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Milestones Professional 2000 Print
How often do we fall prey to the piles of paperwork on our desks? Somewhere in those heaps of former trees are the plans and personnel schedules for the latest project and the list of associated project costs and figures. You're spending more time trying to keep track of all your projects: last year's, last month's, this week's, PLUS the one coming down the pike a half a year from now. Sound all too familiar? Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Need some help? We think we have the perfect solution.

Milestones Professional 2000 is the latest release from the ever-easy-to-work-with Kidasa Software, Inc. The Austin, Texas company has gone ahead and further improved its already well known and used Milestones, Etc., giving it the Milestones Professional 2000 moniker. If you want to do nothing more than to schedule, track, manage, and present your projects, then this easy to use, but absolutely comprehensive package might just replace that t-shirt.

Milestones Professional was simple to install. Downloading the program did take over an hour on our Pentium 466Mhz with 64MB of RAM, so you might want to consider the CD version of the program if faster access is what you want. Once the actual installation - done in the blink on an eye - was completed, then it was time to sit and get down and dirty with this nifty application.

Right off the bat, Milestones Professional offers a Windows look and feel, so that learning curve is way down. When you launch the program, you're greeted by the Setup Wizard which gives you the options of plotting your schedule step-by-step, or using one of the pre-designed templates. Once you have made either selection and answered a few questions about your project, you're taken immediately to the program's main screen, complete with your newly made schedule chart and a customisable toolbar. Milestone Professional also comes with a toolbox that appears along the right hand side of screen as a default Combo toolbox. By right clicking along the top of the toolbox, you can set it to a Standard toolbox.

It was easy to work with the numerous symbols, connectors, and line tools in the Toolbox. We found the Standard toolbox to be a bit easier to get to grips with than the Combo toolbox, but that's really a matter of preference. Once our familiarity was established, we proceeded to build a number of different scheduling charts.

Selecting the symbols and connectors was simple, just a matter of clicking on the Plus tool then the desired symbol. Placing either component on our chart was mere drag and drop. All we needed to do next was format our project dates, text, constraints, and hyperlinks, and the whole job was done. One . . . two . . . three . . . a Gantt chart right before our very eyes.

An extra bonus was that we could customise our chart by changing or adding frame colours and backgrounds, gradient fills, gridlines, bar and symbol task line shading. We could also include a legend to make the chart even easier to understand. With Milestones Professional 2000, we were also able to take advantage of tracking and reporting numerical data, as well as linking other project documents and showing our project dependencies. We could also add graphics and embed our schedule into OLE compliant programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It was simple as cut and paste. With the DataGraphs feature, we could do spreadsheet style calculations. In doing so, we were able to integrate calculation columns and graphs into our schedule to provide even more project information.

Once we had built our chart, it was time send it out to associates. By going to the pulldown File menu, we selected Internet Publishing. This opened automatically to the easy-to-use Internet Publishing Wizard. Once again, by answering several questions about our chart, we were able to ready it for publication to the Internet in a matter of minutes, and view exactly how it would look. We also wanted to e-mail our chart, and this was equally as simple as a couple of mouse clicks. As an added bonus, the program offers quick access to Windows NetMeeting for those times you want to collaborate and share files with your network or remote staff members.

Milestones Professional also works with Microsoft Project. You can now bring your MS Project schedules right into Milestones. If you already have both programs, all you need to do is choose the new Project to Milestones Wizard. You can then build your schedule from the variety of pre-designed templates or from scratch.

Milestones Professional's greatest features are in its simplicity, sophistication, and ease of use. The only minor drawback was in the Toolbox. While wonderfully customisable like its Toolbar cousin, it did pose a few minor glitches. It automatically opened to the Combo Toolbox which did seem a bit awkward to use. When we changed it to the Standard Toolbox, life went along much easier. Placement of the symbols and connectors tended to be slightly rough; while they dragged and dropped into the chart easily most of the time, there were occasional times when they wouldn't place where we wanted them. This probably wouldn't pose much of a problem to most of you, but for those just learning the program, this could be rather frustrating.

Despite this, Milestones Professional 2000 is a terrific solution for anyone who wants to track their projects with professional looking, headache-free Gantt charts. Its $259 list price won't send your accounting manager into a calculating frenzy, either. It's sophisticated enough for the largest of projects, but simple enough to make your life that much easier. Milestones Professional 2000 is one t-shirt that will make a perfect fit for all of your project tracking needs.

Website http://www.kidasa.com/

 

System requirements

  • Pentium 133MHz system or higher
  • 28MB hard disk space
  • 16MB RAM minimum
  • SVGA monitor
  • Mouse or other pointing device
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Modem, as product as downloadable
  • Windows 95/98
  • Windows NT/2000

 

Alternatives try:

  • Artemis Views
  • ELabor Enterprise Project
  • Innovie Team Center
  • Microsoft Project 2000
  • Primavera Team Play

Milestones Professional 2000
receives a PROJECTmagazine rating of

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2001 © James and Lee Appleyard

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