Project Management and Mindmapping Tools for Startups and Entrepreneurs !

Eversince I started this blog back in February 2006, all my blogposts are peppered with topics, discussions that are focused primarily on my passion for technology, social media , stocks …that is what i dont do between 9 – 5 pm. Since 2009 i had the opportunity to interact with Project managers from larger organizations and get to understand what is being practiced by them . Inspite of so many vibrant PM tools available in the market at negligible or Zero costs, larger organizations still rely on time old tools like XL sheets and default project management tools like Ms Project , Primavera. This post is addressed to some of my friends who are Project Managers and from the same domain.

For those PM practitioners who have been very familiar to MS Project and Excel Sheets for their Project Management needs, Projity serves as an excellent alternative open source product. Fuente Systems Inc was involved with Projity and their then CEO, Marc O Brian back in 2006 during the ideation stages of Projity for offshore development of the product.  Projity ( renamed as Open Project ) allows for creation of GANTT charts, PERT diagrams, tasks & resource scheduling so on. The commercial version of the software is available on a SaaS model called as POD (Project on Demand) to address geographically distributed teams. However Projity limits its functionality to address conventional project management needs. Projity has now been acquired by Serena Software.

Today organizations are shifting focus towards new techniques like Extreme Programming, Scrum, Crystal, DSDM and FDD, or emerging variants like Lean/Kanban.  MS Project or Open Project fail to address the requirements of user stories, priority list that go alongwith Agile development .  Silver Catalyst is an Agile project management tool that perfectly addresses agile development methologies.  Silver Catalyst is offered from one of my close friends, Sid .Free account / download of  Silver Catalyst Available at their site. For a personalised  corporate presentation on the product and organisation wide participation you can call me.

Similarly today Project Management has become an integral part of Online Collaboration Tools. These tools today address the priorities of team members and project stakeholders by including collaborative design and development , online conferencing, communication, archiving, progress tracking, and real time reporting as part of the solution. There are a few solutions that are available for startups and entrepreneurs on a web based model.

Huddle is one such software that is available on the web for tracking workgroups that are geographically distributed on a subscription based SAAS model.

Open Atrium is an open source Project management tool that combines Apache , Drupal (cms) , php and mysql This has been put to use in ambitious global projects on inclusive development whose showcase is available here  ( http://developmentseed.org/projects ) . It provides versioning and mobile support as well.

ActiveCollab is a collaboration tool for project management that allows for project planning, progress tracking, communication within team members and stakeholders of the project. However these are subscription based web services available at a premium ($ 250 /yr )but include a host of features.

Apart from addressing project management needs of entrepreneurs one of the must have tools is on Mindmapping. These tools help us in the ideation process and to visualise any business idea creatively into simplified tasks/ activity. Mindmapping  allows entrepreneurs bring structure to their thought process.

Freemind is the most prominent Mind mapping program that is available both for Windows as well as Linux platform. Helps in problem solving and decision making process. Vym is the closest resemblance / alternative to Freemind

Similarly for building compelling proposals one requires design tools Ms Visio for building business flow charts, network diagrams, streamline workflow diagrams, and plan resource utilisation. These tools are an absolute must to go with any project manager profile for his day to day requirements. Kivio is an open source alternative that is available for entrepreneurs at zero cost. I would rather prefer MS Visio for reasons that there are extensive stencil sets available for any kind of diagramming that we can do with it. When it comes to Kivio the user group is having limited resource and those stencil sets available are also premium priced.

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