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M2: Analysis of Comparable Project Planning/Management Offerings

M2 Section Summary: Product/Service Profile

Copyright (c) 2000 Jim Salmons and Frank Castellucci
All Rights Reserved

Associated project: Specification Writing for Web-based Project Planning Software

Project URL: http://sohodojo.com/techsig/project-planning-project.html

sXc Project detail: http://sourcexchange.com/ProjectDetail?projectID=24 (SourceXchange is out of business.)

Project coordination: Sohodojo

Sponsors: Position open

Sponsors (M1-3): Opendesk.com and Collab.Net

Core Team: Jim Salmons and Frank Castellucci

1 Introduction

This document aggregates the feature and underlying model analyses of comparable products and services in the domain of the project specification requirements. During the comparables analysis phase, nine product and service offerings were examined.

1.1 Format and Key to Abbreviations

Each of fourteen sections of the Comparables Analysis Data Capture Outline has a Section Summary file such as this one. Section 1 of each data collection form is an Introduction statement explaining the project and the assessment. Section 16 is a reviewer profile. Since all data was produced by the core project team members, section 16 does not have a summary section.

In a Section Summary file, we aggregate the analysis data within each subsection of the raw data collection forms. Each data point from the raw assessment outlines is presented in the following alphabetical order and prefixed with the following identifying abbreviations:

Note: The HTML versions of the deliverable use bullet lists with more readable prefix identifiers than the two-character source identifier used in the text versions.

The aggregated section data in each Section Summary file is the last section of the file. In addition to the aggregated data, each summary file has an optional section for the capture of summary insights or comments.

1.2 Section Summary Insights and/or Comments


2 Product/Service Profile

2.1 Name of offering

2.2 Publisher/Author/Service-provider

  • Enact Enterprise System [ Full data ]

    320 First Street
    San Francisco, CA
    94105 U.S.A.

    Netmosphere, the original developer of the Enact, was recently acquired by CriticalPath.

  • eProject Express [ Full data ]

    eProject.com, Inc.
    2030 First Avenue
    Suite 100
    Seattle, WA 98121

  • FastTrack Schedule [ Full data ]

    AEC Software, Inc.
    22611-113 Markey Court
    Sterling, VA 20166
    (703) 450-1980

  • ManagePro [ Full data ]

    Performance Solutions Technology, LLC.
    1198 Pacific Coast Hwy, D515
    Seal Beach, CA. 90740
    (562)430-7096 Ext. 0
    Fax: 800/645-6618
    Email mpro@managepro.net

  • Microsoft Project 2000 and Project Central [ Full data ]

    Microsoft Corporation

  • Opendesk.com [ Full data ]


  • SourceForge [ Full data ]

    VA Linux

  • WebProject [ Full data ]


  • X-Community [ Full data ]

    X-Collaboration Software Corporation
    186 Lincoln Street, Suite 800
    Boston, MA 02111

2.3 URL for more information

2.4 Type - one or more of local client, client/server, web service, etc.

  • Enact Enterprise System [ Full data ]

    The Enact Enterprise System includes a highly-scalable application server and three core client components: ActionView, ActionPlan and ActionTask.

    The client's browser must be Java-capable. Alternatively, users can run a Java-based desktop application to access the Collaboration Server.

  • eProject Express [ Full data ]

    Web-hosted, server-based with browser-based client

  • FastTrack Schedule [ Full data ]

    Hybrid rooted in client application heritage. Runs at various 'scale points'; single-user, networked multi-user and 'Internetworked' (via TCP/IP and related protocols support)

  • ManagePro [ Full data ]

    Licensed and used as a local client, it is known as the Solo Edition. Network licensing is available for multi-user configurations which are known as the Teamware Edition. The executable codebase appears to be the same for the Solo and Teamware editions. Multi-user features are unlocked based on a license entry basis.

    Both the Solo and Teamware editions have an excellent 'mobile computing' feature which allows ManagePro databases to be 'spawned' and used remotely, then resynchronized with the 'master' database. Team-based communication facilitates database resynchronization conflict identification and resolution.

  • Microsoft Project 2000 and Project Central [ Full data ]

    Three (3) tier thin client with central server for organization intranet.

  • Opendesk.com [ Full data ]

    OpenDesk is a web service application with client access through standard browsers. All layout and processing is server side using perl script applications.

