I recently spoke with the Dean Carlson, the CEO and founder of Viewpath, an on-demand, visually oriented project management tool. Dean said that today people’s lives are connected to projects of all sizes — from the small business owner launching a new product, to marketers developing a community website or newsletter, to the to-do list on personal issues. He said that although the scale of the projects may vary, the successful execution of each project has a common thread: keeping things organized, managing time efficiently and achieving desired outcomes within budget. I would certainly agree with this as I work through my notepad of to-dos, including writing this post.
The goal of Viewpath is to facilitate the effective management of these tasks. It is not designed to replace the large complex project management tools but to give people a way to move off spreadsheets, calenders, and notepads to a more effective means to keep the many things we do on track. Dean has more than twenty years experience as a consultant on project and time management. Viewpath grew out of this experience and the issues he observed people struggling with. He launched the Beta of version one in 2002 using the NET framework. Version two with an AJAX front end launched recently.
Viewpath’s 2.0 version offers two options: an unlimited free, ad-supported, Express edition and an enhanced Standard edition. Dean said that the free version has 80% of the features of the Standard Edition. The two versions interact so some team members who need the extra features can be on the subscribed version and others can be on the free version. You can even move back and forth between plans on a monthly basis. Here is an example of a Gantt chart in the Standard Edition.
In comparison, here is a Gantt chart in the Express Edition.
When putting Viewpath in context, Dean said that “everywhere you turn, people are engaged in project-related tasks. But many individuals don’t see how their day-to-day activities are interconnected within the larger context of a project schedule as a result, they miss opportunities to streamline workflow and communication with team members, or worse yet, let time-critical tasks get lost in the shuffle. Having trained more than twenty-thousand professionals during my career, I’ve seen everyday business professionals get frustrated by the complexity, long learning curve, and high cost of traditional project management software typically deployed in large-scale projects. When people have easy access to project tools that are tailored to their everyday realities, activities are executed with better clarity, and completed in less time with less stress.”
Dean took me on a tour of the features and it is certainly a feature-rich offering. There are intuitive drag-and-drop visual planning tools and a “smart” Gantt chart format. Ease of use is a design goal and it seemed simple enough for me to use, which is always the real test. It is modeled on project management best practices with customizable activity dashboards. With AJAX, there is no lag time for changes. You can start a page without all the details and not be forced to make a decision prematurely. This is a feature that I especially liked having been put in the straight jacket of other project management tools in the past. I think this is a solution to look at when considering an online project management tool. Here is a sample screen for “my Viewpath” with all the things an individual might be interested in tracking.
Here is the expanded week and day view from Viewpath.
For a video overview of Viewpath’s offerings you can visit the Viewpath site.