an HTML interface, instead using the GNOME desktop environment for Linux to power it. This essentially means remote login and telecommuting is impossible with it, as it must be installed locally on every computer wishing to run it. Furthermore, that computer must also be running Linux as an operating system. Planner does not support mobile devices, such as cell phones or PDAs.
Who Its Designed For
This is primarily for Linux enthusiasts on a budget, as there are much better groupware options available for business applications. That being said, Planner is a great option for non-profit projects, as it does a lot of things that a much more expensive groupware program would do, albeit with a much clunkier interface. Additionally, it can also be useful to first-time project managers. Unique Features
Easy to use interface - One of Planner's biggest weaknesses is also one of its biggest strengths: since it has very few features, it is actually fairly simple to learn. Take the fact that it's free into account as well, and it's quickly apparent that Planner can be an incredibly effective way for newcomers to learn the basics of project management software. While it's easy to become overwhelmed in the sea of information that other programs offer, Planner's simplicity makes it a great introduction for project managers just starting out their career.
Gantt chart support - Quickly break data down into a timeline view, showing crucial deadlines and project phases. Gantt charts are a commonly used chart format among groupware applications, and are used to represent project deadlines in a graphical format. While Planner's Gantt chart support is fairly limited compared to that of other programs, it
Resource usage - This module lets the project manager quickly reference individual team member performance against different project phases and deadlines. This screen will tell project manager which team members are performing their tasks on time, how efficiently they are doing them, and how often they are doing them.
Task view - This screen allows the project manager to set specific goals for each project, as well as a list of people who will be working on each project. After this, it then becomes possible to assign team members to specific tasks. Various parameters can also be set, such as day the task was started, when it should be completed by, and estimated cost.
Constantly being updated - Because it has a core group of passionate volunteers working on its development, any bugs in the program are identified and fixed almost immediately, and new features are constantly being added.