  • SourceForge [ Full data ]

    SourceForge is a web-service which provides free hosting for open source software (OSS) project management.

  • WebProject [ Full data ]

    WebProject is a Three-Tiered (server, application server, client), multiuser, multi-project application written completely in Java. There are no plug-in requirements or other local configurations other than a Java VM and Java enabled browsers.

  • X-Community [ Full data ]

    A hosted web service.

    Basic services are browser-based, however tight integration with Microsoft Office (and apparently Lotus and an increasing range of Windows-based 'document creation' applications). Advanced project planning and management is provided through a partnership with and use of a MS Project browser plug-in.

2.5 Pricing/Availability

  • Enact Enterprise System [ Full data ]

    Prior to its acquisition by CriticalPath, Netmosphere had an 'attractive enterprise pricing' plan that had 5-user licenses in the $2500 USD range with required $600-800 maintenance/support plans. This was for the version before the current 'Enact' branded release.

    Current pricing is available by request based on a quote profile which form at http://www.netmosphere.com/products/purchasing.htm.

  • eProject Express [ Full data ]

    Express service is free.

    eProject offers ancillary services (like CD-ROM project archiving) at its service hosting website. A wide range of advanced, wireless, enterprise hosted and enterprise in-house services are scheduled for Fall 2000 introduction.

    A significant upgrade to the Express service is expected to roll out concurrently with the Fall introduction of eProject.com's advanced services. It appears that the Express level service will continue to be offered as a free service even after the upgrade.

  • FastTrack Schedule [ Full data ]

    Single user license - $199 USD
    5-pack network version - $1,165 USD
    10-pack network version - $2,210 USD
    25-pack network version - $5,225 USD

    Version 6.04 was the latest version currently available for both the Windows and Macintosh versions.

    A companion product, FastTrack Schedule for the Palm OS is available for $99/user USD.

  • ManagePro [ Full data ]

    ManagePro was an initial offering of a company named Avantos. It matured through single and multi-user versions to about level 3.2. When Avantos went out of business, ManagePro was in limbo for a while. Fortunately, the Seal Beach-based company, Performance Solutions Technology (PST), acquired the rights to this innovative product. PST next re-released the 3.2 versions. The 4.0 major point release is a strong indication of PST's commitment to further support and development of this product line.

    A Solo edition license is $250 ($225 for electronic delivery only)

    PST has just restructured its pricing of the Teamware edition. The Teamware version is sold in the U.S. and Canada in a 'software plus web-based mentored training' bundle. Current offerings include:

    ManagePro Teamware Direct Report Package - $695 per user
    (shared coaching)
    ManagePro Teamware Executive/Manager Package - $995 per user
    (shared coaching).
    ManagePro Teamware Executive/Manager Package - $1,495 per user
    (individual coaching)

  • Microsoft Project 2000 and Project Central [ Full data ]

    See web site for single/volume licenses

  • Opendesk.com [ Full data ]

    Free opt-in web service

  • SourceForge [ Full data ]

    Free hosting for Open Source Software (OSS) projects. The SourceForge source code is itself OSS complient and available for download and personalization.

  • WebProject [ Full data ]

    A price/license schedule has been requested, but as yet I have not heard back from Novient.

  • X-Community [ Full data ]

    The X-Community offering is has two 'entry-points'; Individual membership which is free and Business Centers which are essentially subscription-based hosting packages based on numbers of users and storage requirements.

    Individual Membership: Each user has a sharable personal web drive with 25 Megs of disk space and access to any X-Community Business Center. Individual Memberships are free. Additional DB space is $0.50/Meg per month.

    X-Community Business Centers: Companies and organizations pay for X-Community Business Centers on a usage basis. Pricing is based on the number of users who can access the Center and the storage space.

    X-Community Business Centers are priced as follows:

    • Users/ Center Price/ Month/Center Price/Year/Center Storage included
    • Up to 10 $100.00 $1,080.00 100 MB
    • Up to 25 $250.00 $2,700.00 250 MB
    • Up to 50 $500.00 $5,400.00 500 MB
    • Up to 75 $750.00 $8,100.00 750 MB
    • Up to 100 $1,000.00 $10,800.00 1 Gig

    Additional Storage: $0.50/MB/Month or $5.40/MB/Year

    Teams greater than 100 users are priced on a quote basis.

