ProjectLibre tutorial part 1: Creating your first project

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ProjectLibre project_libre_part2_2do_assing_resources1is now probably the best open source project management tool available. It is created by the former founders of OpenProj and is catching up a lot lately. At the following article, we will create a sample project with ProjectLibre and show its basic functions.

All tutorial parts:

Since ProjectLibre might be the first project management tool that you will be using, it is worth mentioning the following:

Nearly all data are entered in tables as rows (like Excel) and after all these data are entered all the diagrams, Gantt and WBS are generated automatically for you. Most of the times, you will not have to draw the diagrams yourself, all you have to do is emphasize at your project and at entering the correct data.

Notice: This ProjectLibre tutorial’s purpose is to show you how you can use the program. Not to describe a true project management methodology for your projects.

Downloading, installing and running ProjectLibre

If you have a Windows machine, you can download the .msi file at http://sourceforge.net/projects/projectlibre/. If you are on a Mac or Linux, you can browse the latest version at http://sourceforge.net/projects/projectlibre/files/ProjectLibre/
There you can download the .dmg file for ProjectLibre for Mac, .deb, .rpm and .tar.gz for Linux

I assume that you are able to download and install software on your machine. So, after downloading, installing and running ProjectLibre, you should be able to see the following:

projectlibre_tutorial_01

Creating your first project

After clicking on ‘Create Project’ you must enter some very basic project details about it. At the following screen:

projectlibre_tutorial_02
Project Name: The project’s name
Manager: Who manages the project (probably you)
Start Date: When does the project begin
Notes: Some notes about the project
Forward scheduled: If ‘Forward Scheduled’ is checked, then you have a start date for your project and according to the tasks that you enter, the projects end date is recalculated. If ‘Forward Scheduled’ is unchecked, then you enter the project’s finish date/deadline and the project must end at the specific date (eg for a project involving a scheduled event at a hotel).

Adding your first task

projectlibre_tutorial_03

After you have created the project you can add your first task. On the table on the left, you can add the Task’s ‘Name’, ‘Duration’ and ‘Start’ (finish is calculated automatically). You can practice changing the ‘Duration’ from 1 day to 20 days to see that the chart on the right changes.

On the right of ProjectLibre is where you can see the project’s Gantt diagram (we will get back to this later).

Since it is normal that you would want to be able to see how many hours would the task take, you can right click on column ‘Duration’, click ‘Insert column’ and then choose ‘Work’.

projectlibre_tutorial_insert_column_work

Now you should be able to see your task’s total hours. After showing the total project’s work hours, double-click on the tasks record  to see some options. Eg double click on ‘Meeting with client’ text. As you can see you can see some of the task’s options:

projectlibre_tutorial_double_click_task

‘Duration’ and ‘Work’ represent the task’s duration. ‘Start’ represents the task’s start and ‘Finish’ is calculated automatically. You can click on ‘Estimated’ if you are not sure about the task’s duration. A question mark will be shown near the ‘Duration. We will get on the other tabs (Predecessors, successors, Resources and Advanced) in a later part of the tutorial.

Connecting the tasks

One of the most fundamental actions that you will do when planning a project is connecting some tasks (some tasks might be dependent on some others).

projectlibre_tutorial_connect_tasks

Add the following tasks as shown in the image above (left) and then drag and drop the first task to the third task as shown at the right part of the image. Your tasks are now dependent on each other and they are displayed in red. The blue tasks mean that the project duration is not dependent on them. As you can image you can visualize your project’s critical path this way.

That was it about ProjectLibre tutorial Part 1, do not forget to save your project regularly! At the next part of the tutorial we are going to see how can we add resources and create sub-tasks.

project_libre_part2_2do_assing_resources2

All tutorial parts:

 

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