What is Gantter?
Gantter is a low cost project management software solution with Google integration features. The program enables users to manage and monitor project deadlines, resources and budgets with task, cost and resource tracking capabilities. It features online cloud storage, file sharing and templates contributed by the Gantter user community; there is also a community-powered “Suggest and Assist” recommendation engine.
The program is designed for small and medium-sized companies looking to boost their productivity and profitability through deployment of a project scheduling tool. It may also be suitable for freelancers and consultants looking for a more organised and methodical way to manage their projects than relying on spreadsheets, calendar notes and emails.
The product is developed by InQuest Technologies, a privately-owned Rhode Island-based company, which also has an office in Bangalore. Their flagship product is a web-based platform called IQ:Enterprise which offers organisations a private, self-hosted cloud environment which enables them to securely configure and deploy business automation solutions. Additionally they host the free smartapp.com community. This is an online forum through which developers can come together to build, share, collaborate, buy or sell applications.
Current clients include Google and office supply chain Staples.
The main benefits of the application are:
Low Cost Solution
Gantter is a low cost project management solution with fixed base pricing for all three product editions. Essentially it imitates most of the functionality of Microsoft Project, with which users may already be familiar, without the associated licence fee. Gantter has a flat fee of US $5 per user per month. By contrast, MS Project, for its cloud-hosted solutions, costs anywhere between US $7 and US $55 per user month currently (and its on premise solutions are considerably more).
Simple to Use
Gantter is a simple to use solution with an intuitive design that mimics much of the features that will be instantly familiar to users of Google Apps, or who have previously worked with Microsoft Project.
Integration with Google
Gantter is heavily integrated with Google products. For example, its User Interface (UI) has been especially designed that it looks and feels just like a native Google App. This makes it instantly familiar to existing Google users. Team communication meanwhile is made easy due to the platform’s seamless integration with Google Hangouts, whilst there is also bi-directional integration with Google Calendar offered. This means that tasks which have been assigned to a user will appear on their calendar in real-time, and they can update them and mark them as complete directly from their Google Calendar, without having to log-in to Gantter separately.
Furthermore, project files can be stored and opened in Google Drive; tasks and comments can be added directly in users’ files, with automatic notifications generated. All comments will then be shown in Google Drive.
In addition, users are able to import and export files from MS Project easily, without the need for any technical assistance.
The program also makes it easy for G-Suite users to pull domain resources directly into their Gantter schedules, enabling them and their colleagues to build and share scheduling templates for their organisation.
Task and Resource Management Capabilities
In Gantter, tasks can easily be created and then are automatically saved with a single key press. The program supports many basic project management features such as calendars, notes, dependencies, task-types and effort-driven tasks. Users can easily define roles and hourly costs for project team members, and, whenever a project is close to deadline, the program automatically sends a notification. A warning indicator is displayed if a project is in danger of missing its deadline.
Updates in real-time
The solution is web-based, which means that team members can view all their projects in real-time, and track progress without having to refresh the system or wait for the next team meeting to get a status update. Team collaboration is facilitated – depending on which product edition is chosen – either through the system’s file-level editing with the native Gantter cloud repository, or through its integration with Google Drive.
Useful Educational Tool
Gantter is widely used in universities and colleges to teach the basics of project management. This is because it is highly visual, intuitive, and easy to access. No installation is required and it can be opened from any device at any time. This means that students can develop a project in a classroom, and work on it later when they get home.
The main features of Gantter are:
The program enables project owners to manage deadlines by tracking every aspect of a project’s progress. Tasks can be assigned a start and end date, a name, location and required skills. They can also be updated with a percentage completion.
Compare Schedule Baselines
To better gauge the likelihood and timing of project completion, users are able to save and compare schedule baselines. Also known as a target baseline, a scheduled baseline is the original approved project schedule which includes the expected time scale for completion of the job, plus related information such as the estimated use of resources and costs.
In effect, the baseline acts as the original project budget which can be used as a yardstick for comparison purposes when it comes to evaluating revised project deadlines, costing, and use of resources.
Resource and Workload Tracking
Gantter enables project managers to view the use of resources and re-balance them where necessary. They can view workloads both at the team and individual level, and determine who has time available, is working at full capacity, and who may be overloaded. Tasks can then be reassigned, if required, to ensure a more even spread of work across team members.
Work Breakdown Structure
Users are able to generate automatic work breakdown structures that optimise the relationship and dependencies between the various tasks in a project schedule. This gives them to gain a deeper understanding of critical deadlines and potential bottlenecks, enabling them to take counter measures such as the deployment of additional resources.
The program enables users to manage their budgets by keeping a continuous record of input costs such as labour and materials. Budgeted costs can then be compared to actual costs incurred and forecast, and key variances identified and investigated.