2.6 Assessment based on hands-on experience or info-only?

  • Enact Enterprise System [ Full data ]

    The reviewer has used the original ActionPlan and ProjectHomePage offerings (predecessors subsumed into the Enact system). This prior experience was supplemented by installing and exercising the current Enact 4.0 version.

  • eProject Express [ Full data ]

    The Express service is free. The reviewer created a new user account and exercised the system to confirm and supplement the on-site information supplied on the eProject website.

  • FastTrack Schedule [ Full data ]

    The demo version of FastTrack Schedule is fully functional with the exception of file saving. This impacts exercising some features, such as importing and exporting, but basically the demo experience is comparable to full product access.

    The AEC web site is very information rich and serves as an excellent resource for product users, evaluators and press. The reviewer reviewed Evaluator Guides, on-line Shockwave automated lessons, example files, FAQs, etc. during the assessment.

  • ManagePro [ Full data ]

    The reviewer was a long-time ManagePro user 'in a former life' using both the solo and network edition through the final Avantos 3.2 version. This assessment is based on a 21-day evaluation installation of the Solo Edition of the 4.0 product.

  • Microsoft Project 2000 and Project Central [ Full data ]

    The author has working experience with the Microsoft Project, the Project Central information, however, was extracted from a number of documents provided on the Microsoft web-site.

  • Opendesk.com [ Full data ]

    Hands on in User, and Administrator role. Did not participate in the setup and configuration of an OpenDesk server.

  • SourceForge [ Full data ]

    Hands on, I am the project originator for two open source projects and belong to one other that seems to have died on the vine (the originator has fallen off the face of the earth).

  • WebProject [ Full data ]

    Hands on in User, Team Member, Leader, and Administrator role. Did not participate in the setup and configuration of a WebProject server as for the test trial a system is pre-configure and hosted by the provider.

  • X-Community [ Full data ]

    The reviewer created an Individual membership and 30 trial of the Business Center features. The 'generic' X-Community plug-in was loaded. The more advanced MS-Office and MS-Project were not assessed during this initial assessment.

2.7 Reviewer comments

  • Enact Enterprise System [ Full data ]


  • eProject Express [ Full data ]

    The eProject website is very 'back to basics' clean and simple. The 'first impression' is very good. The new account sign up procedure is quick and simple. No hitches. No too personal stuff. I didn't get the feeling that they were 'setting you up for the ponce' of a later sales job.

  • FastTrack Schedule [ Full data ]


  • ManagePro [ Full data ]

    It is great to see this landmark, innovative product not only back on the market, but evolving with a new release.

    I understand the rationale of PST's 'niche positioning' of its network version by bundling it with a web-based mentoring/training experience. Unfortunately, its network functionality is LAN-based. This makes it appropriate for many users in one location. (The Multi-link feature allows data migration between disparate ManagePro databases which allows it to be effectively used in 'loosely connected', multi-location network configurations.) But without support for Internet communication protocols, the multi-user version is of limited use to teams of distributed users, such as a web-based Open Source development team, for example.

  • Microsoft Project 2000 and Project Central [ Full data ]

    The impetus for Project 24, as I understand it, was "for creating a web-based, open source, collaborative, project planning system like Microsoft Project". It would seem reasonable that most people understand what MS Project is and does. The remainder of this document will focus on the Project Central features that enable a web based collaborative/shared MS Project effort in an organization.

  • Opendesk.com [ Full data ]

    As a closed source system, OpenDesk can't be considered as a starting code base for open source initiatives.

    It should be noted, however, that the Opendesk service offering makes extensive use of the Open Source SmartWorker framework, a Perl-based Open Source offering.

  • SourceForge [ Full data ]

    Its free, it works, and it can use work. Should be considered for a quick implementation alternative to get a presence going. In the long run, the lack of an object layer and the fact that this project is being driven towards higher level functionality, render the SourceForge current code base untenable.

  • WebProject [ Full data ]

    As a closed source system, WebProject can't be considered as a starting code base for open source initiatives.

  • X-Community [ Full data ]

    From what I have seen so far, this Application Service Provider (ASP) is 'setting the bar' in terms of currently deployed web-based teaming. This initial assessment will concentrate on the basic features. We'll have to consider a second-look to assess the advanced features which use MS-Office and MS Project integration.


Version 0.9 - Draft
Version 1.0 - Final

### end of sxc24-m2-02sect-comparables.txt (Version 1.0) ###

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