I am currently looking for a not-so-complicated PM tool. I haven't done PM very deep so far, and my overall idea about PM and the representation in PM tools is about this:

There are some employees who have time to work. There are projects which have to be realized. Projects consist of tasks, which are handled by employees, by spending their work on the tasks. Tasks can be split into sub tasks, can be prioritized and dependencies can be set between tasks. Nothing uncommon.

What i expect from a PM tool is that i enter all these information into the tool, and the tool organizes the tasks in a way that the employees are assigned to tasks, and that the tasks are ordered according to their priorities, dependencies and availability of employees. (Ok, assigning employees to tasks is of course done by me.) So that a task starts no earlier than when employees for this task are available and dependencies are met. And when the last task is finished, the project is finished, so the tool tells me how long the project takes.

I have been looking around for those tools for quite a while now (several hours searching on the web), but either no tool offers this functionality or it is not visible from the tool description.

I wonder, do i maybe have the wrong picture of a PM tool, and i should get a different view on PM in common, or do the tools exist and i have simply missed these features?

For example, GanttProject is basically what i'm thinking of, but the tasks still have to be moved by hand, if an employee is working on two overlapping tasks. And it has a bug (since 2008) that when an employee is on vacation, he is still working on the tasks. This simply makes the tool unusable.

So the basic question is: Does automatic task organization not work well in practice and does not exist therefore, or do i have missed it?

The background: We are a small software development team with just a few people, so a complex PM suite for large companies (i'm thinking of Jira) would be somehow too much..

  • 2
    If you're asking for tool recommendations, they're off-topic here. If you're asking about how to "automate task organization" that may be on-topic, but you'll need to refactor your question to make your real question clearer. – Todd A. Jacobs Sep 30 '15 at 11:00
  • Well, i was hoping for tool recommendations, but didn't ask for it directly, because i know it would be offtopic.. Then in first place i would like to know if i have a completely wrong sight on project management, if PM is not done the way i described it. Maybe i should ask how MP tools are generally used? Sounds like a somewhat stupid question. As you can see, i'm still rather new here, should i change the existing question or create a new one, a more specific one? – nroos Sep 30 '15 at 15:08

IF you are serious about this I would say Excel or Google Sheets etc etc is probably hands down the best starting solution for any simple or small project it can also be scaled easily :)

  • Excel? Can i define dependencies between tasks, that a task should not start before another has finished? Excel assigns resources to tasks ("employee 1 should work on task 4 on 9/30/15") and also does not assign this resource when the resource is on vacation? I doubt it... – nroos Sep 30 '15 at 15:11

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