Alternative for MSProject


In all my years as a project manager I always faced the same problems when setting up a project plan. The problem was not the plan itself but the tooling to create the plan. Project after project I started with the personal goal to master MSProject and plan and report the whole project status based upon the one MSProject sheet. After the first plan was created all went fine till the first changes appeared. Extra work that influenced the planning was approved and the tool problems began. Due to complex settings and advanced intelligence every change was followed by a lot of automated actions that messed up the whole plan. After a few weeks I returned to managing my project the old-fashioned way in Excel spreadsheets.

Recently I tried a planning tool called OpenWorkbench. Open Workbench is the open source alternative for MSProject. And ss the manual states:
“Many people grumble about the amount of time spent managing a project schedule via Microsoft Project, well, WorkBench is no different, apart from the fact that we no longer have to pay Microsoft for the privilege.”

My experiences with OpenWorkbench are positive. It is easy to use and the default settings are logical. It does not mess up your planning unexpectedly (it is capable in messing up the planning but you have to try harder Smiley). Open Workbench limits the possibilities when creating a project and forces you (the project manager) to create a structured plan based on Phases, Milestones, Activities and Tasks.  For fast planning in straightforward projects the functionality of OpenWorkbench is more than enough.

In both tools common (planning) knowledge is required to realize and control a project planning. And remember. In excel everything works. Even the worst plan ever…..

See :
Idiots Guide to OpenWorkBench.pdf –>


About Author

Robbrecht van Amerongen is Business Innovation Manager at AMIS Services. He has a vast experience in managing software development and delivery projects and growing the development unit of AMIS. He is able to utilize new technologies and methodologies to valuable products and services for his customers. His expertise lies in all aspects of software engineering; ranging from continuous delivery, provisioning, cloud computing, user experience and wearables. Robbrecht is also an Agile coach and Certified Agile Master. He has experience in managing Agile projects with Scrum (first with DSDM) ranging back to 1999. Robbrecht is a strong proponent of the agile principles. Robbrecht is agile examiner for the agile foundation, practitioner and master certificate.

1 Comment

  1. Hello,

    over my point of view there is a very interesting tool to replace MSProject. I recomend Ganttproject. GanttProject is a free java tool with a very clear interface just to cover the project plannig. You can create a GanttProject and export to a enormous different types of documents, from pdf to web style. It’s easy and give us just what we expect from a Project Management tool.