Cloud4Gantt

Business context

The needs and requirements of today’s business world tend to become more complex than ever. Quality, budget control and time to market goals take on increased significance in any business sector. As a consequence, project management has emerged as a powerful tool for ensuring the success of a company.

Project management software makes team collaboration easier and helps to efficiently manage a wide array of projects. Organizations that tap into the power of project management software are often able to gain a distinct competitive advantage in a highly interconnected world. MindBusiness Germany, a consultancy company specializing in Microsoft SharePoint technologies, was in need to develop a software application used in project management to schedule and track projects. Cloud4Gantt, the planning tool developed together with accesa, helps control and manage resources and tasks.

Project Overview

Cloud4Gantt is a product from a suite of products to be used as planning tools and offered as SharePoint sandbox solutions suitable for usage within Microsoft Office365 Cloud solution and being MSOCAF compliant. Its specific design enables the planning and controlling of resources and schedules in order to easily meet the objectives of a project.

In today’s fast paced environment, managing a business project is not always an easy task. However, keeping track of everything is often the hardest part. Cloud4Gantt can help project plan achieve optimal performance as it provides data for calculating timeframes, as well as monitoring tasks between departments or teams. It can be used as a quick and easy self-service tool for initiating, organizing, communicating and updating project plans. The application is simply inserted as a Web Part to a SharePoint site or page and can be set up via the Web Part Properties toolbox. The Gantt Web Part binds to any custom task lists or default SharePoint project or task lists. It also binds to Calendar lists from SharePoint.

Offering a rich and interactive user interface, the Gantt Chart can be used as a guide towards the direction of the project plan. Users can see whether the project is ahead or behind of the schedule, as it shows how the project is planned. Actively involved in all aspects of the product development, Accesa team ensured the functional scope of the software was met: to enable full control over one company’s valuable assets, which are people and time.

Being fully aware that project management software can be a critical tool for some businesses, our team has built the application in a way toeasily manage company projects. Its main characteristics are defined by a clearly and easy to understand structure.

Cloud4Gantt is composed from 3 modules:

  • Project Management module, where the tasks are manually inserted by users; the project is broke down into a tree of tasks and milestones can be defined
  • Resource Planning module, where resource allocation can be seen
  • Configuration module, where the application administrator sets-up the tasks hierarchy, defines the tasks legend, designs the Gantt graphs and what they should represent

Cloud4Gantt enables to plan the allocation of resources needed to complete project tasks. It also makes it easy to establish dependencies between tasks. An access control procedure was put in place, which allows the application’s administrator to set up a hierarchy of users.

Methodology

While offering architecture design and software development, our team’s support and collaboration emerged towards a simplified approach: to enable those involved in managing projects to achieve their objectives. Agile methodology was used.

Challenges

When a check-in/check-out mechanism is in place, the editing operation may take longer than expected. Moreover, requiring check-out prevents multiple users from making content changes at the same time. This situation can create conflicts over changes and leads to confusion. accesa team overcame this challenge and implemented a new “merge mechanism” that allows multi-user operations over same content. The feature is designed and implemented in Silverlight.

Results

The application makes it easier for businesses to communicate with clients, suppliers and track the status of various projects and assignments. It allows running the projects with improved cost and time outcomes, while offering easy and efficient outlining of tasks and resource management. Cloud4Gantt can be integrated as a building block for complex project management tasks.

Technology

SharePoint 2010 & 2013, Silverlight, Office365 (+ 3rd party Gantt control from DLH)

Time Frame

Project duration: 5 months