Hierarchical Task Linking: Users are able to optimise the relationship and dependencies between tasks in a schedule by linking them, and showing their relationship to one another. In such a case, the project schedule will be driven by dependencies, so that any change made to a predecessor task affects the successor, and so on.
Risk Management: Gantter enables project managers to evaluate and manage risks that may otherwise be overlooked. Risks can be categorised, assigned a cause and also given a “risk owner” – somebody within an organisation given primary responsibility for managing and mitigating its consequences.
Google Integration Tools
Gantter was deliberately designed to integrate the functionality of Google with the project management process, whatever the size or nature of a project. These capabilities include:
Google Hangouts: The system makes it easier than ever to communicate with colleagues about project details, even if those colleagues are located remotely, due to its seamless integration with Google Hangouts.
Bi-directional Calendar integration: Thanks to its integration with Google, tasks that are assigned to an individual will appear in their calendar in real-time, and can then subsequently be updated and marked as complete directly from their Google calendar. There is no need for separate log-ins – calendar entries are automatically synced. Subscribers also have the option of viewing their projects either through a calendar or timeline view, depending on whether they want an overall snapshot or required a more detailed perspective on key activities and deadlines.
Multi-party editing: The program can be used to work online with colleagues, clients, and vendors in real-time, sharing information and comments easily and securely. Team members can be kept aware of project progress and changes, and schedules updated with the input from all relevant stakeholders.
Share and open in Google Drive: Files which relate to any task can be created and saved in Google Drive, making them easy to find, open and edit. This means that a user is able to share work with an unlimited number of collaborators both within and beyond their team whilst, at the same time, retaining control over who has access to what information.
Integrated Google Comments: Users can add project and task-based comments directly in their files, just like Google Docs and Google Sheets. Notifications are automatically generated to all team members, and the activity stream in Google Drive shows all comments which relate to each task. This makes it easy to share information with colleagues and to ensure that everybody is aware and up-to-date with the latest project developments.
Suggest & Assist Recommendation Engine
Gantter seeks to harness the power of its own user community by enabling subscribers to pool ideas, and find ideas as to how to manage typical project tasks and to mitigate common risks. Subscribers can tap-in to the collective experience and expertise of Gantter’s two million strong user community, and also contribute their own ideas and suggestions, helping to grow the community’s “Knowledge Bank”.
When users start typing in their first task, the Scheduling tool automatically translates those words into a real-time search of its database to try and find a set of related tasks and risks contributed by other community members. This then produces a list of recommendations which can be added to a project schedule or attached to a list of tasks.
The database is constantly refreshed each day with new task, resource and risk data. The Engine, which is powered by artificial intelligence, is self-learning, in that it gets better and better at prompting users with the tasks or risks that they need to take into account when developing their project schedules.
Gantter has three different product editions but all are charged at the basic flat rate of US $5 per user per month.
Gantter Cloud (US $5 per user per month): Core functionality includes cost tracking, hierarchical task linking, interactive Gantt charts, resource and workload tracing, risk management, task tracking, and the ability to save and compare schedule Baselines. Users are also given access to thousands of community contributed templates and can open and save schedule files to Gantter Cloud with unlimited storage.
Gantter for Google Drive (US $5 per user per month): This offers all the features of Gantter Cloud except the ability to open and save files to their cloud. Instead users can open and save documents to Google Drive, offered b-directional integration with Google Calendar and Comment, initiate context-aware Google Hangouts, and link Google Drive files to tasks.
Gantter for G Suite (US $5 per user per month): This has the same functionality as Gantter for Google Drive and offers, additionally, auto addition of the G-Suite Domain users to the schedule, and some auto filtering capabilities.
The vendor offers a free 30-day trial which prospective users can sign-up for without having to provide credit card details.
All pricing plans can be cancelled at any time with no further costs involved.
Gantter is a cloud-hosted web-based platform that supports Windows and Mac operating systems. There is a mobile app for Android devices – Gantter Vu for Android – but, as yet, no separate app for iOS. However, the program can be accessed anywhere, anytime, through any internet-enabled device.
Whilst Gantter does not have an API it does offer integration with Google products such as G Suite, Google Drive, and Google Calendar.
Support is primarily available through the Gantter Community Forum, where subscribers can ask for help from other users, share product ideas, and learn more about project management, its techniques and methodologies. The Community currently consists of 2 million users, managing more than 5 million projects collectively, and 42 million tasks. Users can also raise support tickets.
The company can also be contacted via social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
In terms of self-service functionality, there are FAQs, video tutorials, and a blog, although there have been no postings since March 2018.
The platform supports 23 languages currently – these include, apart from English and the major European languages, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian and Thai.